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Toe Pinching Issues

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi All ... I've recently made my first dress shoe purchase - a pair of Allen Edmond monk straps ("Norwich") in size 12B. I've been planning to purchase either an Alden or Allen Edmond shoe for some time now. I've actually tried shoes at a couple AE stores as well as the Alden store in DC. Unfortunately, the odd sizing restricted my choices.

After trying on mostly Hampton last captoes at the Alden store, it became apparent that I was having a toe pinching problem. Every shoe I tried pinched my toes around the knuckle from the creasing. The clerk suggested that I may have the same problem with all captoe shoes (despite make/last). Upon this suggestion I began exploring plain toe.

I tried on very different last (2-222 vs 8-108) plain toe at Allen Edmond, Minneapolis. Neither shoe felt like it was giving me significant pinching. However, after wearing the Norwich (2-222) for several days, a mild toe pinch became somewhat painful.

My questions are:

1. Does anyone know a way for stretching/working the shoe to alleviate such a toe pinch?
2. If I end up buying a different shoe, is there a more fool proof method for diagnosing whether this will happen again?
3. Did anyone with a similar problem find a last that works for them?

I should also mention that since I've been transitioning to a fore-foot strike running style, my walking style has also become more mid-foot/fore-foot strike in nature. I think this may be exacerbating the issue.
post #2 of 13
No guarantees but a reputable cobbler may be able to stretch the shoes for you in the toebox. It will take 3 days in his stretcher contraption and will cost you about $10. Toeboxes vary in construction materials from shoe to shoe so if for example the toebox is plastic it may not take to stretching. Be warned that once stretched this may remove the possibility of returning the shoes should it not work out. It saddens me that there are less and less truly competant sales staff these days. A truly qualified salesperson will measure your feet and know the lasts of all the manufacturers he (she) is selling. Perhaps post your location and someone here who also lives in your area may be able to render further assistance.
post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neskie View Post

Hi All ... I've recently made my first dress shoe purchase - a pair of Allen Edmond monk straps ("Norwich") in size 12B. I've been planning to purchase either an Alden or Allen Edmond shoe for some time now. I've actually tried shoes at a couple AE stores as well as the Alden store in DC. Unfortunately, the odd sizing restricted my choices.
After trying on mostly Hampton last captoes at the Alden store, it became apparent that I was having a toe pinching problem. Every shoe I tried pinched my toes around the knuckle from the creasing. The clerk suggested that I may have the same problem with all captoe shoes (despite make/last). Upon this suggestion I began exploring plain toe.
I tried on very different last (2-222 vs 8-108) plain toe at Allen Edmond, Minneapolis. Neither shoe felt like it was giving me significant pinching. However, after wearing the Norwich (2-222) for several days, a mild toe pinch became somewhat painful.
My questions are:
1. Does anyone know a way for stretching/working the shoe to alleviate such a toe pinch?
2. If I end up buying a different shoe, is there a more fool proof method for diagnosing whether this will happen again?
3. Did anyone with a similar problem find a last that works for them?
I should also mention that since I've been transitioning to a fore-foot strike running style, my walking style has also become more mid-foot/fore-foot strike in nature. I think this may be exacerbating the issue.

I have the exact same problem with many RTW shoes. After playing around with numerous solutions (ordering shoes in wider widths, having the manufacturer stretch the shoe etc) I have finally found the most effective solution for me is to buy a shoe stretcher and stretch the relevant area myself. If you google "shoe stretcher" it should throw up a few relevant results. The most useful ones are those that come with small plastic nodules that you can push in to specific parts of the stretcher in order to target a particualr part of the shoe to be stretched (e.g. the toe area etc).
post #4 of 13
I had a similar problem with cap toe Edward Green shoes in the 888 last. The folks from Edward Green said that there was too much length in toe box. The cap pushed the extra leather onto my forefoot, which wrinkled and bit down into the knuckle on my toe. I don't have that issue with plain toes or wing tips.

1. One high end shoe reparishop fortified the inside of the shoe with some leather. That helped for one pair. I have used a shoe stretcher and some of the spray that is supposed to loosen up leather on another pair of shoes. In a pinch(!) you could tape a penny to the inside of your shoe where it bites into the knuckle. That will alleviate the pain in the short term, and may cause the leather to wrinkle in a different way.

2. The only sure fire way I have found to avoid this problem is to avoid cap toes. The folks from Edward Green said that the cap toe acts as a stay, pushing the excess leather into folds that bite into the toe. I don't have the problem with whole cuts.

