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**The Official Shoe Care Thread: Tutorials, Photos, etc.**

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Mr. Moo, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    You've "got it in one."

    Your advice, as far as it goes, is prudent and acceptable (although it doesn't address the loose topline issue) ...and after the fact. Mine is (or tries to be) always before the fact--to lay down a base of knowledge so that such mistakes as buying a shoe a bit longer to accommodate a wide forepart is never an automatic impulse. Or acceptable option.

    Nine times out of ten, if people know beforehand what's proper fit, and good leather, and best practices, the shoes they bring to you will be easier to return to their original beauty and a pleasure to work on.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014
  2. Nick V.

    Nick V. Well-Known Member

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    In most cases when you use either of the devices mentioned they will tighten up the topline. How much? It varies.
    As you know I see some top high-grades on a daily basis. It always blows my mind when a customer brings in a new pair of shoes that cost $1500.00 or more and he has tongue pads slapped in them. Then again there are some with such difficult feet to fit that no RTW shoe will be a proper fit. In those cases it's use the OTC devices to improve the fit/feel or have a pair of shoes custom made.
    Not all of them can afford that.
     
  3. mimo

    mimo Well-Known Member

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    @niakulah , a shopping tip on Loake if I may: whether you get the Indian-made L1 range or the more expensive ones, the last is everything. I find the 26 last very generous, and it's widely (no pun intended!) available in G fittings. It's also a very attractive soft chisel toe that works well as a dress shoe or a casual one. I have a suede oxford and a tan leather boot on that last.

    Grenson is another maker that has generous G-fitted lasts, a bit more expensive considering most of their shoes (the G2 range) are made in India, but I have a pair of their boots and they do the job. The leather is more likely CG than Loake's and a bit plasticky.

    Church's commonly do a "H" fitting, though their lasts are quite elongated to begin with, their calf leather (not the polished one) is very nice and moulds well to the foot when broken in. Herring Shoes have a good selection, and service.

    Alternatively, you have good old Allen Edmonds with their massive range of EEE fittings - even in the Shoe Bank.

    I also have this bad habit of buying shoes half a size up. I admit it. I'm weaning myself off it slowly - waiting for some more "proper" sized shoes at the end of the month. :)
     
  4. niakulah

    niakulah Member

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    Thanks gents. Good advice all around.

    DWF, your comment on making the heel liner thick enough implies that cobblers can custom-make them? That's news to me, as the ones I see sold in stores are not nearly thick enough to be of help. I will ask my cobbler!
     
  5. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    Yes, we/I did when I was doing repair regularly. It just depends on the thickness of the leather being added. But any thickness moves the foot forward...again, displacing the joint/treadline of the foot. All these after-the-fact remedies are fundamentally desperate attempts trying to make a bad situation less bad...they cannot correct the problem nor are they entirely benign or physiologically neutral.

    They are "cobbled together" solutions, no disrespect intended. Sometimes that's all you got to go with. But the better solution is not to dig yourself into the hole in the first place.

    --
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014
  6. Nick V.

    Nick V. Well-Known Member

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    Fair enough but...what does one do when they truly have a difficult foot to fit regardless of the various lasts offered by various RTW makers? I see it quite often. In most cases they can not afford to have there entire rotation custom made.
     
  7. sacafotos

    sacafotos Well-Known Member

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    With shoe trees, do I want a slightly larger shoe tree or one that can slip as far up the toe box as possible?
     
  8. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    I understand your concern. But let me ask the obvious..."what does one do when they" have diabetes? Or pes cavis? Or a serious chrome allergy? What if they are born with one leg shorter than the other?

    Do you throw more sugar at diabetes? Or insulin? Is a crutch a better answer than a shoe that compensates for a short leg?

    I'm not making fun or making light of any condition...everyone has their own handicap in one way or the other. A person needs to address that issue as best they can. Sometimes that means that they don't, or can't, have a "rotation." It's my belief that one really good fitting pair of shoes is better than twenty that don't fit. And probably less expensive, esp. in the long run.

    It doesn't always have to be bespoke but when everything else falls short the least viable, the least rational, answer is not another misfit with expedient and largely ineffective gimmicks or stop-gap contrivances trying to compensate for fundamentally inappropriate choices.

    You can jam a square peg in a round hole but that doesn't make it logical or make it a fit.

    The thing is...and I don't mean this as a criticism (of anyone) but rather as a way of looking at things..."the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again...expecting a different result."
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014
  9. Nick V.

    Nick V. Well-Known Member

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    That's one way of looking at it and practical in most circumstances.
    I have a frequent customer that loves to dress up for business. He can't wear any U.S. made shoe because of how there lasts match the configuration of his foot structure. He normally wears E.G.'s. He decided to have a custom made pair of shoes from a top maker in the U.K. When the fitter came to N.Y. He explained the whole process to him. They began taking measurements and sketching his foot. They made 4 pair of mock shoes. Eventually closing the real pair. He still couldn't wear them. They started over. He kept me informed during the process (which took nearly 2 years). Eventually he commented to me that while he was impressed with the treatment and ambition the company had for a proper fit it must have cost them 8K to get those shoes on his feet. I told him in retail terms.....more. In the end he appreciated the efforts and personnel attention of the company but, he still wound up with a pair of shoes that still had some "hot spots". I might add that the maker is very reputable and has been for decades. There least expensive RTW style retails for about $1500.00. All the dimensions that you mention maybe correct in theory but may not apply in every case. Sometimes you have to throw the baby out with the wash water.
    In this case the Guy wants/needs at least a nominal rotation to satisfy his business needs. For him the more the better. Should he consider other alternatives?
     
