- May 28, 2017
- Reaction score
Hi, and thanks for your reply.Your posts are fantastic btw - I always love reading them.
Going to give you my honest thoughts here -
People usually can finagle with the size of the 65-last enough that going up/down in length/width can definitely work, it's more a matter of what is optimal for you. I can wear the 65-last in 6.5E, 7D, 8B....I've tried 6EEE and that could "work" too. The fact that you went up 1 width instead of 2 is concern #1.
I've bought pairs of AE that are sort of tight in terms of volume but that have stretched out. I've never used any kind of stretcher or liquid like you showed. Stretching usually meant wearing thicker/heavier socks than normal and sort of toughing it out for a full day's wear, putting them away, then repeating like 2 more times. Sometimes this was miserable but it usually worked out. Mind you this was in my normal size. I have a pair of Jermyns that I know now, given all my experience with AE, were lasted partially wrong and the toebox on 1 shoe was cut too narrow. I took this pair to the AE store to have them "professionally stretched." This did virtually nothing in the end. They weren't noticably larger nor did they have to "return" to a previous shape. Was just a complete waste of time.
When you say they're barely wearable - in what way? The length is too short that it's hurting your heels? Instep? Other? Why the attachment to the Hickory? To me they look pretty similar to the Strandmok, no?
The 65 last is an oddball. My Brannock size is 13D, and that seems to be in fact the "least uncomfortable" size for me in the 65 last. AE_Ashley had me try a 12EEE a few years back, and the fit was nearly identical to the 13D--that's why I'm hoping to make the 12E work here with a little bit of stretching. (As an aside, it's too bad AE_Ashley is no longer with the company. I haven't found any CS reps with nearly her enthusiasm, her knowledge, nor her seeming ability to pull out of thin air a particular pair of discontinued shoes I'm hunting down.) Anyway, the Strand is far & away my favorite shoe design, and I suffer through the less-than-optimum fit because I like the look.
This particular pair of 12E in Hickory has now passed through my rigorous stretching bootcamp, and they feel ok when I'm walking in circles around the coffee table on the 6' x 9' area rug in the living room. Though my toes are no longer cramped or touching the fronts, there's just a weird sensation that my feet are sitting too far forward in the respective toe boxes. With the stretching, these don't feel all that different now from the aforementioned 12EEE I tried on a while ago. At some point I will bite the bullet and wear them to work. I only paid $150 and they are a first-quality, so it won't be the end of the world if they turn out to be too uncomfortable and I have to peddle them on the popular auction site.
I don't know why I'm so drawn to the Hickory. As soon as I happened upon what turned out to be a Hickory Strand photo on Reddit some 2-3 months ago, I immediately emailed the picture to Ashley saying, "Whatever this is, I must have it!" My wife agrees with you, though, in that the finish is nothing special; she also doesn't get why I have so many pairs of Strands in faintly different shades of brown. In fact, she's so bemused by my interest in the Hickory Strand that she pointed to my Walnut pair and told me to give one shoe to her and the other to our 7-yr-old daughter, and with a tin of black shoe polish, they could have a competition to see which of them could closer-approximate the Hickory finish I'm so enamored with.
I am aware of the similar Strandmok as you mentioned, but the shoe just isn't quite as streamlined as the Strand. Our friend Dabondo1 has a used pair in my size for sale, but the Dainite soles are just too worn-looking.