Frustration: I have never tried shoes that did not hurt

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by DrRandy, Feb 22, 2016.

  1. DrRandy

    DrRandy Member

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    I am quite frustrated in my shoes search. I have never tried on a pair of quality dress shoes that do not hurt--not even once.

    I recently tried on every pair of good-looking (to me) quality brown dress Oxfords in multiple sizes at seven or eight stores in Atlanta (Saks, Sid Mashburn, Macy's, etc.). The worst parts were that not one store had multiple widths and everyone working there just pretended to know things.

    I gave up and researched online for many days to find many options for shoes I liked, but I had no way of knowing how they would fit, of course. Most of these shoes wer not offered at any stores nearby, anyway. I did have someone that AE recommended measure my foot, but that was just to get a number (not to consider an appropriate last for comfort), and I think that number was even wrong. Of course, they lied (like every other salesperson) and said that the shoes would get more comfortable.

    I ended up buying a less painful pair. They are beautiful walnut AE Cornwallis shoes, but they still hurt my feet. I can sit in my office all day, but when I have to walk 400 meters to teach a class in another building, I have to be very careful how I step or I will be in pain.

    How can I go about finding shoes that fit? You all seem to be great at this, but I literally have never tried on one pair that did not hurt, and it makes me want to just give up on the process. I am in the market for some loafers now, and I do not know if I should just order lots of shoes online, try them on, and return (almost) all of them or go back to stores (Atlanta or Charlotte areas) and try on every pair of loafers. I would love to walk into a London shoe shop and talk with someone who could help me figure out a last to match my foot, but I live in a little country town in the US.

    Please help me.


    Note: I do have one foot anomaly (my right big toe joint was smashed slightly outward and is arthritic), but both feet always hurt in every pair of shoes I try.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2016


  2. huffman

    huffman Member

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    Bespoke is the way to go.
     


  3. atia2

    atia2 Senior member

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    Yup, you spend 1/3 of your life in your bed, and 2/3 of your life in your shoes. Worth investing in both.
     


  4. DrRandy

    DrRandy Member

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    Bespoke sounds nice, but how does someone who does not live in (or even near) NYC or London actually go about doing that?
     


  5. atia2

    atia2 Senior member

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    London and Noo Yoik don't have the monopoly on cordwainers. There might be one near you. Try enquiring in the bespoke shoe thread.
     


  6. lordsuperb

    lordsuperb Senior member

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    New shoes are actually suppose to fit tight and may be uncomfortable after the first few wears. They will become supple over time and form to your foot.

    With the Allen Edmonds it sounds like you purchased a larger size for comfort. The issue with that is that you are sliding up and down the shoe when you walk. This causes friction against the toes which will make your feet hurt at the end of the day. If I were you I'd go to a shoe specialty store where the Sales Associate are more knowledgable about the product.
     


  7. colco

    colco Senior member

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    OP, for curiosities sake, how old are you? Is this the first pair of real shoes you have ever leather soled dress shoes you have ever bought and worn?
     


  8. Caustic Man

    Caustic Man Senior member

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    Did you know that leather stretches with wear? If your shoes feel a little tight at first then you are ok. They will actually form to your feet to a degree.
     


  9. DrRandy

    DrRandy Member

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    I did not buy a larger size for comfort. They are quite tight. From what I can tell, these shoes should be wider at the ball, longer in the toes, and slightly less wide before the ball. I have been wearing them regularly for a few months, so there is not really any chance that they need to "break in", and these are the least painful shoes I tried on.

    More important: can you elaborate on what a "shoe specialty store" is?
     


  10. DrRandy

    DrRandy Member

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    Yes. These are the first. No, I do not simply need to get used to them. I have probably worn then for over 400 hours.
     


  11. Caustic Man

    Caustic Man Senior member

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    If you have worn them for a while and they are still tight then you went too small.

    So this is your first pair of leather soled shoes. Let's start with a little bit of info. Leather shoes are made on things called lasts. Lasts are the "bones" over which leather is stretched in order to made shoes of a certain shape. Your foot will not fit every last out there. You have to find the right one for you. This takes time, experimentation, and a good knowledge of your actual foot size. Most people who have never bought good shoes before simply go with the size of tennis shoe or sneaker they usually wear. This is a mistake. As mentioned, leather shoes stretch. They are meant to be tight at first. There will come a time when you try on a pair of shoes and simply know the "right" kind of tight. The kind that will stretch nicely over time. You may think that all these shoes were painful, but you simply didn't know how to look for the right kind of feel. This will come with time.

    By the by, what do you mean by "regularly"? How often have you actually worn these shoes over the last few months?
     


  12. DrRandy

    DrRandy Member

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    By "regularly", I mean that I have worn them for about 9-10 hours once ever 2-3 days over four months.

    I understand about lasts and leather stretching, but how can I find shoes that fit without buying 30 pairs of shoes and wearing all of them for a year until I figure out the right kind of tight?
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2016


  13. Caustic Man

    Caustic Man Senior member

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    Yes, that's quite a lot. You have encountered either the wrong size or the wrong last. It happens to all of us.
     


  14. Caustic Man

    Caustic Man Senior member

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    A little tight is good. A LITTLE. That's all I can describe to you.
     


  15. pleatedjeans

    pleatedjeans Senior member

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    This is pretty much the best advice that can be given. I have very wide feet and it took me years to figure out what I needed in order to be comfortable - and still not every pair of shoes that I own are equally comfortable. Companies such as Allen Edmonds and Alden are very transparent about their use of different lasts which should make buying their shoes easier, however the reality you will come to realize is that dependent on the last/width you will wear different sizes of shoe. I own anywhere from a 9.5 to an 11 in D-EEE. If you're worried about investing money into shoes and making a mistake early on, the easiest solution would be (and I know this is sacrilege to say here) but buy shoes at whatever price point seems reasonable until you have some idea of the type of fit you need - again, this is more about "learning" what the "right kind of feel" is about. Jumping straight into the finicky waters of bespoke having no experience with leather dress shoes is bound to end badly.
     


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