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Buying shoes for your arch size? - Page 6

post #76 of 91
I wholeheartedly agree that it is important to get good arch support (i.e. HB measurement accuracy) and getting that right is what causes proper comfort, not cushioned soles by Ecco and the likes.

But like Bengal-Stripe above, I am not so sure about the detrimental effects it has on people's health in reality. The amount of Americans I see wearing shoes one full size too big their entire life without issue or the amount of Europeans on the opposite spectrum wearing shoes one full size too small, I am led to believe that much of this is just subjective and down to one's feelings about comfort and fit. There is no right or wrong. There is 'right' in what people who truly know about shoes "think" but then there are too many exceptions to the rule out there who are perfectly comfortable in ill-fitting shoes who go through life without any problems occurring from said bad fit, to create factual statements, IMHO.

Don't get me wrong, I hate bad fit and find it appalling. But I won't go tell someone that they are wrong as it is all subjective in reality. If they ask my opinion, I will happily give it and try to explain why I think that way.

But then there are also those that will never be happy with their fit, even in 10 different bespoke makers' shoes. And those people are just full of crap in my opinion. They are there to simply complain and bother someone else as it gives them some sick sense of satisfaction. Don't waste your time with those people.
post #77 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengal-stripe View Post

Whether a difference of ⅛”, either in HB measurement or total length of the last makes a significant difference to comfort (let alone foot-health in 30 or more years down the road), I rather doubt.

Everything in life is a question of degrees.


It is probably true that less than a half size (1/8" is less than a half size) won't make much difference. It is always easy to dismiss the logic and the technical rationales that underpin both the premise and the foot and say "oh, don't worry about it." "it probably won't affect foot health."

It's easy because then you don't have to take any responsibility for having said that...or more importantly, for the consequences. Particularly 30 years down the road, when you and I will be forgotten if only because the pain of fallen metatarsal arches will certainly preclude a thoughtful examination of why they fell.

And who misled them.

As with politicians, accountability is the one fatal flaw in all these "it doesn't make any difference" arguments.

But I would make a bet that you aren't so casual with your own footwear.

Regardless, the fact is that this discussion was never a "theoretical" examination, although it touches on theory and relies...for some...on logic and principle. This discussion was always in response to real people with real problems asking for help and sound advice. Not dismissive waving off and murmurs about "compromise" and "degrees." All that is just mealy-mouthed blather from people who don't know, won't take responsibility, aren't accountable, and assiduously avoid offering any in-depth analysis or explanation for why "it doesn't matter."

The conversation, like so many others goes south (becomes a "pissing contest") when the kibitzers, wanna-bes (but don't wanna work that hard) and others blowing smoke enter into the discussion...generally, without having taken the time to read through the whole discussion. Most not only don't have any real experience doing the work or taking responsibility for the results, they won't even exert themselves enough to review what has been said.

And so...they come along with these placating noises and meaningless repetitions of what has already, long since, been said.

Let me join you in that effort:
  • The HB measurement is the most critical determiner of fit. Period. It is not...by any stretch of the imagination..."secondary."
  • It is not the only thing that determines a good fit or a comfortable fit. (see post #22 and post #35)
  • A half size may not make an immediate difference in comfort or health but not only is every foot different, if we simply read the discussion it becomes clear from the photos that have been posted that often what those seeking advice are talking about is more...even much more...than that. [If it's not too much effort for those latecomers and long range snipers who disdain actually engaging, see post #7.]
  • It is true that every shoemaker will see and sometimes feel the HD to be at a specific place. You say 3/4 SLL. Sabbage says 8/11 SLL, others, including some lastmakers, say 7/10 SLL. The difference, however in all of these (maybe not your 3/4) is probably less than a half size. And while it is probably true that no two makers will come up with the exact same location for the medial joint I seriously doubt that the difference will be more than a half size significant.
  • And it is doubly true that RTW makers will have a less rigourous standard of where the HB is--they are, as has been already pointed out...again and again...all about compromise. The compromise of quality versus speed and profit margin, first and foremost.
  • But I seriously doubt that any bespoke shoemaker who feels for the joint with his own hands will get a result that is significantly different than every other bespoke maker who feels for the joint with his hands.
  • Not every bespoke maker...no matter how skilled...is a good fitter. Damn few retail clarks are good fitters, esp. if they rely on a Brannock device. And RTW is always a compromise (esp. if you allow it to be) and the makers don't care if you are fit--it is essentially caveat emptor
.

