Originally Posted by upnorth
I think alot of problems with the sizing is the really the result of one's width and also the wearer's preference. Adding to those problems is the confusion amongst most people that boots should fit like dress shoes or sneakers.
The general Red Wing recommendation to downsize 1/2 a size is based on the assumption that one's feet is normal width, i.e. a D width. Where one is below a D width, they might consider downsizing a full size or even better, look for another brand. E or EE size width should most probably not downsize at all.
Fact is most work boots and the GT is no different usually is made to be slightly larger and it is very normal for the heel to slip just a little until they are fully broken in. I went to a Red Wing store and they had me on a brannock scale. Boy did I get an education!
Amongst the measurements taken, include the length from the back of the heel to the ball of your feet. This length is probably the best gauge of whether a boot fits or not, i.e the widest part of the boot should correspond to the widest part of the foot (where the ball of the feet is). If it does fit, then the amount of extra toe space in the front is not a major issue. If it does not match, you will be better off with another pair, perhaps an iron ranger in an EE width. Unfortunately, Red Wings and in particular the GTs are not really made for everyone.
Yes - my issue was that the heel felt like it had a reasonable amount of slippage with a size 9, which was too tight in the toe width and length for me. Trying on a 9.5 the length and width felt pretty good, but there was too much heel slippage for my liking, even when the boot was laced quite tight. I'm not sure if this would change after breaking them in or not, but for the price I didn't want to risk it.
For reference, I tried on a pair of Frye Brando's in size 10D and they seemed to fit much better. Didn't pull the trigger on them though as I wasn't totally sold on the style of the boot...