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Are dress shoes worth maiming yourself for?

pkincy

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I managed reasonably with shoes until my mid-40s when my feet literally sacked out and I went up a full size and my Roman foot shape really messed things up. I can't tell you how many Edward Green, C&J, Paul Stuart Grensons I had to get rid of.

Haven't been to Budapest since 1998, but I do recall liking it. I'm assuming you get to keep a copy of your last for future orders with bootmakers closer to the US?
Once the last is made it is kept at Vass. And you can reorder off of that last.
 

dieworkwear

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If you don't wear suits or sport coats very often, you can also try Alden's unlined chukkas. As others have mentioned, Alden makes pretty wide lasts (I like them). The unlined chukkas may have the extra benefit of being softer and more forgiving.

I think the style can be worn mostly all year round except for the colder winter months. In the summer, you can wear them with white jeans and a plaid shirt, maybe with an olive field jacket. The look is kind of J. Crew, but in a good way. In the fall, you can do blue jeans, five-pocket cords, or chinos, then a thick sweater and a topcoat. I find the boots do well in either dark brown or tan suede, but I wear my tan suede ones more than the dark browns.

In some very specific situations, I think you can also wear them with a sport coat, but I mostly use them with casualwear.


snuff-suede-chukka-left_1024x1024.jpeg
 

Cherokeepilot

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Because of my strange fitting feet, I wear Alden shoes and boots for dress, work, also exercise. I've always had foot issues with my feet since I was young. Blisters, ingrown toenails, split nails, blisters??? did I mention blisters that had to have injections. Learned the hard way how to care for my feet from some nationally noted doctors who took care of pro athletes' foot problems. The Allen Edmonds are good if you can figure out the fitting sizes. However, I've had an easier time fitting the Alden sizes by purchasing with certain dealers for Alden who will accommodate some of us folks with strange feet.
 

comrade

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At least in San Francisco, the Alden company-owned shop is
(was) staffed by the Footwear equivalent of Seinfeld's
"Soup Nazis" No fun to deal with when one wears 3E+ shoes,
which they hardly stock.
 

aj_style

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At least in San Francisco, the Alden company-owned shop is
(was) staffed by the Footwear equivalent of Seinfeld's
"Soup Nazis" No fun to deal with when one wears 3E+ shoes,
which they hardly stock.
“No shoes for you! 50 years!”
 

thedose

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I have low volume and narrow feet coupled with the Roman toe shape as seen in the illustration below. Total nightmare when it comes to dress shoes. Not sure if others have the accursed Roman foot, but all ears if you have any suggestions. I've had less painful "luck" with vintage English shoes, but they still cause problems with middle toe jamming. Odds are I will have to go bespoke and hop on a plane to Europe. I have somewhat jokingly considered surgery...

View attachment 1583066
Thanks for sharing the image, very interesting reading this -- I had no idea that there was an actual name for our toe shapes, and also very curious to discover that I've got greek toes! :teach:
 

jasonmarshalljazz

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I went through the same issues years ago have since settled on the fact that foot health is currently outside the purview of mens footwear in general. Wellness as an industry is likewise completely void of sartorial acumen. Classic mens's last shapes, even the rounded ones, are quite destructive to the human foot. Add to that a heel and a thick sole to prevent proprioception and you have a recipe which undermines foot functionality altogether. Obviously humans can adapt but for optimal functionality a "foot shaped" shoe with a wide toe box and flexible sole should be worn. As the owner of a shoe collection over over 100 (not including trainer) pairs I fully understand what a departure foot health needs can cause for the sartorially inclined. At one point I was even an ambassador for allen edmonds and featured in their catalog. Barefoot/ minimalist running changed everything for me about shoes. Right now this: https://ahinsashoes.com/casual/ananda-comfort-brown-casual-shoes
is one of the more elegant solutions to the OP problem.
 

aj_style

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I went through the same issues years ago have since settled on the fact that foot health is currently outside the purview of mens footwear in general. Wellness as an industry is likewise completely void of sartorial acumen. Classic mens's last shapes, even the rounded ones, are quite destructive to the human foot. Add to that a heel and a thick sole to prevent proprioception and you have a recipe which undermines foot functionality altogether. Obviously humans can adapt but for optimal functionality a "foot shaped" shoe with a wide toe box and flexible sole should be worn. As the owner of a shoe collection over over 100 (not including trainer) pairs I fully understand what a departure foot health needs can cause for the sartorially inclined. At one point I was even an ambassador for allen edmonds and featured in their catalog. Barefoot/ minimalist running changed everything for me about shoes. Right now this: https://ahinsashoes.com/casual/ananda-comfort-brown-casual-shoes
is one of the more elegant solutions to the OP problem.
Yikes I think I can make AE work hehehe. Kidding aside, your post is on point.
 

darkcharger

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At least in San Francisco, the Alden company-owned shop is
(was) staffed by the Footwear equivalent of Seinfeld's
"Soup Nazis" No fun to deal with when one wears 3E+ shoes,
which they hardly stock.
My experience wasn't as bad as yours but definitely felt like I was being upsold and they desperately talked down other alternatives like MTO or bespoke. I have the same type of feet and agree that they only had a few select models that were 3E.
 

Andy57

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At least in San Francisco, the Alden company-owned shop is
(was) staffed by the Footwear equivalent of Seinfeld's
"Soup Nazis" No fun to deal with when one wears 3E+ shoes,
which they hardly stock.
Goodness me! My experience has always been quite the opposite.
 

joshuagb

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I doubt the OP has ever tried Allen Edmonds. Some of their shoes, like the Park Avenue, come in the full range of widths, which would solve the heel slippage issue.

