Are you suggesting hiking or work boots true to size with paper thin dress socks? Or we should be buying those shoes/boots with the thick socks we wear with them? For all due respect, those thick socks act as sole inserts especially with those extra cushion sole socks.
IMO different shoes should be fitted differently. For dress shoes I completely agree that insole inserts are unnecessary. But not everything is suitable to have that structured insoles.
Just my 0.02
All that's worth taking into consideration esp. when purchasing footwear but, in the end...as much as we might prefer otherwise...you can't argue with the physics. Adding a sock adds substance to the foot and changes the girth and the shape.
Here's a practical (I don't know how scientific) exercise that may shed some light on the issue:
Take a one inch wide strip of thin tissue such as toilet paper and wrap it around your foot. Tear it to length. Now, very carefully, begin rolling it down its length. Roll it as tightly as you possibly can. You should end up with a dense, one inch wide cylinder of paper. The diameter of that paper cylinder...it will be roughly 3 or four millimeters in diameter...is how much substance would be added to the foot if you were wearing a sock made of tissue paper.
Now, the foot can feel 1-2 millimeters variation in tightness. That doesn't mean that pain will be the result. But the foot can feel it.
How much more substance is added with a thin cotton sock? Or a heavy wool sock? Even though the substance of a heavier sock is distributed around the foot, as well as compressed when the foot steps down, much of it remains to change the shape of the foot.
Most bespoke shoemakers measure the foot with socks on, for that very reason.
And most bespoke shoemakers would caution that the resulting shoe is meant to fit with that weight of sock and no other. Socks change the shape and girths of the foot. Period.
I guarantee you that if you that if you buy footwear that needs to fit closely...such as a pull-on boot...while wearing heavy socks, the boots will be sloppy loose if you decide to wear them with thin socks. The measurements of your foot have changed. The shape of your foot has changed.
And all footwear...in my opinion...should fit closely. So that the leather will move with the foot. So that when the foot moves, the leather moves...immediately...in every direction, in every dimension. Sure, excess room inside the shoe is more comfortable than not enough, but neither of these situations is a fit.
The foot was "designed" to function naked. All shoes...regardless how well fit...interfere with the mechanics and health of the foot. It's only a question of degree.
The foot is one of the most architecturally complex structures in nature. And it supports a relatively massive amount of weight...even in an earthquake. Every relationship of bones and ligaments and muscles is critical in the same way the mathematical relationships in a gothic cathedral are critical. You ignore them at your own peril.
Edited by DWFII - 7/12/14 at 9:18am