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miggyramone

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The last is what defines the arch-support of the boot, not the model; this is especially confusing because you can choose which last you want on each model.

The semi dress is a 5 inch boot with no heel counter (as you say). The semi dress last has quite a pronounced arch-support and is arguably the most popular last White's offers. Lots of people are loving the MP's Barrie last too although that doesn't have quite such a pronounced arch I think.

So really, you've got a huge range of options at your disposal. I think you need to decide which last you want first and work from there.
Sorry, I figured it was a given I was referring to the Standard/55 last in regards to both the Semi Dress and Bounty Hunter. I realize now though, that you are right. The semi dress boot is available in 3 different lasts, last time I checked.
 

sambam

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As a long time White's wearer, I saw no change in overall quality after the buyout... people may have been looking for things to complain about and may have been more critical, but I did not see anything change.

According to @sambam the Japanese owners leave White's alone to keep doing what White's does best. The boots are still made by American workers in Spokane. In fact, if you look at the prices White's go for in Japan, as well as expectations from the Japanese market in general for handmade clothing, ABC Mart would have a fit if White's tried to lessen their quality or cut corners... Japan is not China or Vietnam when it comes to quality manufacturing.

What I have seen is that as White's moved into the fashion market the consumers became a little more picky about little details that a smokejumper, logger, construction worker, or farmer could not care less about... I myself have been guilty of this... but that is the nature of the fashion marketplace.
TL;DR: In my experience White's quality did not change after the buyout, but fashion customers may have gotten a little more picky... not to mention having the ability to share every detail of their new boots online to be obsessed about by people like us who care way too much about boots.

If there ever were a problem... and no one is perfect... I have never seen White's (or Baker's) fail to make it right...
Well said. Only thing that has changed is my dad retired and now instead of 3 generations at White's we have 2. One running the company and one running the factory.
 

iamntbatman

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Also, after reading way too many YouTube and forum comments, every single one I came across about quality going downhill after the buyout was hearsay and speculation from people who didn't actually own any post-buyout White's, or any White's at all. Reads as pretty straightfoward xenophobia to me.

Does anyone know if there are charts anywhere online with details of last measurements?
 

iamntbatman

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Already done that! I'm just wondering if the little bit of pinky toe rub on one boot could be alleviated by going from a 10.5EE to an 11E. If the width is pretty much the same and it's just a little longer it could be a perfect fit.
 

Phalanx

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I have a bit of a strange question.

I've worn my BH a few times now (been too hot to wear them) and while I'm getting some discomfort in the arch-ease (which will go away with break-in), strangely I noticed that my right foot's big toe was pressing quite hard against where the insole meets the side of the toe box.

Is this also likely to break in? I bought a soft toe so I wouldn't have to deal with these issues but it's quite a bit of discomfort which doesn't appear on the left boot. When I look inside the boot the insole where my toes are looks almost like it's made from wood - this is leather right? I'm hoping that the insole will start to form dents from my feet.

Hopefully my query makes sense.
 

Legal Eagles

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I have a bit of a strange question.

I've worn my BH a few times now (been too hot to wear them) and while I'm getting some discomfort in the arch-ease (which will go away with break-in), strangely I noticed that my right foot's big toe was pressing quite hard against where the insole meets the side of the toe box.

Is this also likely to break in? I bought a soft toe so I wouldn't have to deal with these issues but it's quite a bit of discomfort which doesn't appear on the left boot. When I look inside the boot the insole where my toes are looks almost like it's made from wood - this is leather right? I'm hoping that the insole will start to form dents from my feet.

Hopefully my query makes sense.
I will give you the straight dope IMHO... YMMV and internet advice is worth exactly what you pay...

The types of fit issues that "break in" are general tightness over the top of the boot, lacing issues (White's Bite), and sometimes a feeling that the waist of the boot is squeezing your instep. Given a month or so, these issues will work themselves out. Particular spots rubbing toes or "pressing quite hard" are likely the result of the wrong size, width, or wrong last. I think the latter consideration is often overlooked.

It took me a while to realize that not every last will fit every foot... even if you try multiple sizes and widths... sometimes your foot shape is just wrong for the last. The most popular lasts are the ones that work for the widest variety of feet...they fit most feet mostly OK and you can find a size that works... but not for everyone all the time. For me, the Whites 690 and 695 just will never work for me... there is just no combination of size and width in that last that will comfortably fit my duck shaped feet without being way too long, or way too lose in the heel. That's why I use the 38 Swing.

In your case since you have a BH, you have the 55 last. The 55 last is aside from the 4811 White's most versatile last IMHO... it works for most, but not for all... and maybe not for you.

