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Are dress shoes worth maiming yourself for?

vdubiv

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As others have echoed here, it just seems that you are not wearing the right sized shoe, either they are to short, or not wide enough, or the last doesn't accommodate your foot shape. I'm assuming we're talking GoodYear Welted shoes and not something you bought in the Mall. If that is the case then it is very possible you won't be able to buy shoe's from certain company's because their last's just don't work for your foot type. I just recently moved 3 pairs of shoes onto a new home because of sizing issues while trying to find what works for me with Allen Edmonds.

Best thing you can do like others have said, if you have access to a Alden, Allen Edmonds, ect. near you is to go in get sized properly by them and try different shoes on different Lasts and see what works. This forum is a good place for advice for those of us who are blindly ordering off the internet, however, no two peoples feet are exactly the same, so even if we both say we wear the same sized shoe's what works for you may not work for me.
 

TimothyF

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You are based in the UK, where there's no shortage of bespoke. Sometimes the only way to get what we specifically want is to pay for it fully.
 

dieworkwear

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How much are you spending on shoes and how many pairs of "high end" shoes do you have?
 

Boggis

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You are based in the UK, where there's no shortage of bespoke. Sometimes the only way to get what we specifically want is to pay for it fully.
Starting to feel like I might need to go down that road, bit of a mental hurdle though to overcome to allow myself to drop £3k+ on a single pair of shoes. The other alternative route is to give up on "quality" shoes and go back to lightweight high street brands that are typically sausage or baguette shaped. Honestly never had this problem before I started buying decent shoes.


How much are you spending on shoes and how many pairs of "high end" shoes do you have?
Not sure I've got any of what some around here would consider "high end", but I'm typically buying in the £350 to £450 ball park. Got about 8 pairs including boots, two of which I basically cant wear so I intend to flog, one is comfortable enough to wear everyday, the remainder all have various issues but typically are simultaneously too tight in the toes and too loose everywhere else.
 

Boggis

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I think this image captures the issue. The foot is in the "correct" size shoe, I.e. the width across the ball is wide enough, and the length of the heel to ball of the shoe lines up with the foot. But the taper of the toe box is far too aggressive, forcing the toes inwards. Most shoes I look at taper in pretty much straight away from the ball, forcing the toes inwards.
Screenshot_20210325-170703_Chrome.jpg
 

dieworkwear

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Starting to feel like I might need to go down that road, bit of a mental hurdle though to overcome to allow myself to drop £3k+ on a single pair of shoes. The other alternative route is to give up on "quality" shoes and go back to lightweight high street brands that are typically sausage or baguette shaped. Honestly never had this problem before I started buying decent shoes.

Not sure I've got any of what some around here would consider "high end", but I'm typically buying in the £350 to £450 ball park. Got about 8 pairs including boots, two of which I basically cant wear so I intend to flog, one is comfortable enough to wear everyday, the remainder all have various issues but typically are simultaneously too tight in the toes and too loose everywhere else.
That's a pretty reasonable expenditure. I think some people here have dozens of shoes in that price range. If you were spending that kind of money, then I think it might be better to just go bespoke.

I think it would be better to just get fitted in a store, as others have suggested. But, depending on your wardrobe, you may not even need these kinds of shoes. If you're not wearing suits or sport coats, then I think it's fine to shop elsewhere. You don't really need the kind of shoes discussed on this side of the forum if you don't wear a tailored jacket.
 

darkcharger

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There are also semi-bespoke options available out there. I speak from experience as I have notoriously wide feed with much narrower ankles with high insteps. Buying shoes that even fit has been a lifelong challenge. I have found some success with specific models from Alden and Allen Edmonds.

Saint Crispin's offers shoes at ~1200 euros and they will make a modified last for you. Certainly not cheap but well below the 3K price range mentioned. They provide online instructions and will send you a trial pair that they can then work with you thru email/video chat.

Good luck
 

Boggis

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That's a pretty reasonable expenditure. I think some people here have dozens of shoes in that price range. If you were spending that kind of money, then I think it might be better to just go bespoke.

I think it would be better to just get fitted in a store, as others have suggested. But, depending on your wardrobe, you may not even need these kinds of shoes. If you're not wearing suits or sport coats, then I think it's fine to shop elsewhere. You don't really need the kind of shoes discussed on this side of the forum if you don't wear a tailored jacket.
While I like to think having dozens of pairs isn't on the agenda, certainly not a current goal, only a few short years ago I was happy enough with one pair of shoes and one pair of trainers, so who knows.

I guess for me quality shoes have a practical element as well as a fashion element. I mentioned dress shoes in the title but regret it slightly as really I mean
good quality non-cemented shoes. It rains here, a lot, and I've been enjoying the smug satisfaction of dry feet since I switched from high street brands. Maybe also it's just stories we tell ourselves to justify buying nice things but I also think it's a more ethical thing to buy shoes made in a 1st world country with 1st world labour laws, rather than a sweatshop somewhere. I like the "sustainability" / "buy it for life" angle as well, of getting a pair of shoes that are resolable and legit should last a decade or more. So there's more to it than just considering whether my outfit warrants good shoes... as it probably doesn't most of the time.

