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A Guide: Shoes for Flatter Feet, Narrow Heels, etc.

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
So - my love for finer shoes started with Alden and many of us who have flatter feet, lower arches, narrower heels tend to find it difficult to shop for these gorgeous shoes. Through much trial and error I have narrowed down my sizes and provided my thoughts on various lasts below. I have started only with the Aldens I am the most familiar with but I will continue to update this with other brands (Edward Green, Crockett and Jones/RL, Meermin, Carmina, etc). Hopefully this will become a very helpful resource for those blessed with more problematic feet! Please keep in mind that different styles and materials on the same last may feel different - for example, a captoe/wingtip generally feels snugger than its plain toe counterpart due to the additional material. Also, an Indy boot made from Chromexcel is far more likely to stretch than its Shell Cordovan counterpart. These factors, combined with the fact that your foot WILL sink into the leather/cork footbed are all things to consider.

Before we begin: I’d like to start by saying that an easy fix for those of us with low instep/arch is to add a felt tongue pad under the tongue. This takes up some of that room and pushes your foot back towards the heel, keeping it in place. Do take care to “try” it on by taping it to the tongue before you afix it permanently. I’d recommend trimming it if necessary to achieve maximum comfort. If you have narrow heels, you can opt for a heel grip/pad. They come in different materials, my preference being suede, they can be used to take up some space on a narrow heel, or even negate the difference of slightly different sized feet!

My feet measure as a 9D on the Brannock device. I have a narrower heel, wider forefoot, and low arch (as a result, low instep/volume). Flat feet collapse when under weight, which is why it is hard to find shoes - they may feel comfortable when first tried on but can prove to be totally unwearable later on - this is especially true for materials that don’t stretch as much, like Shell Cordovan.

Alden Aberdeen - 9D
Although they look narrow and somewhat “pointy”, the last seems to run a little bit long. The instep height is pretty neutral, if not lower and I think that is the reason why many loafers are shaped over the Aberdeen. (Think shell tassel loafers).

Alden Barrie - 8.5D
One of the most popular lasts, many of the special makeups and the ever-popular LWBs (long wing bluchers) are shaped over this. It is definitely my least favorite last, as it looks vague and lacks character - however, it does look fine when used on PTBs and such. You’ll want to size down by a half size from your Brannock Measurement, though I would suggest considering the 8.5E (due to reasons highlighted below), see if that works!

The instep does not work well for us flat-footed folk as it is very high. This problem is exaggerated when wearing Barrie lasted boots and one has a narrow ankle as well - you’ll be lacing the sides very closely together, which can cause discomfort.

As many have voiced, the heel is very wide and the forefoot area is wide as well. However, in my experience, the width seems to taper off quickly from the ball to the toe area, leaving my toes a bit crowded.

My least favorite fit; so vague and not much character. The instep is relatively high (if not very), which works terribly for my low instep and arch. The heel is very wide as many have said and the forefoot area is wide but seems to taper and crowds my pinky toes.

Alden Grant - 9D
The Grant last is not often seen but it seems to make for a great boot last, which is why we’re starting to see more and more makeups for boots on this last. This last is rather roomy, but not to the point where your feet are swimming inside. This extra room means that thicker socks (vs my typical thinner dress sock) would work very well.

I found this last to have plenty of toe space and length (seems to run a touch wide and long) and is exceptionally comfortable when your foot starts to swell at the end of the day. The heel is pretty “normal”, narrower than the Barrie but wider than the Plaza (see below). Instep on this boot is pretty neutral, it can work for lower insteps like myself.

Alden Plaza - 9D
My favorite last by a pretty long shot. Fans of this last love it because it arguably has the most character out of all the Alden lasts - the slightly squared off toe gives it a handsome, chiseled look. For me, these fit like a glove right out of the box. The heel is a little narrower and works very well in securing it without any type of discomfort (you won’t feel your heel sliding around as it would in the Barrie and Trubalance).