I have never been able to "break in" horizontal toe rub in White's... especially when you describe it as "pressing quite hard"... the leather and liner are just too thick. When I tried, I would get callouses in the rubbed area, my feet would hurt, and my toes would bend to accommodate the boot, not vice versa... I realized I was trying to justify what was at its essence a boot that did not fit me.

I took them to my cobbler who has a professional "point stretcher" which only stretches a specific part of the shoe (about the size of a quarter... like I suppose you would do if you had bunions)... he advised me not to watch what he was about to do to my boots and then stretched the heck out of that point. It worked - mostly - but left a raised bump where the boots had been stretched, and afterwards they fit better, but still never perfect. I eventually came to resent them as I was always trying to justify the sub-par fit. I cannot imagine enough natural force in the toe area to ever stretch that much leather if it is really is "pressing quite hard"... these are White's boots, not Nike's.

I know this is not what you want to hear, and you will get lots of people saying, "Just wear them... they will break in... mine did..." and maybe they are right, but I doubt it. You deserve a boot that truly fits right... not one you have to jerry rig or make excuses for... I don't see this as a break in issue... if the length and overall width in the heel and waist are good, but your toes are rubbing... I think you may be in the wrong last.

Because of the location of the rub, the only other thing I can think of might be to try a Lace to Toe version where you can... to a small extent... vary the comfort of the toe area by changing how tightly you lace the boot, but in my experience this is more for allowing thick and thin socks rather than spot improvement, but it may be worth a try.

I had toe rub like yours until I just gave in and admitted the 38 Swing is the last for me...
 

Trapp

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That's excellent advice.

I've dealt with toe rub on many boots in the past and my record for a boot with that kind of fit issue eventually "breaking in" and becoming comfortable is at BEST zero for six. The six is probably closer to ten, to be honest. Every boot where I've had this issue lead to me eventually throw in the towel and sell the boots. I didn't give up easy.

In fact, I waited too long to admit the obvious on a few pairs. I don't want to be an alarmist or anything, and I won't harp on it, but wearing boots that push your toes hard up against the adjacent toe can damage your feet. I still suffer some ill effects a few later from a few pairs of boots. I look back on these boots like bad relationships that were costly and time consuming with few upsides.
 

Phalanx

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I will give you the straight dope IMHO... YMMV and internet advice is worth exactly what you pay...

The types of fit issues that "break in" are general tightness over the top of the boot, lacing issues (White's Bite), and sometimes a feeling that the waist of the boot is squeezing your instep. Given a month or so, these issues will work themselves out. Particular spots rubbing toes or "pressing quite hard" are likely the result of the wrong size, width, or wrong last. I think the latter consideration is often overlooked.

It took me a while to realize that not every last will fit every foot... even if you try multiple sizes and widths... sometimes your foot shape is just wrong for the last. The most popular lasts are the ones that work for the widest variety of feet...they fit most feet mostly OK and you can find a size that works... but not for everyone all the time. For me, the Whites 690 and 695 just will never work for me... there is just no combination of size and width in that last that will comfortably fit my duck shaped feet without being way too long, or way too lose in the heel. That's why I use the 38 Swing.

In your case since you have a BH, you have the 55 last. The 55 last is aside from the 4811 White's most versatile last IMHO... it works for most, but not for all... and maybe not for you.

I have never been able to "break in" horizontal toe rub in White's... especially when you describe it as "pressing quite hard"... the leather and liner are just too thick. When I tried, I would get callouses in the rubbed area, my feet would hurt, and my toes would bend to accommodate the boot, not vice versa... I realized I was trying to justify what was at its essence a boot that did not fit me.

I took them to my cobbler who has a professional "point stretcher" which only stretches a specific part of the shoe (about the size of a quarter... like I suppose you would do if you had bunions)... he advised me not to watch what he was about to do to my boots and then stretched the heck out of that point. It worked - mostly - but left a raised bump where the boots had been stretched, and afterwards they fit better, but still never perfect. I eventually came to resent them as I was always trying to justify the sub-par fit. I cannot imagine enough natural force in the toe area to ever stretch that much leather if it is really is "pressing quite hard"... these are White's boots, not Nike's.

I know this is not what you want to hear, and you will get lots of people saying, "Just wear them... they will break in... mine did..." and maybe they are right, but I doubt it. You deserve a boot that truly fits right... not one you have to jerry rig or make excuses for... I don't see this as a break in issue... if the length and overall width in the heel and waist are good, but your toes are rubbing... I think you may be in the wrong last.

