Molded Shoe very ptrofessional. They couldn't fit me in Alden.
What might have worked for me from Alden was very orthopedic
looking- No thanks. They did try to sell me$1200.00 orthodics.
I didn't bite.
May I recommend that contributors to it state at the outset their Brannock Device measurement? In a similar thread on a similar forum, the discussion was somewhat sidetracked by people with wide feet weighing in, which invariably leads to Allen-Edmonds as the answer to all questions (i.e., because they are so good about making shoes available in just about any width). The problem is not the availability of widths but the width of the HEEL relative to the width of the BALL.
By Brannock I am a confusing 12.5 to 13 D. Confusing because from heel to ball I am actually a 14 narrow, but my toes do not extend that far. Even the best shoe fitters "do their best" with no great optimism.
The problem I almost always face is that a shoes that fit well in the heel and tie snugly and evenly across the instep will be too tight in the toes or, worse (to my mind), "okay" in the toes but subject to unsightly distortion caused by he pinky toe bulging and creasing the material and causing a dent in the toe box. The shoes we are discussing here are expensive, and they are not worth buying or keeping if they are not a pleasure to look at. The unsightly bulge and dent phenomenon is a deal breaker for me.
The solution of sizing wide is no solution for it causes the heel to slip and also results in an equally ugly misalignment of the facings when tied. Either the facings close shut and do not allow a snug fit and/or they misalign dramatically as I attempt to pull them tight. Contrary to popular belief, the crooked facings problem is not usually a result of factory error but of the foot with insufficient volume for the "cone" of the shoe (i.e., the instep, facings, and heel complex--the parts that are supposed to wrap around your heel and instep). I can stomach some misalignment if the shoe fits well, more or less, but if you find yourself experimenting with seven different tongue pads and other modifications it just isn't worth it.
Here is what works for me. Again, 12.5-13 D on Brannock. Ratings are 1-5 stars.
Allen Edmonds 5 Last in size 12EEE. 5 STARS!. A very, very nice fit. This last is supposed to be for a long narrow foot, but try dropping a whole size and going all the way out on the width. Good fit. No pinching. Very little bulge/dent problem. Facings close snugly. No heel slip. DRAWBACK: Used exclusively in balmorals, I believe.
Church's 103 Last in UK 12G. 4.5 STARS! Church's run narrow, as we know, and their 173 last in G is a FAIL because its taper causes a severe bulge/dent problem. The 103 is a very rounded last, however, which mitigates this problem. In G they fit much better with with a thin 3/4 length arch support. If you do not have the pinky toe bulge and dent problem, try them in fitting F. DRAWBACK: Used only in the Shannon consistently, although other less dressy shoes occasionally come out on it.
Tricker's 4444 Last in UK 11.5 fitting 5. 4.5 STARS! Nice fit in the heel. Minimal distortion of toe box. A good fit but still a little too much volume. Very wearable. If you normally wear (or struggle with) a US 9D and normally wear (or struggle with) a UK 8.5F, try an 8 on this last.
Loake 024 Last in UK 12 fitting F. 4 STARS. A narrow last but long. Like the AE 5 last in many respects. One challenges its narrowness in the toes, yes, but the shape of the last minimizes distortion, and the heel and instep are perfect.
Cheaney 175 Last in UK 12 fitting F. 4 STARS. Nice fit in the heel and instep, but the toe box gets a bit narrow. Distortion a small problem.
Tricker's W2298 Last in UK 12.5 fitting F. 4 STARS. This is Tricker's narrower and shorter version of its English country lasts (4444 and 4497) and the preferred one used by US retailers like Sierra Trading Post. Size up half a size from your usual UK fit, and it fits rather well, but the heels, are just a bit too roomy.
Crockett and Jones 325 in UK 12 fitting E. 3.5 STARS. Fits like the Cheaney 175, but the instep is rather voluminous. This is the last the Ralph Lauren Marlow wingtip is made on, and it is barely wearable for feet like ours--but wearable. I would NOT buy a shell cordovan shoe on this last because the extra give would make the closing too loose, and the light "blooming" of shell at pressure points exaggerates bulges and dents.
