I prefer the Carmina as well although I haven't tried both pairs - the C&J in in a G fitting so slightly wider than usual. My feet are on the borderline of medium and wide so I'm not sure whether a narrower last like the Simpson is the best idea. If they offered this on the Rain last, it would be a no brainer. Then again, suede stretches quite a bit the more it's worn so maybe getting a pair that's snug and letting them stretch might be the way to go. I nearly got the Merton some time back but decided it didn't suit my foot for the reasons you state above. Both, huh?