Although some have said the Plaza runs long, I don’t think I’ve found it to be true for me, the length works well as does the width. I prefer my shoes to fit closely, and these do the trick. The instep is on the lower side and looks perfect for lower instep folk who want to wear a pair of balmorals. From experience, the Aberdeen and the Grant are ever so slightly longer of usable room.

Alden Trubalance - 8.5D
The well-known Trubalance last is what the legendary Indy boot was shaped around. Like the Barrie, the Trubalance runs a half size large vs your Brannock measurement (rule of thumb). Originally intended for Orthopedic use, it works very well for those with pronation (pretty much all of you flat-footed kids, like myself), splayed feet, and even the normal foot. It’s not a beautiful (sleek) looking last, but it looks pretty great when used on boots!

While the heel is still somewhat wide, the last manages to keep your foot from sliding around as it might in the Barrie. The instep is pretty neutral and certainly not as high as the Barrie. There is plenty of space for the toes. Like the Grant, I think the Trubalance works better with thicker socks, as the last is higher volume.

Those with low arches/flat feet will appreciate the Thomas Heel featured on the standard Indy boots, the extended portion of the heel on the inner sides of the shoe/boot provides additional support that needs to be experienced in order to be appreciated. I’ve even dedicated a pair to hiking/camping in.

To be continued (Coming up: EG, C&J)
post #2 of 40
Thread Starter 
Please feel free to add your comments - those of you who have flat feet, don't hesitate to contribute! This will help us in our shoe shopping affliction! icon_gu_b_slayer[1].gif
post #3 of 40
I am a US 11D, with flat feet :-/
sizes
10UK in Carmina Oscar Last (almost too tight in toebox)
10UK Carmina Forrest Last
10.5e UK on c&j 348
10uk on trickers 4444 last

cant wear alden
post #4 of 40

Great idea, looking forward to the contributions.

post #5 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sinnedk View Post

I am a US 11D, with flat feet :-/
sizes
10UK in Carmina Oscar Last (almost too tight in toebox)
10UK Carmina Forrest Last
10.5e UK on c&j 348
10uk on trickers 4444 last
cant wear alden

Thanks - how would you describe your feet? (I know that sounds weird). Why do you say you can't wear Alden?
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhiPsi32 View Post

Great idea, looking forward to the contributions.

Thanks - do you have anything? smile.gif
post #6 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by david3558 View Post

Thanks - how would you describe your feet? (I know that sounds weird). Why do you say you can't wear Alden?
Thanks - do you have anything? smile.gif

lol8[1].gif

i can't wear alden in barrie last because the toe box is too tight... feet are regular width but long, measure exactly 11d on brannock...
post #7 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by sinnedk View Post

lol8[1].gif
i can't wear alden in barrie last because the toe box is too tight... feet are regular width but long, measure exactly 11d on brannock...

Have you tried a half or whole size up in a C width?
post #8 of 40
Thread Starter 
Yeah I don't think that's a bad suggestion.
post #9 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghdvfddzgzdzg View Post

Have you tried a half or whole size up in a C width?

i dont want to waste time or money on it, also i am mainly a boots guy and i dont like the alden boot style
post #10 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by david3558 View Post