I've twice been measured in store, and twice they pushed me towards far to small a shoe size as the UK makers just don't carry a variety of widths. Maybe once the pandemic is over I can head to the states & check out AE & Alden as per the suggestions. It just seems bizarre to me however that I need to fly to a different continent or go bespoke, when I live in a country with such a rich shoe making history!
 

'patanoster

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Boggis, just to chime in that I feel your pain, having similar shaped feet and struggling between sizes -- 8.5 if I want a non slippy heel but a bit of squished toe pain, or 9 if I want comfortable toes but a bit too much room in the heel, which inevitably aggravates my stupid achilles tendons (thank you, running).

Have you tried Trickers? So far, they have been the best of the RTW in that price bracket, for me. They obviously tend a bit more 'country' if you care about that sort of thing, but sounds like you are more in it for a well made shoe with a sounder supply chain than Clarks et al.
 

Boggis

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There are also semi-bespoke options available out there. I speak from experience as I have notoriously wide feed with much narrower ankles with high insteps. Buying shoes that even fit has been a lifelong challenge. I have found some success with specific models from Alden and Allen Edmonds.

Saint Crispin's offers shoes at ~1200 euros and they will make a modified last for you. Certainly not cheap but well below the 3K price range mentioned. They provide online instructions and will send you a trial pair that they can then work with you thru email/video chat.

Good luck
Yeah the MTO is a good shout, as I think quite a few of them do apapted lasts. I'm trying out a Hungarian maker at the moment, the trial shoe was basically perfect from heel to ball but absolutely crushed my toes! They're making a new trial shoe, and if they can nail the fit I'll probably be sending a lot of business their way due to my difficulties elsewhere to date. Just a little nervous given how far wrong the toe box was on the first pair. If it doesn't work out I'll definitely try St.Crispins.

Boggis, just to chime in that I feel your pain, having similar shaped feet and struggling between sizes -- 8.5 if I want a non slippy heel but a bit of squished toe pain, or 9 if I want comfortable toes but a bit too much room in the heel, which inevitably aggravates my stupid achilles tendons (thank you, running).

Have you tried Trickers? So far, they have been the best of the RTW in that price bracket, for me. They obviously tend a bit more 'country' if you care about that sort of thing, but sounds like you are more in it for a well made shoe with a sounder supply chain than Clarks et al.
Yeah sounds like you're cursed with the same foot shape as me. I've not tried Trickers yet, not a super fan of heavy brogueing unless it's on an Oxford, usually prefer more plain shoes. But honestly at this stage if they fit well I'm sure I'd grow to love them. Any particular lasts / models you've had success with?
 

comrade

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Nothing is guaranteed. I had a pair of dress shoes made MTM by Maftei in
Vienna. I was measured in the shop and a pair of my shoes that fit well were
also used as a model . What arrived two months later bore only passing
resemblance to the style, and I could tell when I opened the box that the shoes
would not fit. I was correct. Not even close. Fortunately, I received a full refund.
 
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WhereNext

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If you're talking about that price range, I'd throw J. Fitzpatrick in the mix. I know they used to have a physical presence in the UK (not sure about now, but that seems easily checked), they have a number of different lasts, and they not only have a number of RTW shoes/boots in that price range, but the MTO options are extensive and would only add about 150 GBP to the base price.
I don't think I've had quite the struggle you have, but I did find many dress shoes would seem to fit but then irritate the nerve on my right foot's pinkie toe; so even if I didn't feel like my toes were being smushed, the shoes would cause unbearable pain in an hour or two. I have found two of Justin's lasts (Justin is the guy who own J Fitzpatrick) that don't cause that problem at all (LPB is a soft chisel and TMG which is a rounder/more generous toe box so might be even more relevant to you). Not stake in them other than I'm a very happy customer.
 

Braid

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I've been struggling for some time to find good fitting shoes. Everytime I get enough room in the toes, I have excess volume elsewhere I.e. heel slip, derby shoes that need to be laced closed, creasing across the vamp etc.

If I get the fit elsewhere right, I typically end up with crushed toes causing ingrown toenails and nerve pain that lingers long after the shoe is removed. Typically I aim for some sort of mid ground compromise where I have a pair of shoes with both issues but neither significant enough to make the shoes unwearable.

I've been talking to a few MTO makers recently, sending foot measurements and they continually recommend sizes that are smaller than my "compromise" size. I've never had a pair at this size I could actually wear, they're always murder on the toes.

I've also received a trial pair from one MTO maker using an adapted last, and despite fitting near perfectly from heel to ball they crushed the toes more than any other pair I've ever worn. I literally couldn't walk in them. The maker is making a new trial pair, but he commented that most peoples toes are very flexible and would be fine with what had been originally allowed.

So this brings me to my question, do y'all wear shoes that fit like this?
View attachment 1580745
Definitely not normal to have the toes crushed like that. Seems you have difficult feet have you considered getting a wider fit/last and install a heel pad to reduce slippage?
 

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