Alfred Sargent last 7WK in 11.5. 3 STARS. Great fit in the heel and instep, but the bulge/dent is pronounced. In a forgiving material like suede or pebbled calf, it is wearable, but I would stay away from smooth calf and especially lighter colors where distortions cannot hide.
Sanders Stet last in 12 G. I wish I had more time to spend with this last. It is a short last, and for this reason the 12 G did not work all that well for me, but my hunch is that a UK 12.5 G would work, but I don't know that.
Allen-Edmonds 1 last in 13E. 3 STARS. Works. Sort of. I don't care for the distortion in the toe box, but it is a decent fit in the instep and heel.
ALMOST WEARABLE BUT NOT QUITE.
Allen-Edmonds 7 last in 13E. 2.5 STARS. The toe is so low on this last it is far too cramped for a wide ball, but when you increase the width, the instep becomes too high too fast. 13D pinches and bulges, but in 13 E the closing are completely misaligned and the heel gapes.
Alden Barrie last in any size. 2.5 STARS. I have tried 12.5, 12.5E, and 13. The heel and instep are decent in 12.5 but that taper of the toe box causes an unsightly distortion. Minimized in the 13, but that shoe is just too big. Has anyone tried sizing a whole size down on this last? Please share your thoughts.
Alden True Balance last in any size. Same as above.
Barker last 29. 2.5 STARS. Enormous cone makes it almost possible to tie shoes snugly on this rather short last, but not possible enough.
Tricker's 4497. 2.5 STARS. It is low across the the instep but still somewhat big in the heel and long in the toes. Bulging and pinching become too much to accept.
I'll add to this, suffering from the similar issue of having a relatively slimmer heel to wider forefoot. Actually, to be more precise a somewhat broad metatarsal spread - not to mention large first metatarsal head - and very square forefoot and toe splay.
Angeland's mention of the Church 103 last is a good one, in my opinion it offers a comfortable round toe, maintaining reasonable straight medial line and offering good toe box height. For my foot, neither Church 81 (Burwood) nor 173 (Grafton) lasts in a G width worked - despite the generous width at the ball of the foot, the taper was too constrictive into the toe box, or 'nose' of the last - resulting in pinching of the toes on both sides.
Cheaney 12508 is better (than the Church 81 and 173), even in an F. A more rounded toe box and acceptable width. In my experience, true to size and perhaps the most comfortable of the Cheaney lasts for fellows of our predicament.
Sanders M265 (e.g. the Robbie) and 4831 (e.g. the Olly); similar, with the 4831 having slightly more volume notably across the instep*. 'True to size' - as in the size I am most usually comfortable in and how I measure on a UK calibrated Brannock - both are just a shade generous. Both offer good toe box height and similar round toe that eliminates any pinching.
Not so the Sanders Stet last in a G width (e.g. the Belgrade long wing) - despite the additional volume felt across the breadth, the taper again is too constrictive for a broad toe splay. Width at the ball is significant however! Overly so in my case.
*Note; not necessarily a fair comparison however, with the Olly being a derby/gibson while the Bruno is a closed throat oxford/balmoral.
The Alfred Sargent 7WK - as per my currently sole remaining shoe, the Dalham - quite frankly is awful. Large heel volume, broad at the ball (it is an FX fitting) yet toe crushing toe box height and narrow taper to the toe tips. Fail.
Perhaps the best last for foot comfort and natural fit is the Munson. The problem however is its inelegance, scarcity in 'contemporary' footwear, non-existence in Europe and ultimately abject unsuitability for a formal or dress shoe.
I must have tried two dozen shoes in various lasts to date, and yet the search continues for the elusive acceptable RTW fit.
Interesting that there are three threads that I can see, this one and also http://www.styleforum.net/t/201019/shoe-recommendation-wide-forefoot-narrow-heel and http://www.styleforum.net/t/324716/derby-for-wide-fore-foot-and-narrow-heel
There a many among us!