So - my love for finer shoes started with Alden Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
and many of us who have flatter feet, lower arches, narrower heels tend to find it difficult to shop for these gorgeous shoes. Through much trial and error I have narrowed down my sizes and provided my thoughts on various lasts below. I have started only with the Aldens I am the most familiar with but I will continue to update this with other brands (Edward Green, Crockett and Jones/RL, Meermin, Carmina, etc). Hopefully this will become a very helpful resource for those blessed with more problematic feet! Please keep in mind that different styles and materials on the same last may feel different - for example, a captoe/wingtip generally feels snugger than its plain toe counterpart due to the additional material. Also, an Indy boot made from Chromexcel is far more likely to stretch than its Shell Cordovan counterpart. These factors, combined with the fact that your foot WILL sink into the leather/cork footbed are all things to consider.
Before we begin: I’d like to start by saying that an easy fix for those of us with low instep/arch is to add a felt tongue pad under the tongue. This takes up some of that room and pushes your foot back towards the heel, keeping it in place. Do take care to “try” it on by taping it to the tongue before you afix it permanently. I’d recommend trimming it if necessary to achieve maximum comfort. If you have narrow heels, you can opt for a heel grip/pad. They come in different materials, my preference being suede, they can be used to take up some space on a narrow heel, or even negate the difference of slightly different sized feet!
My feet measure as a 9D on the Brannock device. I have a narrower heel, wider forefoot, and low arch (as a result, low instep/volume). Flat feet collapse when under weight, which is why it is hard to find shoes - they may feel comfortable when first tried on but can prove to be totally unwearable later on - this is especially true for materials that don’t stretch as much, like Shell Cordovan.
Alden Aberdeen - 9D
Although they look narrow and somewhat “pointy”, the last seems to run a little bit long. The instep height is pretty neutral, if not lower and I think that is the reason why many loafers are shaped over the Aberdeen. (Think shell tassel loafers).
Alden Barrie - 8.5D
One of the most popular lasts, many of the special makeups and the ever-popular LWBs (long wing bluchers) are shaped over this. It is definitely my least favorite last, as it looks vague and lacks character - however, it does look fine when used on PTBs and such. You’ll want to size down by a half size from your Brannock Measurement, though I would suggest considering the 8.5E (due to reasons highlighted below), see if that works!
The instep does not work well for us flat-footed folk as it is very high. This problem is exaggerated when wearing Barrie lasted boots and one has a narrow ankle as well - you’ll be lacing the sides very closely together, which can cause discomfort.
As many have voiced, the heel is very wide and the forefoot area is wide as well. However, in my experience, the width seems to taper off quickly from the ball to the toe area, leaving my toes a bit crowded.
My least favorite fit; so vague and not much character. The instep is relatively high (if not very), which works terribly for my low instep and arch. The heel is very wide as many have said and the forefoot area is wide but seems to taper and crowds my pinky toes.
Alden Grant - 9D
The Grant last is not often seen but it seems to make for a great boot last, which is why we’re starting to see more and more makeups for boots on this last. This last is rather roomy, but not to the point where your feet are swimming inside. This extra room means that thicker socks (vs my typical thinner dress sock) would work very well.
I found this last to have plenty of toe space and length (seems to run a touch wide and long) and is exceptionally comfortable when your foot starts to swell at the end of the day. The heel is pretty “normal”, narrower than the Barrie but wider than the Plaza (see below). Instep on this boot is pretty neutral, it can work for lower insteps like myself.
Alden Plaza - 9D
My favorite last by a pretty long shot. Fans of this last love it because it arguably has the most character out of all the Alden lasts - the slightly squared off toe gives it a handsome, chiseled look. For me, these fit like a glove right out of the box. The heel is a little narrower and works very well in securing it without any type of discomfort (you won’t feel your heel sliding around as it would in the Barrie and Trubalance).
Although some have said the Plaza runs long, I don’t think I’ve found it to be true for me, the length works well as does the width. I prefer my shoes to fit closely, and these do the trick. The instep is on the lower side and looks perfect for lower instep folk who want to wear a pair of balmorals. From experience, the Aberdeen and the Grant are ever so slightly longer of usable room.
Alden Trubalance - 8.5D
The well-known Trubalance last is what the legendary Indy boot was shaped around. Like the Barrie, the Trubalance runs a half size large vs your Brannock measurement (rule of thumb). Originally intended for Orthopedic use, it works very well for those with pronation (pretty much all of you flat-footed kids, like myself), splayed feet, and even the normal foot. It’s not a beautiful (sleek) looking last, but it looks pretty great when used on boots!
While the heel is still somewhat wide, the last manages to keep your foot from sliding around as it might in the Barrie. The instep is pretty neutral and certainly not as high as the Barrie. There is plenty of space for the toes. Like the Grant, I think the Trubalance works better with thicker socks, as the last is higher volume.
Those with low arches/flat feet will appreciate the Thomas Heel featured on the standard Indy boots, the extended portion of the heel on the inner sides of the shoe/boot provides additional support that needs to be experienced in order to be appreciated. I’ve even dedicated a pair to hiking/camping in.
To be continued (Coming up: EG, C&J)

long way home buddy. you didn't even scratch the bottom of good shoes... bruhaha, quasi
post #11 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by fritzl View Post

long way home buddy. you didn't even scratch the bottom of good shoes... bruhaha, quasi

