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# Stretching shoes - Page 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by DocHolliday

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What about where the vamp is okay (say E) in width but the mouth and brogueing and fit around the ankle are (say D) can that part be stretched to match ie "E"?
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocHolliday
You know, Roger, now that I've thought about it, I have to wonder about the length issue. Stretching a width just involves forcing the leather to give a bit. But wouldn't length require stretching the footbed? How would that be done?
I don't think any stretching of the footbed is ever in the picture with shoe-stretching, and, if I'm understanding the physics involved correctly, shouldn't be any more required for length- than for width-stretching. In the link below, the foot length and width is provided with each shoe size and width (in the US, UK, and Euro systems). In this table, it will be seen that a one-letter width increase (e.g., from D to E) corresponds to a .1875" increase in shoe width. As for length, we see that a .5-unit increase (e.g., from 9 to 9.5) corresponds to a .167" increase in foot length, which we might expect to correspond to approximately the same increase in shoe length. Thus the two increments (one letter of shoe width and .5-unit of shoe length) are approximately equal, which might account for the folk wisdom regarding the limits of safe stretching--length and width.

Now, as for your conjecture about length requiring alteration of the footbed, whereas width not requiring this, why should this be true? If the width can be stretched approximately .19 without any stretching of the footbed, why should a corresponding (or slightly lesser) increase in length require this? To see this in a different light, consider that a .167 increase in length would require approximately .08" (a little more than 1/16") at the toe and a corresponding amount at the heel. If enlargement of the interior volume of a shoe via width-stretching can be done without any change to the footbed--and that would be by stretching the uppers slightly further out over the sole extension to provide greater volume--why couldn't length stretching accomplish the same thing by stretching the leather slightly further out over the sole extension at the toe (particularly) and at the heel? Remember that we're talking about something close to only 1/16" here.

TheHoff's point is a good one too. By width enlargement in the vamp area, particularly near the toe, this enables the foot to extend further towards the toe of the shoe. In fact, if we study the profile (seen from above) of the vamp, we see that width enlargement near the toe actually provides more usable length, since the foot rarely sits with the toe right against the inside toe of the shoe, and, with many lasts (like the C&J 337, for example) it sits well back (close to 1") of the toe of the shoe. So this is another way in which stretching can buy you both width and (usable) length enlargement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jml90
I would imagine it would also make the shoe narrower.
This would be true only if the leather weren't actually stretched, since the volume would remain the same in that case, and all that would be changed would be the proportion of width to length. However, the leather is actually stretched, which allows a greater interior volume, not merely a change in the proportions.

http://www.geocities.com/handy_feet/shoesize.html
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger
I don't think any stretching of the footbed is ever in the picture with shoe-stretching, and, if I'm understanding the physics involved correctly, shouldn't be any more required for length- than for width-stretching. In the link below, the foot length and width is provided with each shoe size and width (in the US, UK, and Euro systems). In this table, it will be seen that a one-letter width increase (e.g., from D to E) corresponds to a .1875" increase in shoe width. As for length, we see that a .5-unit increase (e.g., from 9 to 9.5) corresponds to a .167" increase in foot length, which we might expect to correspond to approximately the same increase in shoe length. Thus the two increments (one letter of shoe width and .5-unit of shoe length) are approximately equal, which might account for the folk wisdom regarding the limits of safe stretching--length and width.

Now, as for your conjecture about length requiring alteration of the footbed, whereas width not requiring this, why should this be true? If the width can be stretched approximately .19 without any stretching of the footbed, why should a corresponding (or slightly lesser) increase in length require this? To see this in a different light, consider that a .167 increase in length would require approximately .08" (a little more than 1/16") at the toe and a corresponding amount at the heel. If enlargement of the interior volume of a shoe via width-stretching can be done without any change to the footbed--and that would be by stretching the uppers slightly further out over the sole extension to provide greater volume--why couldn't length stretching accomplish the same thing by stretching the leather slightly further out over the sole extension at the toe (particularly) and at the heel? Remember that we're talking about something close to only 1/16" here.

TheHoff's point is a good one too. By width enlargement in the vamp area, particularly near the toe, this enables the foot to extend further towards the toe of the shoe. In fact, if we study the profile (seen from above) of the vamp, we see that width enlargement near the toe actually provides more usable length, since the foot rarely sits with the toe right against the inside toe of the shoe, and, with many lasts (like the C&J 337, for example) it sits well back (close to 1") of the toe of the shoe. So this is another way in which stretching can buy you both width and (usable) length enlargement.