In the end, if you start off not caring, or are willing to accept "compromise" and vague "degrees" of fit, you will never, ever...except by accident and serendipity...be fit.

My advice to the OP was/is sound. It is, in fact, unimpeachable. It may be...to some...too rigourous, too hard to come to terms with. Too hard to follow. Too much serious thinking or deliberation involved--bo-o-o-ther! But if a person always, first and foremost, respects HB as the most critical and important element of fit, they cannot go wrong unless the impulse to insouciance and indifference causes them to dismiss or not care about other aspects of fit.

If a person is too lazy to concern himself with such niceties...it is almost a guarantee that somewhere along the line problems will develop. And he will deserve them.

PS.. Everything in life may be a "question of degree"...but what you're saying is that they aren't important. If you live in a grey scale world you'll never see the edge of the cliff until you walk off it. The key to life...even survival...is recognizing those degrees.

--
Edited by DWFII - 11/13/15 at 1:32pm
post #78 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Shoe Snob View Post


But then there are also those that will never be happy with their fit, even in 10 different bespoke makers' shoes. And those people are just full of crap in my opinion. They are there to simply complain and bother someone else as it gives them some sick sense of satisfaction. Don't waste your time with those people.

A lot like certain of those people in this thread who are contesting or "qualifying" the premise that HB is the most important element of fit.

As Rider (and others) have suggested, however, there is a distinct possibility that sometimes, as with giants4life's plantar facitis (post #44), such pain might very well be caused by poor HB fit...so much for 30 years of foot health.

That said, I think it needs to be mentioned that some people have chronic foot pain (diabetics are just one example) and simply will never be comfortable even barefoot. It's not always a matter of perversity, IOW.

Although in the case of chronic, unsubstantiated contentiousness, it's hard to see how it can be anything else.

--
Edited by DWFII - 11/13/15 at 8:04am
post #79 of 91
Well to bring this back to one of the questions originally asked... I got some used Allen Edmonds Mapleton (234 last) today. They're in 9E. If we check back in this thread the Brannock said I had a 9 HB and my current Leeds are 8 1/2 3E. The shoes feel good all around but I'd probably want them in 2E (not possible). Had this shoe not been on a more square toed last, I'd probably re-sell them because of the usual AE tapered toe. The way they're now I'll probably just use the stretching shoe trees as usual. It does seem to be possible to go to a 9 but since its a different last too I'm not sure about the width and all that. I'll try and report back when I've actually used them in the wild.
Edited by tharkun - 11/13/15 at 4:48pm
post #80 of 91
^
I'm not sure what the question is but it's interesting that you went up in size (as per the Brannock) and found it good, at least in terms of length.

Reading your post, however, I felt compelled to observe that the idea of going up a width to compensate for too short a shoe or up in length to compensate for too narrow a shoe (and all the variations thereof) is "kludge" and nothing short.

People do it and manufacturers rely on the feeding frenzy mentality, and a dearth of better options, esp. in the short term, to sell their product...nevermind that they don't fit. It relieves the makers of having to produce a full range of sizes...even common sizes.

It has been remarked that RTW is always a compromise. As much as I might deplore that notion, I won't say it's wrong because it's not.

But any compromise is in the mind of the consumer. And compromise, by its very nature, is not forced. It is a choice--a choice to "give up," to surrender to indifference. And as long as consumers do that the makers will feel no need to address any consideration but maximizing profit. Certainly not providing for the customer...except incidentally.