It's a lot harder for people in the states get their hands on hand welted shoes.
post #12 of 40
great thread, i am a guy with small feet, low instep and arch .... stunted feet smile.gif

my first pair of aldens which i ordered from a german seller had the wide c/e (US10) , it was by far to roomy at the heel, the toebox and middle where fine, so i decided to order a new pair from alden sf in width aa/b (us10). today they have arrived, after a long week of waiting.

before this step i checked out a lot of ebay transactions to get a better overall view how length and width stick together from different sizes. i tought i was doing right to order 10aa/b, but i was wrong cry.gif

the heel fits superb, but the length and width in the toebox is a little bit to small. i have checked the outsoles from different sizes, here is my analysis, all from with famous trubalance last:

Roy Boots
10.5 b/d
12.76" x 4.48"

Indy
10 b/d
12.59" x 4.6

indy
11 b/d
13" x 4.7"

indy
10 c/e
12.5" x 4.8"

indy
10 aa/b
12.3" x 4.5"

I thought that a narrower width wouldn´t have any affect to the length of the shoe, as you can see this is unfortunately not the case. I am missing about 0.2".

what shall i do now ? order a 10.5aa/b or 10a/c ? maybe someone with same experience can show me the right way biggrin.gif
post #13 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fritzl View Post

long way home buddy. you didn't even scratch the bottom of good shoes... bruhaha, quasi

Haha, not sure what to make of this comment - thanks for adding value!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jammyo40 View Post

It's a lot harder for people in the states get their hands on hand welted shoes.

I have to agree with this point - not all of us are fortunate enough to be near a shop that may carry a whole range of brands, and even if one exists the salespeople may not be competent enough to make suggestions. Many of us buy shoes online and it's a bonus that many people wear Alden - we can compare our thoughts on the different fits to see which ones may work out well.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Quote:
Originally Posted by redwinglover View Post

great thread, i am a guy with small feet, low instep and arch .... stunted feet smile.gif
my first pair of aldens which i ordered from a german seller had the wide c/e (US10) , it was by far to roomy at the heel, the toebox and middle where fine, so i decided to order a new pair from alden sf in width aa/b (us10). today they have arrived, after a long week of waiting.
before this step i checked out a lot of ebay transactions to get a better overall view how length and width stick together from different sizes. i tought i was doing right to order 10aa/b, but i was wrong cry.gif
the heel fits superb, but the length and width in the toebox is a little bit to small. i have checked the outsoles from different sizes, here is my analysis, all from with famous trubalance last:
Roy Boots
10.5 b/d
12.76" x 4.48"
Indy
10 b/d
12.59" x 4.6
indy
11 b/d
13" x 4.7"
indy
10 c/e
12.5" x 4.8"
indy
10 aa/b
12.3" x 4.5"
I thought that a narrower width wouldn´t have any affect to the length of the shoe, as you can see this is unfortunately not the case. I am missing about 0.2".
what shall i do now ? order a 10.5aa/b or 10a/c ? maybe someone with same experience can show me the right way biggrin.gif

Hrm, generally I wouldn't say the outsole measurement is an accurate way to approach this, though it is quite strange that the same size on different widths would result in a shorter overall boot. If you can, I would order different widths and sizes from someplace like Shoemart and return the ones that don't work. The 10.5 aa/b should be longer and wider than the 10 aa/b you ordered.
post #14 of 40
Readers of this thread may also wish to check out Mouldedshoe.com. There is also a thread about an SF case order through Moulded Shoe.
post #15 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by philosophe View Post

Readers of this thread may also wish to check out Mouldedshoe.com. There is also a thread about an SF case order through Moulded Shoe.

Good point - I need to make an effort to try the modified last. I generally can't wear shoes with a high arch but many have said good things about this.
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