Break-in and scraping off skin

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Complexo, Jun 17, 2017.

  1. Complexo

    Complexo Member

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    I recently bought a pair of C&J Lowndes, 348 last. They fit me well I think. And when I press down on my lower foot and the upper leather, I can feel my feet just underneath the upper leather.

    However, yesterday I did my first real walk in them. After 1,5 km/1 mile, it started hurting though. I have marked the spot on the attached picture. The shoes have scraped off some skin there. Basically it's when I walk and the upper leather flexes. Is this normal? Can I expect the problem to resolve itself as the leather gets "breaked in" or?

    Thank you​

    Feet.jpg
     
  2. tlsmith

    tlsmith Member

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    I've had this issue with a few pairs of shoes. It usually resolves itself with wear, but I've had the problem persist with shell shoes as the shell does not really want to adjust/conform.
     
  3. jrd617

    jrd617 Senior member

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    This is NOT normal and is unlikely to go away. I can walk miles in my best fitting shoes without any pain or blisters or skin scraping off (ouch)

    The 348 last is quite chiseled and has a lower toebox. You may require a different size/width fitting/last. Just because you can technically "fit" your foot into a shoe doesn't make it a good fit.

    I would sell your shoes on the B&S. You could recover a fair amount if they are in good condition. Then get another shoe that fits better. Check out the C&J store in NYC if you can. Have the measure you with a Brannock device and mention your issue with the instep/toebox laceration.

    One of C&J's most generous fitting shoes is the Radstock, which I own. G fitting in the 341 last. They have lots of other stuff though. https://www.crockettandjones.com/radstock-darkbrown-calf-g/

    Hope this helps
     
  4. Complexo

    Complexo Member

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    That's bad news. I live in Denmark and flew to London to visit the C&J store. They found the 348 to be the best fit for me. I have a low instep on the left, so I have to use a tongue pad as well.

    I've attached a picture of the fold causing the problem. I took it while the shoe was fully bended as if I was walking. As can be seen, it's not the toe box itself that goes against the spot, but of course the box makes the leather infront of it less flexible.

    WP_20170617_17_10_10_Rich.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
  5. Belfaborac

    Belfaborac Well-Known Member

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    There really is absolutely nothing unusual about this. I've had the same issue with many pairs of shoes through the years and every time the problem has resolved itself. It will do so very quickly of you do what I do:

    1. Put a piece of wet kitchen paper folded to an appropriate size on top of the problem area and cover it with cling film.

    2. Sit down, take your socks off and stick two or three layers of sports tape on your toes where the shoes chafe.

    3. Once done, put you socks back on, peel off cling film and wet paper, put your shoes on and go for a long(ish) walk. The wet leather will stretch and mold to your feet much faster that when dry and by the time you're home again the problem will very likely have resolved itself completely. If it's not entirely gone, just rinse and repeat.

    This method can be used on any area of the shoe and my routine on receiving a new pair of shoes is invariably to put the shoes on and take a short walk around the immediate neighbourhood in order to identify probable or potential problem areas. If any are found I then apply the above procedure and that's the end of the problem. I've done this for well over 25 years, to a great many pairs of shoes, and have yet to encounter a problem which couldn't be easily resolved.
     
  6. ThomGault

    ThomGault Senior member

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    Your local cobbler couldn't stretch them in the tight area?
     
  7. Complexo

    Complexo Member

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    I had actually thought of trying with sports tape going forward, and I was in contact with C&J who suggested taking the break in period in stages. I will definitely incorporate your tip with the water on the area as well.

    Thanks a lot for your input!

    ThomGault, That's very likely he could. I will give that a try if the above isn't enough to make the difference. Thanks for the advice!
     
  8. Belfaborac

    Belfaborac Well-Known Member

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    Best of luck, I'm sure the problem will be resolved in short order and without any further suffering. Good quality shoe leather is a very pliable material, especially when damp, and unless a pair of shoes is significantly wrong in shape or size it can generally be gently persuaded into providing an excellent fit with a minimum of effort.

    The thought expressed above that any pair which isn't a perfect fit from the get go must be given up on betrays a fundamental ignorance of the simple fact that no two people's feet are identical and therefore will also initially interact differently with any given pair of shoes. I own many pairs which fit me perfectly out of the box and many more which did not, but as of right now there's really no difference in the comfort they provide.

    I will add that although having a pair of shoes stretched by your cobbler is a perfectly viable option, and one I've used myself, I consider my own way to be inherently superior. A cobbler will stretch your shoes to fit his equipment, while the simple procedure set out above will stretch or mould them to your own particular feet. The difference is hopefully obvious.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  9. jrd617

    jrd617 Senior member

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    @Belfaborac what you are suggesting sounds masochistic

    There is no such thing as a "perfectly-fitting" RTW shoe, but makers like C&J and Alden make enough different lasts and widths that there is such a thing as a shoe that will fit that will most ideally fit a person's foot.

    No one should be having their skin scraped off by a tight instep like that. The OP has not picked the correct last or width. You should not have to stretch the hell out of a shoe at the beginning of its lifetime. It should be stiff in the sole a little, but not be cutting skin off of you

    For instance, I know my foot won't work with the Aberdeen last from Alden. The Copley last is just an OK fit. The best fit is probably Barrie. There's no way around that fact.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Belfaborac

    Belfaborac Well-Known Member

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    This has nothing at all to do with a tight instep, something I'm intimately familiar with given that I have a high instep myself. Rather it is a matter of the interaction between the size of the toe cap on the Lowndes and the length of Complexo's feet and toes. A smaller or larger toe cap would in all probability have caused no problem, or possibly just shifted the location of the problem, but either way there is zero reason why the shoes ought to be given up simply because of a trifling issue like this.

    I own at least four pairs myself, possibly more, which presented with this exact problem on arrival and which now fit me perfectly. This required at most an hour and a half to accomplish, which I for one consider eminently preferable to selling or exchanging the shoes.
     
  11. daizawaguy

    daizawaguy Senior member

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    Has happened to me in the past, and its best to go slowly with the break-in. As long as the shoe fits well in other places, it could go away as the shoe `moulds` to your foot, but it is likely to take time, depending on the severity. I had this on a pair of GG recently on the left side, and it resolved after one wear, and I was very lucky here. As I say, its best to go slowly, or you may develop hard skin on your foot, and your shoes will be your enemy. Think about socks too, and possibly how shoe trees can help. Lots of variables, but take it one by one. Perhaps take a weeks break too. Best wishes.
     
  12. MrUnderwood

    MrUnderwood Well-Known Member

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    @Belfoborac, just curious - with your method does it mean that you have to apply e.g. sportstape every time you use the shoes - if that sorts the problem area - or just temporarily then you are breaking the shoe in?
     
  13. Belfaborac

    Belfaborac Well-Known Member

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    Only on the first walk, otherwise it would hardly constitute a fix. The point is that a single long(ish) walk (I tend to take about an hour long stroll) in shoes which have had the problem area(s) thoroughly dampened accomplishes the same level of break in at once as any number of shorter trips would otherwise do. With none of the associated agony.

    This isn't an original idea of mine by the way, but simply an adaptation of a common method used when I served in the military. On entering national service we were issued with leather boots which were very stiff and entirely unlined. To avoid weeks or months of agonising break in the boots were put in a bath tub filled with warm water and left for an hour or so while we all taped our feet all over. After wearing the boots all day the fit was excellent and all problems were gone.

    A soak in a bath tub is obviously not something one would want to subject a nice (and expensive) pair of shoes to, but like I said before, the adapted procedure set out above has worked for me without fail for more than 25 years.
     

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