You can buy the 8-1/2 and it probably won't be a problem esp. in the short term. But it's like the Garden of Eden--once you know you should be wearing a 9, paradise and innocence have been lost forever. You've bitten from the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil.

--
Edited by DWFII - 11/15/15 at 5:40am
post #81 of 91
Can the shoe experts tell us how they go about fitting someone's foot? It seems the process and choices would be different for RTW vs bespoke, but what do you do? For bespoke, does the fitting start with the shoemakers or the last maker? Once the last is done, how much control is left for the shoemaker?

For RTW, it sounds like one measures HB, width and toe length, then tries to find shoes with lasts appropriate to those values. This requires, I suppose, knowing the properties of a variety of lasts from different manufacturers.

Plus, I assume, people vary in how sensitive they are, how much and where they walk, whether they are comfortable simply removing uncomfortable shoes when at their desks... So two people with hypothetical identical feet might have very different reactions to the same fit?
post #82 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbhdnhdbh View Post

Can the shoe experts tell us how they go about fitting someone's foot? It seems the process and choices would be different for RTW vs bespoke, but what do you do? For bespoke, does the fitting start with the shoemakers or the last maker? Once the last is done, how much control is left for the shoemaker?

For RTW, it sounds like one measures HB, width and toe length, then tries to find shoes with lasts appropriate to those values. This requires, I suppose, knowing the properties of a variety of lasts from different manufacturers.

Plus, I assume, people vary in how sensitive they are, how much and where they walk, whether they are comfortable simply removing uncomfortable shoes when at their desks... So two people with hypothetical identical feet might have very different reactions to the same fit?

For myself, I take a measurement of the length of the foot--the "stick"--and at the same time a measurement from the back of the heel to the medial ball joint (HB). I also take a footprint...very like a fingerprint both in the way it is taken and in the results. I then measure the foot in six locations--joint, waist, low instep, high instep, short heel and long heel (each related in some way to bone structures in the foot).

I compare and "collate" all that data and then choose a stock last. Sometimes I discover that the original last is not going to work out and have to choose another.

Then I begin modifying the last to match the dimensions and topography of the foot. For a more detailed look at my approach (and a comparison with another maker's approach) see this discussion. (Be aware this discussion is long, technical, detailed and might be somewhat bewildering to those who are not ready...but it does have some pretty pictures.)

Some bespoke makers, particularly in Europe, carve the last from scratch rather than use a standard last.

From this, I think you can see that a bespoke fitting starts with the foot rather than the last or the shoe as in RTW.

More disconcerting for the consumer, I suppose, is the fact that while most bespoke makers will politely ask the client what size shoe he wears, few, I suspect, really pay much attention to the answer. Feet are fit according to measurements and dimensions, not arbitrary sizes marked on lasts.

For RTW, if the sales clark is using a Brannock device (and again, all this depends on some often untutored and uninformed interpretation on the part to the sales rep), the stick and the HB may be read directly from the device in standard sizes (as opposed to inches or millimeters). This is where all the controversy begins--the more-often-than-you-might-think discrepancy between HB and stick. At least partially because RTW shoes are sized according to the stick and the HB is essentially unknown to the sales person.

People obsess here on SF about the model of last. But again there is a caveat. Not all lastmakers themselves...much less the models they create according to the shoemakers' dictates...actually conform to the "standard" of a standard sized last. That's why you get sales people who will tell you "Oh, that brand always runs a little small." And that's why even the measurements and read-outs from a Brannock device...even the size numbers printed inside the shoe or on the box....can be misleading and misinterpreted.

And yes, no two feet...even on the same body...are identical. And every person has a different set of modifiers that govern perceived fit and perceived comfort. Even what you eat on a regular basis can affect fit...and comfort.

--
Edited by DWFII - 11/14/15 at 8:35am
post #83 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

^
I'm not sure what the question is but it's interesting that you went up in size (as per the Brannock) and found it good, at least in terms of length.