Because of the location of the rub, the only other thing I can think of might be to try a Lace to Toe version where you can... to a small extent... vary the comfort of the toe area by changing how tightly you lace the boot, but in my experience this is more for allowing thick and thin socks rather than spot improvement, but it may be worth a try.

I had toe rub like yours until I just gave in and admitted the 38 Swing is the last for me...
Thank you for the comprehensive reply and I really appreciate hearing your experiences. I think for me personally, I know that my problem foot (right) is slightly smaller than my left which is why it's quite confusing to me that I'm getting an issue. Inspecting the footbeds, I seem to have identified a small dip where my big toe is which means the side of my big toe presses against the footbed slightly. I can't help but feel like I'm making mountains out of molehills though.

I can't get this assymetry to show up on camera and I doubt it's something Baker/Whites would take seriously but it's definitely there. But perhaps I need to wear my boots in a bit more before concluding that it's all doom and gloom though.

Here's the picture of the problem spot anyway:
1207980


I think when you look at this picture, it doesn't even look particularly egregious.
 
Last edited:

Netvine

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It is my understanding that 100% saturation with water and wearing them dry is probably how people fixed the horizontal toe rub in whites since long before I was born. Not the best thing for the leather or the nails in the midsole.
 

pbrmhl

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Thank you for the comprehensive reply and I really appreciate hearing your experiences. I think for me personally, I know that my problem foot (right) is slightly smaller than my left which is why it's quite confusing to me that I'm getting an issue. Inspecting the footbeds, I seem to have identified a small dip where my big toe is which means the side of my big toe presses against the footbed slightly. I can't help but feel like I'm making mountains out of molehills though.

I can't get this assymetry to show up on camera and I doubt it's something Baker/Whites would take seriously but it's definitely there. But perhaps I need to wear my boots in a bit more before concluding that it's all doom and gloom though.

Here's the picture of the problem spot anyway:
View attachment 1207980

I think when you look at this picture, it doesn't even look particularly egregious.
I wear my White’s (all three pair) in EE width, even though my feet aren’t that wide, in part because I like my toes to swim freely. The rest of my foot is snug. I’m no expert, but I wonder if a wider width would help...
 

Legal Eagles

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Thank you for the comprehensive reply and I really appreciate hearing your experiences. I think for me personally, I know that my problem foot (right) is slightly smaller than my left which is why it's quite confusing to me that I'm getting an issue. Inspecting the footbeds, I seem to have identified a small dip where my big toe is which means the side of my big toe presses against the footbed slightly. I can't help but feel like I'm making mountains out of molehills though.

I can't get this assymetry to show up on camera and I doubt it's something Baker/Whites would take seriously but it's definitely there. But perhaps I need to wear my boots in a bit more before concluding that it's all doom and gloom though.

Here's the picture of the problem spot anyway:
View attachment 1207980

I think when you look at this picture, it doesn't even look particularly egregious.
This is what I love about this group... now we will all post pictures of the inside of the best fitting pair of White's Boots we have, and then we can compare and contrast our comfortable boots to @squatonmyfacebrah so he will have something to go by... and plus because I am bored and curious... here are mine... see how each toe has some space? With this spacing the toe box is spacious but not cavernous... it does not look too different from yours, the key is that this is the best last for my feet.
IMG-3489.JPG
 

miggyramone

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I will give you the straight dope IMHO... YMMV and internet advice is worth exactly what you pay...

The types of fit issues that "break in" are general tightness over the top of the boot, lacing issues (White's Bite), and sometimes a feeling that the waist of the boot is squeezing your instep. Given a month or so, these issues will work themselves out. Particular spots rubbing toes or "pressing quite hard" are likely the result of the wrong size, width, or wrong last. I think the latter consideration is often overlooked.

It took me a while to realize that not every last will fit every foot... even if you try multiple sizes and widths... sometimes your foot shape is just wrong for the last. The most popular lasts are the ones that work for the widest variety of feet...they fit most feet mostly OK and you can find a size that works... but not for everyone all the time. For me, the Whites 690 and 695 just will never work for me... there is just no combination of size and width in that last that will comfortably fit my duck shaped feet without being way too long, or way too lose in the heel. That's why I use the 38 Swing.

In your case since you have a BH, you have the 55 last. The 55 last is aside from the 4811 White's most versatile last IMHO... it works for most, but not for all... and maybe not for you.

I have never been able to "break in" horizontal toe rub in White's... especially when you describe it as "pressing quite hard"... the leather and liner are just too thick. When I tried, I would get callouses in the rubbed area, my feet would hurt, and my toes would bend to accommodate the boot, not vice versa... I realized I was trying to justify what was at its essence a boot that did not fit me.

