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Shoe fit question: Do your toes matter?

longskate88

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So I was messing with a Brannock device the other day...turns out my overall foot length suggests a size 10, but my arch length suggests more like an 11.5.

I know the device is not the greatest, but it made me notice the widest part of my foot actually extends into the toe box area of my current 9.5D AE Cliftons. It squeezes at this point.

So theoretically, do your toes matter? What would happen if you wore a shoe 3 sizes too long, provided the width and volume of the lacing area were correct? Seems like the lacing is what holds your heel in place, not your toes pressing against the front of the shoe.

My plan is to try something like a 10.5C to compare it to my current 9.5D...hoping to get less pressure on my toes, and maybe less heel slip due to the shoe's flex point now matching my foots (the flex point thing could also be total BS, but sounds like it makes sense)
 

well-kept

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Only you can be the final judge of what fits and feels comfortable. The Brannock device can be wildly off for some people. It might take you several tries and a few mistakes but when you find a last and a size that works for you, you can disregard the numbers. You need some space in the toe. Too much space is less a problem than too little. The heel to ball-of-foot aspect is critical, though, and has to be right.

A good fit will put a smile on your face, and then you know you have it.
 

Don Carlos

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Toes are the least important parts of your lower body. In fact, doctors have long had the saying "The toe is the appendix of the foot."

A sign of a good shoe fit will be, after a few years of wear, that it has gnarled your toes into finely arched hammers. This was long considered a sign of good breeding for young ladies in Maoist China, and look at how successful China is today.
 

patrickBOOTH

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Your toe has the least amount of importance when determining correct fit. Don't do that thing the shoe guy used to do when you were a kid and push down on the toe to see where your big toe ends. That is bullshit. It is best to squeeze the vamp and see to what extent the ball of your foot is filling the vamp and the instep. Also, make sure the shoe is bending in the correct place when you walk. Most of what is an inch in front of your toe is purely the style of last you chose.
 

philosophe

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You need to find shoes on a last that matches the proportions of your foot.
 

Orgetorix

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I have relatively short toes, and I have the same issue as the OP. The Brannock says my toe length should put me in a 10.5, but I can't even get my foot into a 10.5 because my arch measurement is more like 11.5 or even 12.

But, as always, fit depends on the last. I have shoes in 11D, 11E, 11.5C, 11.5D, 12D, 12C, and 12B that all fit me pretty well. It makes trying on shoes difficult, and makes buying without trying on (e.g., online) a complete crapshoot.
 

TheWGP

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Completely agree with Orgetorix - my problem is a high instep, so I have to go slightly wider in most shoes, and my arch length is if anything a little *smaller* so go figure.

I've got shoes from 11C, 11D, 11E, 11EEE, 11.5D, 11.5E, 12C, 12D and all of them fit pretty well. I think a lot of it is based on your tolerance and/or perfectionism, honestly. Some people are much more okay with having extra room in the toebox and maybe a little more creasing; some people can't stand having even a little tightness. It's all personal preference and experimentation once you get in the general area for your size, IMO.

Oh, and the only thing that'll save your butt when purchasing online is extensive last research. Even then, be prepared for a few disappointments - there are members who go to such lengths as ordering two or three pairs, keeping the one that fits, and returning the others. Obviously that's quite a cash outlay in the interim, though, so it's not practical for many people.
 

DWFII

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Originally Posted by longskate88
So I was messing with a Brannock device the other day...turns out my overall foot length suggests a size 10, but my arch length suggests more like an 11.5. I know the device is not the greatest, but it made me notice the widest part of my foot actually extends into the toe box area of my current 9.5D AE Cliftons. It squeezes at this point. So theoretically, do your toes matter? What would happen if you wore a shoe 3 sizes too long, provided the width and volume of the lacing area were correct? Seems like the lacing is what holds your heel in place, not your toes pressing against the front of the shoe. My plan is to try something like a 10.5C to compare it to my current 9.5D...hoping to get less pressure on my toes, and maybe less heel slip due to the shoe's flex point now matching my foots (the flex point thing could also be total BS, but sounds like it makes sense)
The distance from the back of the heel to the center of the medial joint is almost the sole determinant of fit...at least as far as length is concerned. If you are not fit correctly in this dimension--heel to ball--you are not fit, period! The always critical arch is not properly supported and the medial ball joint cannot socket into the insole where it should and where the shoe is intended to flex. Toes do not matter in this respect--there will always be...should be...a gap between the end of your longest toe and the inside wall of the shoe. Sometimes that gap can vary but the minimum standard is two full sizes (roughly 2cm+/-) or one-eleventh of the length of the foot for a medium round toe. Extended toe shoes, such as are all the rage right now, may exceed that length and one-inch is not unusual. One of the most common foot "anomalies"...perhaps as high as ninety percent of the population...is short toes or long toes relative to the heel to ball distance. A good bespoke maker will take this into consideration, fit heel to ball and extend or shorten the forepart of the last to accommodate the toes. RTW will never do this. Most people wearing "off the rack" shoes are misfit to one degree or the other.
 

pebblegrain

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Toes are vestigial, like tonsils and testicles. They don't serve any purpose other than dangling decoration. If they are too long you should not hesitate to get them shortened. (PS same goes for tonsils and ding dongs)
 

longskate88

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Thanks guys!

Turns out I tried on a couple 10.5B's in AE, and that size fits great. Uniformly snug around the sides and heel. I think the sides should loosen up slightly with wear, but the best part is the heel feels rock solid, no slipping.
 

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