This would be true only if the leather weren't actually stretched, since the volume would remain the same in that case, and all that would be changed would be the proportion of width to length. However, the leather is actually stretched, which allows a greater interior volume, not merely a change in the proportions.

http://www.geocities.com/handy_feet/shoesize.html

If I had known this question would require returning to Mr. Bennett's 11th grade Physics class, I'd have kept my mouth shut!

Seriously, thanks for your input. I've taken the general feel to be that you can, to one degree or another, have your shoes stretched. Dropped them off this morning at a reputable cobbler and will let you know the results when I get them back on Friday.

By the way, the cobbler said that if you stretch 'em, you stretch 'em. Both length and width, you don't get a choice. We'll see.
well, what they do is stretch the upper. they sure as hell do not stretch the sole.

and yes of course it can be done, 90% of shoe repair shops have a shoe stretcher stand which they paid good money for this purpose
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonylumpkin
If I had known this question would require returning to Mr. Bennett's 11th grade Physics class, I'd have kept my mouth shut!
You had Mr. Bennett for Physics 11 too?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger
You had Mr. Bennett for Physics 11 too?

Hated he bastard!
I used to work in a women's shoe store and when a big mama with size 11 feet wanted a pair I only had in size 9, I would stretch the bejeezus out of it to make it fit. I did end up cracking a pair or two (they were pretty cheap shoes) and they ended up looking like crap, though not much crappier than they would otherwise have looked on some women's feet. More importantly, the look of satisfaction on that woman's face when she would proudly boast she was a size 9 made it all worthwhile.
thanks for that table - I had it before and lost it - I went looking the other day and could not find it.

dont forget to thaw
Quote:
Originally Posted by meister

Quote:
Originally Posted by DocHolliday

Apparently - my cobbler told me in answer to the same question - the surface nap ends up slightly rough.
Stretching the width of a shoe is possible only because of the way feet function. Stretching the length of a shoe is not really possible for exactly the same reason.

All the bones of the foot run, more or less, lengthwise. And when walking those bones tend to elongate even more.

You can give the shoe a larger girth..."stretch" it width-wise...up to a point, and the foot will still be comfortable because the sides of the foot can be "rolled" up. The leather in the shoe will simply flatten out as downward pressure is applied during walking.

In many ways the hand is an analogue of the foot. If you take a piece of leather, place it on a flat surface and press it down with the palm of your hand and then lift one edge of the leather you can see this principle illustrated. Like a bundle of twigs, the bones can shift up or down to some extent...no harm, no foul.

But try to pull that leather up past the ends of your fingers and the situation changes drastically. Like that same bundle of twigs, the ends can do nothing but bend and/or break.

The same situation applies to shoes. When the shoe is stretched lengthwise, only the upper is stretched. The insole/footbed is not.

If the insole cannot be stretched lengthwise...and it cannot...stretching the shoe lengthwise will do no good. Because the same upward pressure on the end of the toes as was on ends of the twigs will still be there.

What's almost as important...maybe even more important...is that if a shoe is too short, the ball joint will also be too short relative to the overall length. This heel-to-ball measurement is a critical aspect of fitting the foot correctly--the distance from the back of the heel to the ball joint must correspond to the same distance on the last and in the shoe. If it does no,t the foot will not be supported correctly nor will walking be as comfortable or as easy as it should be.

Since the insole is cut to the bottom...shape and size...of the last, and since the insole is relatively rigid, it cannot be stretched.

So even if the shoe is stretched lengthwise...counter to all logic and common sense...the insole will still be the original size and the heel to ball measurement will still be short.

In a very real sense, stretching the shoe lengthwise distorts so many important relationships within the shoe and addresses few or none of the reasons the shoe was wanted longer in the first place.

In a very real sense, to stretch a shoe lengthwise is to ruin it.
Edited by DWFII - 8/16/11 at 8:14am
Have several of these:
http://www.shoesystemsplus.com/cam80stretcher.html
They work pretty well.
^ I have a little gizmo attached to the carburetor of my car. It triples my gas mileage.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII

^ I have a little gizmo attached to the carburetor of my car. It triples my gas mileage.

SHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don't let OPEC know - they'll kill you.

Wonder if that stretcher/lengthner thing might have other uses?????

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