I took them to my cobbler who has a professional "point stretcher" which only stretches a specific part of the shoe (about the size of a quarter... like I suppose you would do if you had bunions)... he advised me not to watch what he was about to do to my boots and then stretched the heck out of that point. It worked - mostly - but left a raised bump where the boots had been stretched, and afterwards they fit better, but still never perfect. I eventually came to resent them as I was always trying to justify the sub-par fit. I cannot imagine enough natural force in the toe area to ever stretch that much leather if it is really is "pressing quite hard"... these are White's boots, not Nike's.

I know this is not what you want to hear, and you will get lots of people saying, "Just wear them... they will break in... mine did..." and maybe they are right, but I doubt it. You deserve a boot that truly fits right... not one you have to jerry rig or make excuses for... I don't see this as a break in issue... if the length and overall width in the heel and waist are good, but your toes are rubbing... I think you may be in the wrong last.

Because of the location of the rub, the only other thing I can think of might be to try a Lace to Toe version where you can... to a small extent... vary the comfort of the toe area by changing how tightly you lace the boot, but in my experience this is more for allowing thick and thin socks rather than spot improvement, but it may be worth a try.

I had toe rub like yours until I just gave in and admitted the 38 Swing is the last for me...
Did you get sized by Baker's before you realized the 55 last didn't work for you? I have duck feet too. I got sized for my Semi Dress in the 55/standard last by Kyle. I get big toe rub on my left boot fairly often. The being properly sized thing is what drove me to White's/PNW boots. I used to wear Red Wings but got tired of the bad fit. Toe box would be perfect but heel would be too narrow and vise versa.
 

Legal Eagles

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Did you get sized by Baker's before you realized the 55 last didn't work for you? I have duck feet too. I got sized for my Semi Dress in the 55/standard last by Kyle. I get big toe rub on my left boot fairly often. The being properly sized thing is what drove me to White's/PNW boots. I used to wear Red Wings but got tired of the bad fit. Toe box would be perfect but heel would be too narrow and vise versa.
I started with the SD in 55 last like most people in SD get. White's put me into 11EE which fit well, but not perfectly.

I then decided I wanted a packer and so ordered in the same 11EE... fine in the midstep and heel, but way too tight in the toes... the boot felt short, but now I know it was because the last was squeezing my wide toes. It was then that it started to dawn on me that one must get the right size, but equally important was the right last...

But I really wanted those packers... so I went to 12.5 EE and my heels were swimming and the boot was too long, toe width OK... still not great.

But did I mention I really wanted those packers? So I tried 11.5FF I think... length was good, toes were good, heel was sliding everywhere... it was then I decided the packer last was not going to work.

Wanting a boot for maximum comfort I asked White's the following: "Ignoring for a moment length and width... based on my tracings and measurements... which last will best fit the SHAPE (not size) of my feet?" The answer was unequivocally, "The 38 Swing".

So I ordered a pair of SD in 38 Swing at 11E (same length as the 55 but Whites told me to go down one width), and where the fit of the 55 was "good" the fit of the 38 Swing was "perfect"... over time I have "dialed" in my fit and came to realize 11.5 EE in 55 was the best the 55 got for me, which is pretty good, but the 11.5 E in 38 Swing is the absolute best and perfect for my feet

My feet have grown as I got older, so I now take an 11.5 and can even can go to a 12E or 12EE in either and it works fine... but the 38 Swing last will always be the best fit for me because the shape of the last best matches the shape of my feet. Is it a coincidence that the 38 is similar to the Munson last which is generally acclaimed as the best combat boot last ever? I don't know, but I do know sizing is a crap-shoot if the last does not work for your feet.

If I had to do it over again I would nail down the last first... then dial in the size. You can ask Whites or Bakers to size your feet in different lasts... they were the ones who told me to size down one width going from 55 to 38... and they were spot on.

Of all the customization options we discuss, last shape vs foot shape often takes a back seat to cosmetic considerations, and it is a shame because last selection can be critical if your foot is non-standard.
 

Netvine

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This is what I love about this group... now we will all post pictures of the inside of the best fitting pair of White's Boots we have, and then we can compare and contrast our comfortable boots to @squatonmyfacebrah so he will have something to go by... and plus because I am bored and curious... here are mine... see how each toe has some space? With this spacing the toe box is spacious but not cavernous... it does not look too different from yours, the key is that this is the best last for my feet.View attachment 1208056
I have to give that swing last a try one day.

The following is:
55 SD HorseHide
4811 SJ BlackDress
 

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