3. If you want to wear cap toes, if you size down 1/2, but increase the width, you may be able to alleviate the problem (i.e., going from a 9D to an 8.5E may eliminate the excess leather in the toebox).

Bic
post #5 of 13
i haven't found home shoe stretchers to do much of anything.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your responses!

I contacted Allen Edmond, and they offered to take a look at them (which I really have no idea what they mean by that). Maybe they will stretch the toebox for me? If not, I'll try the local cobbler and home stretch approaches; though honestly, I'm not very hopefully. I think ultimately I just bought the wrong last. Ironically, the only shoes that have worked for me so far are cheap square-toes .... which I refuse to insult me feet with again.

I'll update the thread when I get my shoes back from Allen Edmonds
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bic Pentameter View Post

I had a similar problem with cap toe Edward Green shoes in the 888 last. The folks from Edward Green said that there was too much length in toe box. The cap pushed the extra leather onto my forefoot, which wrinkled and bit down into the knuckle on my toe. I don't have that issue with plain toes or wing tips.
1. One high end shoe reparishop fortified the inside of the shoe with some leather. That helped for one pair. I have used a shoe stretcher and some of the spray that is supposed to loosen up leather on another pair of shoes. In a pinch(!) you could tape a penny to the inside of your shoe where it bites into the knuckle. That will alleviate the pain in the short term, and may cause the leather to wrinkle in a different way.
2. The only sure fire way I have found to avoid this problem is to avoid cap toes. The folks from Edward Green said that the cap toe acts as a stay, pushing the excess leather into folds that bite into the toe. I don't have the problem with whole cuts.
3. If you want to wear cap toes, if you size down 1/2, but increase the width, you may be able to alleviate the problem (i.e., going from a 9D to an 8.5E may eliminate the excess leather in the toebox).
Bic

I like the penny idea (and the pun). Unfortunately, these are already plain toe. I've given up on my dreams of captoes. But they do have a somewhat long/thick toe which might be part of the problem.
post #8 of 13
Has anyone has an issue with this problem starting at random on an older pair of shoes? I have a pair of Park Aves that just started doing this this morning. Very annoying.
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadcammer View Post

i haven't found home shoe stretchers to do much of anything.

 

is there such a thing as not-for-home shoe stretcher? :o

post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by unjung View Post

Has anyone has an issue with this problem starting at random on an older pair of shoes? I have a pair of Park Aves that just started doing this this morning. Very annoying.

 

how old :o

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by chogall View Post

is there such a thing as not-for-home shoe stretcher? redface.gif

well, a professional cobbler could wetlast them and probably has more advanced tools and such to be more effective.
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by chogall View Post

how old redface.gif

I've been wearing them for several years. Never had a problem before this week.
post #13 of 13

I had the exact same problem with Allen Edmonds "MacAllister" wingtip oxfords, so obviously the problem is not exclusive to captoes.  Moreover, it only happened on my right foot (which has a slightly higher instep).  The pinching was quite uncomfortable, and made walking any great distance undesirable.  The pinching also continued through 8-10 wears.

 

I'm disinclined to think that this problem has to do with incorrect sizing.  I have other pairs of AE in the same size/width that fit like a glove and needed little or no breaking in before feeling totally comfortable.  I also wear 11D pretty much across the board, including AE, Church's, Grenson, Quoddy, Crockett & Jones, and R. Martegani.

 

This leads me to believe that the pinching issue is mostly an Allen Edmonds problem.  There may be an explanation in the way that AE cuts their leather for the vamps, but I don't know anything factual about that.

 

Enough speculation!  Here's what worked for me:

 

1. Applying mink oil to inside of the vamp.  This does not affect the porousness or color of the upper at all, as far as I can tell.  I made 3 applications and let the shoes dry for 3-4 days between each application (while using shoe trees).

 

2. Stretching the creasing.pinching area of the vamp.  I did not feel like buying a home stretching machine that I would likely use only once, nor did I feel like taking them in to a cobbler.  I wedged a pliers in the empty space between the two halves of the forepart of the shoe tree.  I understand not all show trees have this structure, but my cheapo Woodlore shoe trees do.  This stretched the vamp out a fair amount.  I was careful not to be too forceful with the stretching.

 

This worked for me.  No more toe pinching.  Please use caution when trying this method, since it seems like it could wind up ruining nice shoes if done improperly.

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