Some interesting developments are happening in the midst of my recent purchase of whiskey LHSs from Alden of DC. Hoping to get some feedback on some choices I'm going to be making. Here's the situation:
I ordered the whiskey LHS in a Van last from Kathy a couple days back. I was unsure about whether to go with the 8.5 or 9D. She erred on the side of TTS. The shoes came today and are lovely--but with one catch. The left shoe is arguably a couple cm longer than the right shoe. Both are marked 9D, so it's not a mismatched pair. The right shoe fits exactly the way I wanted a loafer to fit: snug, but not suffocating; enough room in the toe area; and no heel slippage whatsoever. The left shoe was a train wreck. My heel outright pops out of the shoe no matter how delicately I step or scrunch my toes in an attempt to hold onto the shoe.
I got on the phone with Kathy, who has graciously offered to not only mail me a set of tongue pads for the left shoe, but is also shipping (at no charge or deposit whatsoever) a 9C and a 9D in the Cigar LHS. I can't wait to see the UPS guy tomorrow, but here are some questions:
- have you guys ever used more than one tongue pad to offset a length issue (I understand the adage that "if the shoe fits, wear it" and vice versa, but I'm hoping that finding just the right amount of padding could keep my left heel in the shoe)? During lunch, I tried padding with a remnant of a heel pad some SA at Neiman Marcus gave me--sadly, to no avail. The heel pad, which I placed at the tongue area was thin and kept slipping (because I didn't want to permanently affix something to a shoe I may be returning).
Following are some pics of the length issue. (My apologies for the less-than-stellar-iphone-camera quality). I tried to line the shoes up as symmetrically as possible; I believe you can see how the left shoe just edges out the right shoe. (It's almost like someone used too large a shoe tree prior to sending them out)
- next question is about Whiskey vs Cigar shell. I feel "forced" to go with Cigar in light of the sizing issue, so it's hard to think about letting the Whiskey go. That said, I was on the fence between the two shells when I placed the original order with Kathy. Do you guys have a preference between Whiskey and Cigar shells? Which do you find more versatile? Which seems easier to maintain and keep nice looking?
- last question is about width and cordovan stretching. As I said, the right shoe in 9D van fits nicely. A 9C would likely have corrected the left heel slipping issue (I'm quite certain the left shoe is longer than the right, but am open to the possibility that I simply have two very different length feet). Obviously, there is no option to mix and match widths. I'm wondering (and I realize maybe I just need to try the damn shoes on) how much stretching or relaxing is likely to happen in the toe box or vamp if I end up going with the narrower pair. Will my right foot, which loved the 9D, end up feeling completely choked and blistery in the 9C? Will the 9C end up loosening somewhat? Would the answer be different if the shoes in question were calf rather than shell?
At the very least, this has been a lesson in being careful which retailer one attempts the long distance try-on with. Let me say unequivocally that Kathy has been more than a stand-up person about this whole endeavor. She has spent ample time on the phone with me, answering questions, theorizing about solutions. Her willingness to send out two pairs of shoes I haven't paid for while still deciding on the original pair is a testament to her putting customer service ahead of making quick sales. I heartily urge folks to call her.