Reading your post, however, I felt compelled to observe that the idea of going up a width to compensate for too short a shoe or up in length to compensate for too narrow a shoe (and all the variations thereof) is "kludge" and nothing short.

People do it and manufacturers rely on the feeding frenzy mentality, and a dearth of better options, esp. in the short term, to sell their product...nevermind that they don't fit. It relieves the makers of having to produce a full range of sizes...even common sizes.

It has been remarked that RTW is always a compromise. As much as I might deplore that notion, I won't say it's wrong because it's not.

But any compromise is in the mind of the consumer. It is a choice--a choice to "give up," to surrender to indifference. And as long as consumers do that the makers will feel no need to address any consideration but maximizing profit. Certainly not providing for the customer...except incidentally.

You can buy the 8-1/2 and it probably won't be a problem esp. in the short term. But it's like the Garden of Eden--once you know you should be wearing a 9, paradise and innocence have been lost forever. You've bitten from the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil.

--

Well short of bespoke (not with my salary wink.gif) what are the options? Length, width and last. As I stated before I have quite wide feet. If I compare my foot to the last gentleman that posted his feet on this thread, then in comparison my toes form almost a straight line across the top while his taper back a lot over the width of the foot. Short of lasts that have no taper at all to speak of, I then have length and width left to choose from. So far I was always going up in width only until I came across the HB thing and the Brannock said I have a 9 HB size. This is the first time I tried this and I went down to E (from the 3E Leeds) just to see how that would work out.

Next I'll try to make my own shoes but that's going to take a while with the kids and all. Wintertime is shoetime, summertime is gardentime. And I not only need to make the shoes but also a last. And I'm sure the first pair will be cemented and not sewn wink.gif
post #84 of 91
Yes, I remember your foot and you definitely have short toes. For starters, if I were you I'd always go with the HB as a size determiner.

I have often said that everyone can afford bespoke. You may not be able to afford Lobbs or one of the other cachet names but there are bespoke makers that can get you into at least one pair. Or two pair. Ten pair of RTW seems to be the standard here but even at the low end of RTW, the total is more than one pair of Lobbs.

Thing is once you have a pair made for your feet you're gonna have a better sense of where you should be, even with RTW.

At the very least you could go to a competent bespoke maker and have him measure your feet. The point of which is to get some sense of what your true HB is and how much different it is from your stick. Maybe that doesn't seem of much help...and I grant you, barring commitment, it isn't ...but every little bit helps.

You were born with these feet (and bless the lads that weren't)...and that can't be changed, not at this late date, anyway. You have to deal play the cards you're dealt. Sooner or later. (I know you know all this but sometimes it helps to have it laid out clearly)

As you already know "compromise" isn't the answer. If it were, I suspect you wouldn't be here asking questions and seeking an alternative.

--
Edited by DWFII - 11/15/15 at 5:44am
post #85 of 91
Well as you said, short toes I guess. So to report back as promised: After actually walking around in the shoes for a while it seems that the right shoe creases exactly over my big toe, which hurts quite a bit. If I push my foot back in the shoe and test it, it creases right in front of the toe but when walking for a while the foot pushes far enough forward that the toe gets squished. Really weird and I guess its the last or the previous owner's pre-creasing since the 9D suede shoes I have don't do that.
post #86 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by tharkun View Post

Well as you said, short toes I guess. So to report back as promised: After actually walking around in the shoes for a while it seems that the right shoe creases exactly over my big toe, which hurts quite a bit. If I push my foot back in the shoe and test it, it creases right in front of the toe but when walking for a while the foot pushes far enough forward that the toe gets squished. Really weird and I guess its the last or the previous owner's pre-creasing since the 9D suede shoes I have don't do that.

