Very nice. Scotch grain. And you may be correct.
However, although it's hard to see the toes clearly, it looks to me as if they are much smoother than the leather up around the top of the quarters, for instance, and the leather just above the welt in the forefoot area also looks like it has flattened some.
All that said, some texturing is going to be more resistant to flattening than others.
Shrunken grain, for instance, has a lot of residual stretch built into the leather as a result of the shrinking process. Something like Scotch Grain can be embossed over a very firm leather.
The thing is that with proper lasting, all stretch should be taken out of the leather where it fits over the foot. Otherwise the shoes will not fit for very long. So lasting a little loose to preserve texture is not really best practices. A bed lasting machine with its limited stroke, cannot sense or evaluate the amount of stretch left in the leather as well as someone taking the drafts by hand.
Another factor is that a good many hand lasted shoes are pulled forward over the toe with the uppers not fully seated around the heel. Once the toe area is secured, the back of the shoe is pulled into place. This process is known as "hoisting." Or lasting "seats up." The great advantage is that it creates a great deal of tension in the top line. And that's generally good. But again, you almost have to be hand lasting to do "seats up."
I suspect...although I wouldn't do it that way...a chukka boot wouldn't need to be lasted seats up as the top line wouldn't be affected in any event.
Edited by DWFII - 1/7/14 at 9:01am