  10. Munky

    Munky Well-Known Member

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    But Nick, the case you quote is an 'outlier'. It is hard to imagine that too many other people have the problems that this poor guy had - if any.
     
  11. Nick V.

    Nick V. Well-Known Member

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    No question about that. I chose a severe case to make a point. There are many others that have less severe issues but severe enough that they simply can not get a proper fit from a RTW shoe.
     
  12. Roger la Rock

    Roger la Rock Well-Known Member

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    Believe it or don't, some people are blessed with feet like this.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2014
  13. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    Some people have foot problems that are so severe they can never be comfortable...not in this life. There's just no way around that. The chances are that Nick's customer can have a rotation of 100 pairs of shoes and none of them will feel good as long as he is standing or walking in them.

    Since my recent "episode," I have some neuropathy in my feet--creating "hot spots." Otherwise my feet are healthy. The answer is not to buy shoes that don't fit or are deliberately misfit, for one reason or another. Wearing shoes that don't fit can break down the structure of the foot such that additional problems are created which are far more consequential and severe.

    Little is gained if you end up with feet that are unhealthy and unable to support your weight properly... and, compounding all that, you still have hot spots.

    What profiteth it a man if he gains relief from his hot spots but loses his metatarsal arch?

    When a person finds themselves in a hole, the wisest course of action is to stop digging.

    --
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2014
  14. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    Without additional information, it is difficult to comment with any certainty or confidence, but I suspect that feet like that are the result of a lifetime of mis-fits. Or poorly constructed shoes. It could be a birth defect or a genetic abnormality, of course. But feet that deform easily are themselves the result of genetic abnormalities or weaknesses. For example, women develop all kinds of foot deformities from wearing high heeled shoes--shoes that don't properly support the waist/arch of the foot or respect the foot's structure and function which, ultimately, is the even distribution of body weight during walking and in all kinds of terrain. High heeled shoes universally change and distort the foot's ability to fulfill its function...often irreversibly. What most people don't realize is that this kind of damage takes place over years and years--like the foundations of a tall building that has been built on shifting sands or to specifications that just can't support the weight (think medieval cathedrals) --eventually you start seeing cracks and other deformities. Similarly.... --
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2014
  15. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Well-Known Member

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    I think there is two things at play when it comes to wearing RTW shoes, or even bespoke. The first is the customer's tolerance for rubbing, or digging into the foot, or whatever, and second the expectation assumed when going bespoke. Certain people have very low tolerances for any sort of discomfort no matter how minor it may be. If they feel anything, they complain. Essentially they are whiney wusses. I think mostly this is because of our sneaker culture here in America. Somebody having worn sneakers their whole life and they are in search for a dress shoe that shrouds their foot in a plush environment. Their feet have been coddled for decades and thus ruined. I have come across many people who go bespoke and still complain about rubs, or whatnot. The fact is the shoe is made of leather, leather has to bend and move with your foot. You are always going to feel it on your foot. Now, I wore "dress" shoes of sorts very often when I was growing up (I was a little fop even as a child) and I don't think it is coincidental that I prefer a close fitting shoe. Recently I got a pair of sneakers to wear in situations where I would be irresponsible to wear anything else. It bothers me that they feel "big" even in my size. I feel nothing, no support and it is odd to me. I actually feel louche and sloppy in them. I'm a weirdo. Anyways, even if a shoe is rubbing me weird I usually get used to it in no time. Skin gets thicker and then it is perfect, just give it a little time. Also, shoes don't always feel the exact same way each time. These humid days here in New York shoes will rub where they didn't in the spring just do to feet swelling from the humidity. Don't even get me started if I eat Chinese food!
     
    2 people like this.
  16. jssdc

    jssdc Well-Known Member

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    ^^^ Dude your new avatar is freaking me out
     
  17. Munky

    Munky Well-Known Member

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    Yes, Patrick, do reconsider your choice of avatar. You must have and older photo of you that is not quite so revolting. [​IMG]
     
  18. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    I don't know, older photos aren't always the answer--I suspect Patrick is about 10 years old in that one. It boggles the imagination to consider what an up-to-date photo might reveal.

    :crackup:
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  19. daveathall

    daveathall Member

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    I also would like some advice on this please, I take a size 8.5, so which would be best a shoetree size 8 or size 9?
     
  20. Nick V.

    Nick V. Well-Known Member

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    Good points by DW and PB.
    I noticed something many years ago. Guys will often tell me "these are the most comfortable shoes I ever owned. Do what ever it takes".
    It's very, very rare that I hear a Woman say that. Why? Because they buy for style and color. Comfort and fit are low on their priority list.
    Often a Woman (usually mid-late 30ish) will complain to me my "shoes are killing me". I think my foot changed shape.
    I take her (normally high stiletto) shoe put it on the floor and tell her put her bare foot next to that shoe and compare shapes.
    One is the one that God created the other is what a designer created and convinced her to wear. Of course she is going to have discomfort putting that foot in that shoe. It's usually at that point where she starts to become more concerned about fit and comfort.
    By that time the damage is done.
     

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