I think my feet are very similar to the OP's, just longer. In Allen Edmonds, I'm a 13C. I have slender heels and long toes, and a fairly medium width under the ball of the foot.

The OP's drawings are pretty inaccurate from the standpoint of how men's dress shoes are actually shaped. The tapering is more on the outside of the shoe, whereas the inside of the shoe (the side of the big toe) is more linear. This works for many people because the tapering happens where their little toes are. Some people even talk about this "banana" shape on here. For geometry nerds, it's more of an acute right/left angle triangle as opposed to an equilateral.

I'm in the US, but I pretty much exclusively wear British and Mallorcan shoes. While I measure 13c/d on the Brannock, the Allen Edmonds 13C works pretty much perfectly. I don't wear Allen Edmonds because I think British shoes look better. So instead I wear British size 12 medium. This would roughly equate to the Allen Edmonds 13D, which is too big for my narrower heel. As such, I throw a Pedag leather tongue pad on all of the shoes and a half insole like the Pedag Vivo. This basically works, looks pretty good, and is comfortable. My long toes have plenty of room.
 

Boggis

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The OP's drawings are pretty inaccurate from the standpoint of how men's dress shoes are actually shaped. The tapering is more on the outside of the shoe, whereas the inside of the shoe (the side of the big toe) is more linear. This works for many people because the tapering happens where their little toes are. Some people even talk about this "banana" shape on here.
I disagree that the drawings are inaccurate, maybe slightly exaggerated to make a point, but broadly representative of the issue. Whilst few toe shapes are perfectly symmetrical, most are far more symmetrical than the actual taper of human toes.

By way of illustration here's an image of the insole outline of a pair of shoes made for me, drawn over an outline of my foot.

Screenshot_20210329-221934_Gallery.jpg


By classic shoe making measures, these shoes "fit" in that the width across the ball joint is perfect, the lenght from heel to ball is perfect, no heel slip and perfect lacing gap. Apparently 10-12mm is a standard allowance for the distance from the end of the toe to the end of the shoe, these shoes have an ample 15mm. However you can see the taper of the toe box is far more symmetrical than my fairly standard looking toes! As a consequence I cannot wear these shoes.

You're right that I've not tried Allen Edmonds, they're difficult to get in the UK. What Mallorcan & English makers/lasts have you had success with? These are definitely easier for me to get my hands on.
 

joshuagb

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By way of illustration here's an image of the insole outline of a pair of shoes made for me, drawn over an outline of my foot.

By classic shoe making measures, these shoes "fit" in that the width across the ball joint is perfect, the lenght from heel to ball is perfect, no heel slip and perfect lacing gap. Apparently 10-12mm is a standard allowance for the distance from the end of the toe to the end of the shoe, these shoes have an ample 15mm. However you can see the taper of the toe box is far more symmetrical than my fairly standard looking toes! As a consequence I cannot wear these shoes.
So from looking at your tracing of your foot and shoe insole, the shoe appears to be probably 2 sizes too small for the outline of the foot that you included. Who made that shoe for you after you gave them your measurements? Sorry if I missed you talking about it earlier.

Here’s a photo of the Barker 386 last. I drew basically what a foot should look like inside of it. This illustrated fit would not be bunion-producing (which is really when we get down to it, the problem with shoes that are too small).

04959BFF-0716-4B89-9725-69C3224E7FDC.jpeg
 

clee1982

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I disagree that the drawings are inaccurate, maybe slightly exaggerated to make a point, but broadly representative of the issue. Whilst few toe shapes are perfectly symmetrical, most are far more symmetrical than the actual taper of human toes.

By way of illustration here's an image of the insole outline of a pair of shoes made for me, drawn over an outline of my foot.

View attachment 1583887

By classic shoe making measures, these shoes "fit" in that the width across the ball joint is perfect, the lenght from heel to ball is perfect, no heel slip and perfect lacing gap. Apparently 10-12mm is a standard allowance for the distance from the end of the toe to the end of the shoe, these shoes have an ample 15mm. However you can see the taper of the toe box is far more symmetrical than my fairly standard looking toes! As a consequence I cannot wear these shoes.

You're right that I've not tried Allen Edmonds, they're difficult to get in the UK. What Mallorcan & English makers/lasts have you had success with? These are definitely easier for me to get my hands on.
I don’t get that drawing either, seems way too short for you
 

sargeinaz

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I don’t think it’s a debate as to whether or not men’s dress shoes are bad for human feet. It’s obvious they are. The human foot is widest at the toes and narrowest at the heel. Any dress shoe or most sneakers come to a point at the toe. Whether it’s a sharp point or not, it’s a point which is not how a human foot is shaped.

If you go look at the feet of people who spend their lives barefoot or mostly barefoot, they look nothing like feet spent in shoes someone’s whole life.

Dress shoes and modern shoes look the way they do because we’ve accepted them as aesthetically pleasing. Many people wear them without issues, many have issues. Some big like plantar fasciitis and bunyons and some small like mild discomfort. I get plantar fasciitis and my 2 small toes curl inward of a toe box is too small. I can get away with certain shoes if they have a very round toe like a desert boot or aldens modified last can work too or some driving shoes since they’re so soft and unlined. Otherwise, most shoes I can’t wear no matter how much I want to. I consider most people lucky who can wear shoes like Alden tassels and so
Many C&J and EG and StC shoes.
 

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