That's one reason why I sometimes rail against pre-owned shoes. You not only have the vamp wanting to crease where the previous owner's feet creased, the insole is flexed and loosened where the previous owner's feet made it bend. And the outsole too. So between the insole and the outsole, the shoe not only wants to bend for a different foot it actually resists bending anywhere else.
post #87 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

That's one reason why I sometimes rail against pre-owned shoes. You not only have the vamp wanting to crease where the previous owner's feet creased, the insole is flexed and loosened where the previous owner's feet made it bend. And the outsole too. So between the insole and the outsole, the shoe not only wants to bend for a different foot it actually resists bending anywhere else.

So I guess this shouldn't be an issue with a new one then, if I get you correctly? Btw these being pre-owned was for trial and error on the HB thing without infuriating the SO. The shoes cost $10 smile.gif They also have rubber soles, so not sure about the sole wanting to bend in the old place. The upper leather definitely resists bending in other places, even when trying to pre bend it in a different place with my hands. I'll give them some more time so I can test out the HB thing a bit more.

Thanks for your insights DW!
post #88 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by tharkun View Post

So I guess this shouldn't be an issue with a new one then, if I get you correctly? Btw these being pre-owned was for trial and error on the HB thing without infuriating the SO. The shoes cost $10 smile.gif They also have rubber soles, so not sure about the sole wanting to bend in the old place. The upper leather definitely resists bending in other places, even when trying to pre bend it in a different place with my hands. I'll give them some more time so I can test out the HB thing a bit more.

Thanks for your insights DW!

Well, just one caveat....the forepart of any shoe that actually fits you is going to be longer relative to your foot and toes than it would with someone with longer toes. The toes have to control the forepart of the shoe to crease it properly. Extended toe lasts and even narrow toed lasts probably aren't in your future. And I would think that sticking with a leather insole and outsole and a relatively soft upper would also be the best, safest bet.
post #89 of 91

Hi all, great thread. I just did some measurements at home using a butter knife, sheet of paper, and the help of a friend. I wanted to see how home measurements compared to my Brannock measurements, and they were spot on.

 

Quick question though... As part of my project, I measured my ball-to-heel / arch length by marking on the paper where my ball joint is. However, I cannot find any measurement charts online for this measurement. Do they exist? If so, can someone point me to one?

 

Foot measurements:

Left

- Toe to heel length = 9.5 US

- Arch length = 8"

- Width = D

Right

- Toe to heel length = 10 US

- Arch length = 8"

- Width = D

post #90 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Shoe Snob View Post
I wholeheartedly agree that it is important to get good arch support (i.e. HB measurement accuracy) and getting that right is what causes proper comfort, not cushioned soles by Ecco and the likes.

But like Bengal-Stripe above, I am not so sure about the detrimental effects it has on people's health in reality. The amount of Americans I see wearing shoes one full size too big their entire life without issue or the amount of Europeans on the opposite spectrum wearing shoes one full size too small, I am led to believe that much of this is just subjective and down to one's feelings about comfort and fit. There is no right or wrong. There is 'right' in what people who truly know about shoes "think" but then there are too many exceptions to the rule out there who are perfectly comfortable in ill-fitting shoes who go through life without any problems occurring from said bad fit, to create factual statements, IMHO.

Don't get me wrong, I hate bad fit and find it appalling. But I won't go tell someone that they are wrong as it is all subjective in reality. If they ask my opinion, I will happily give it and try to explain why I think that way.

 

A proper fitted shoe is secured at the heel and ball before the toes. Improperly fitted shoes are secured at the heel and toes. The end result is that when walking the force is transferred through the toes instead of ball to the ground. This will put a lot of stress on the front of the foot and possibly the legs.

 

Now the reason most people are able to wear improperly fitted shoes is because the soles are typically very flexible, especially with tennis shoes. Even with dress shoes most have a single sole so people are able to break-in the shoe, and they really are breaking the shoe to fit. However high-end dress shoes (I'm thinking Shell Cordovan with JR Soles) have double-oak soles where are twice as thick as regular soles. These soles don't flex as much so it's not possible to break them in as much. So only people who are wearing these high-end shoes (Alden, Allen Edmonds, etc.) will experience serious discomfort and pain from improper HB fitment. 

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