# Stretching shoes

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by tonylumpkin, Aug 14, 2007.

1. ### MyOtherLifeDistinguished Member

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Well since this 4 year old has been bumped back to life, I gotz to know, did the OP get his shoes sucessfully stretched?

2. ### glenjaySenior Member

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Of course DWFII is correct, but I will take the math a little farther. A common assumption is that the length and width of a shoe are measured on an X and Y axis (perpetuated by the average person's view of a Brannock device). But, these are two completly different measurements. The X axis (length) is actually measured from the heel to the ball, as DWFII pointed out, and there is an adjustment on the Brannock device to measure this. A shoe is never sized from heel to toe because the toe style can vary from an elongated, pointed, toe to a shortened square toe (both ends of the ugly spectrum).

For width the Brannock device can only make a general estimate in width (Y axis) because the width is not actually a Y axis measurement, but rather a girth measument. For example a last with a high instep might have a narrower Y axis than a last with a low instep, for the same last width volume.

A shoe cannot be streched as a whole, but the leather upper can be streched a certain amount for foot comfort where the foot touches the upper. However, if the heel to ball length is not the proper fit, then you can strech the upper all you want and the shoe wll never fit right.

I think DWFII should invent a user adjustable shoe shank and become rich and famous (even moreso than he already is).

3. ### Nick V.Distinguished MemberDubiously Honored

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Then again, we recently stretched the length on a pair of Jermaine O'Neal's (Boston Celtics) and Joe Gibbs (former Head Coach of the Skins) shoes. I'm told they both were very happy with the results. But after 35 years, What do I know?
My truck doesn't have a carburetor but, if you got something that will give me real gas mileage results.......I'll listen.

4. ### DWFIIBespoke Boot and ShoemakerDubiously Honored

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I don't know what I can tell you about gas mileage...and perhaps my 40 years of hands-on shoemaking isn't enough to change your mind about the mechanics of shoes but if you can describe to me how that fancy-schmancy machine can lengthen the insole, re-position the joint relative to the heel, and do anything other than distort the upper, I'm all ears.

And I'll add one other thing...if you've been in business as long a I have, trying to cater to the individual and idiosyncratic needs of a largely ignorant public, you realize that at some point in time you have to exercise your own judgement, and experience, and not just listen to the gushing and schmoozing.

Flattery and compliments are all well and good but if you can't acknowledge (even if only to yourself) that you've made a mistake or miscalculated the results, regardless of what the customer is saying, then you can never learn or grow or excel.

Ultimately, stretching any shoe in any direction/dimension is a desperate expedient and a poor substitute for a correct fit in the first place.

Last edited: Aug 18, 2011

5. ### DWFIIBespoke Boot and ShoemakerDubiously Honored

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A general observation...in passing...

For all the misapprehension about how a shoe should be fit; for all the downright ignorance about how shoes are, and should be, made and how they function; for all the indifference to correct fit when compared to brand name, last styles etc.; and for all the enthusiastic embracing of solutions that are, at best, makeshift and inappropriate, when a shoe does not fit, it would not surprise me to see some enterprising young man come up with fancy machine to compress the foot rather than stretch the shoe.

And, thinking about it, I'd be willing to bet that squeezing the foot down to a smaller size would quickly become the preferred solution.

6. ### Asian AfroSenior Member

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The US re-introduces foot-binding to the world, this time to American men. China will never see that coming.

Out of curiosity, are there many SF members who've become your customers?

Last edited: Aug 18, 2011

7. ### Master-ClassterDistinguished Member

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somewhat related... I'm having a helluva time finding shoes OTR that fit me. Instead of going full bespoke, is there like a MTM option? Can it be done for \$400-600 or am I really looking at \$800-1200?

8. ### Asian AfroSenior Member

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If you find that it costs \$800-1200, then you might as well go bespoke.

Does Cliff Roberts' lasts fit you? He is MTO, though.

Last edited: Aug 18, 2011

9. ### Nick V.Distinguished MemberDubiously Honored

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I simply responded to your sarcastic remark about gas mileage (you know, the gizmo) in my own sarcastic way. Sorry, that you took it so seriously. While I respect and admire your 40 years of "hands-on" shoe making experience I also weigh my own experiences. Happens to be they are more valuable to me. That added to me being third generation is well over 90 years of learning. Still willing to learn more and, will never know it all.
I never said stretching the length could "lengthen the insole or re-position the the joint relative to the heel". That would be stupid on my part.
I don't need to respond to the rest of your comments other to say, if I recall the OP asked if shoes can be stretched longer (I lost track).
In addition to my previous examples. A few weeks ago a customer came in with 7 or 8 pair of handmade croc. shoes. They cost well over 10K per pair and needed a little length. He was delighted with the results. Was the upper distorted, did we crack the delicate skin? No.

10. ### fritzlStylish Dinosaur

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i've done it either and i'm happy with the results. how did i do it? careful. i used a shoe tree one size bigger. it's a tree piece, so i slide in the middle piece carefully over the period of time. it also changed the shape, which i really welcome. it's not magic.

11. ### bewing77Member

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A really simple method I use all the time since my left foot is slightly larger than my right, meaning I have the choice between a to large right shoe or a to small left one: I just put on a pair of wet socks and then the shoes and just wear the shoes like that around the house for a couple of hours. Let them dry with shoe trees and they will usually be perfectly shaped for your foot. Learned this from a friend of mine who plays hockey who told me that they (hockey players) always do this to their skates since it gives a better fit than buying the correct size right away. Only works if the shoe is only slightly small of course.

12. ### cptjeffDistinguished Member

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Hockey players don't do that much anymore, since skates aren't made of leather. Nowadays it's composites and foams that you heat up, put on, and they mold to your foot. The body of my skates are made from one piece of carbon fiber...

Not to mention that these days, top end skates will run you SF approved shoe money.

13. ### DWFIIBespoke Boot and ShoemakerDubiously Honored

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It seems to me that you've got the sequence reversed...my remark about the gizmo, even if sarcastic, was off-hand and jocular. Any "serious"-ness rests on your shoulders.

And no, you don't have to answer the rest of my comments...that's the problem. I simply asked you to explain the objective logic of trying to stretch a shoe lengthwise. You don't have to (or won't) confront the mechanical reality of what stretching a shoe lengthwise does to the shoe. No one does. You don't have take responsibility. No one has to... again, that's the problem.

Just because something can be done doesn't mean it ought to be done (my other point). Recognizing that is a key element in dealing with customers ethically.

Last edited: Aug 19, 2011

14. ### JamesXDistinguished Member

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I too have the left foot is half a size larger than my right foot issue. Though I just put a thick sock on the shoe trees they came with and leave them in. Works reasonably well.

15. ### DWFIIBespoke Boot and ShoemakerDubiously Honored

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Almost everyone has one foot larger than the other. This is one of the reasons why I think that RTW shoes are seldom fit correctly.

That said, a half size is only 1/6th of an inch (4mm) most shoes will "break in" to accommodate that discrepancy all by themselves...given time.

Of further consideration is the fact that on a classically styled shoe there is at least two full sizes of clearance between the end of the toe of the foot and the inside wall of the shoe at the toe.

So...people who are needing to have a shoe stretched lengthwise--who feel constrained or cramped by the length of the shoe-- are well outside of any semblance of proper fit. And consequently the shoe must be badly distorted in order to give them any relief from a short fit.

Last edited: Aug 20, 2011