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Shoe last query

Discussion in 'Andy's Fashion Forum' started by Cassadine, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. Cassadine

    Cassadine Senior Member

    586
    United States
    Pennsylvania
    Butler
    Yesterday, I purchased the finest pair of shoes I've ever tried on: Alden LW Bluchers in #8 Shell ( I feel as if I'm speaking in an unknown tongue here). This has prompted some questions. First some background. The Barrie last in the shell was the only pair that I liked right out of the box; I'd tried the same shoe in calf and it was much tighter. 11D, although I think an E would be acceptable, too. I loved the Trubalance but it actually felt tighter. However, the heel fit on the Indy boot was sublime. Scott, at Nettleton Shoes, said he felt that most of his customers found the Barrie roomier than the Trubalance. In inquired about the Modified and he said that in 30 years he'd only sold a handful. I cannot abide any friction in the toe box--especially against the "pinky toe". I was disappointed that not every Barrie model felt great.

    1. Does AE have any last even comparable to the Barrie? I bought a Clifton 11D on the 108 last and after two days of wearing them while sitting at my desk I returned them.

    2. Has anyone moved up in width on the Barrie? If so, what was the experience?

    3. Using the Barrie as a touchstone, I'm guessing that if an 11D in shell was the only one that felt remotely comfortable, then the majority of today's shoes are going to prove disappointing to me. Any advice?

    Thanks, in advance.
     
  2. Flanderian

    Flanderian Connoisseur

    United States
    New Jersey
    Flanders
    Full disclaimer: I don't purchase Alden shoes, and haven't owned a pair in 40 years.

    What I think I know is either general information, or what I've read and seen here. So, FWIW -

    I found it interesting that the calf shoes fit more snugly than the shell in the same size and model. I do know that calf actually stretches and shell hardly does at all, so I wonder if Alden factors that into its making.

    Beyond that, the Barrie last has an awful lot of volume with many Alden wearers saying they size down a 1/2 size in Barrie from other Alden lasts. Most Alden lasts also have broader heels in proportion to many other lasts, and the Barrie last is among the broadest relative to the forefoot. Could be your foot has a broader heel, and that plus the generally greater volume results in what you're experiencing.
     
  3. Cassadine

    Cassadine Senior Member

    586
    United States
    Pennsylvania
    Butler
    Actually, the chap I purchased them from went into great detail about the technique used when the shell shoes are crafted, and mentioned that because of certain properties in the material/hide they do not "wrap" it around the last as tightly. Apparently it snaps and that's an economic no-no. Maybe that's what shell doesn't stretch so much.

    He was incredibly informative. He took numerous measurements, and although my foot measures 10.5 (as I thought) a 10.5 won't fit with most shoes. Sadly, when he was discussing this I was annoyed about the parking ticket I'd just received and was only listening in a cursory fashion. I think I'm between widths D/E. He doesn't stock Alden wider widths because he says its not necessary from a business view; he's a one man operation and the Barrie last takes care of most folks issues.
     
  4. Cassadine

    Cassadine Senior Member

    586
    United States
    Pennsylvania
    Butler
    What has me a tad concerned on day two of the Alden adventure is this: even though the Barrie's voluminous shape is, it seems, an established fact, the area of the shoe covering the bridge/instep is just a touch tight. You're telling me shell doesn't stretch that much is great info.

    My tentative conclusion is that the Barrie/Alden isn't the magic bullet I'd anticipated. And although it fits well, I'll still need to try dozens of shoes on before even making a tentative purchase.

    My USA made Thorogood work boots for the yard dwarf the Barrie! I'm a 10.5 in those puppies and it's still roomy.
     
  5. winghus

    winghus Senior Member

    730
    United States
    North Carolina
    Greensboro
    1) Allen Edmonds sells most every last in up to EEE width so you could try that.
    2) It sounds like you might have a high instep (I do also) which is harder to deal with versus a normal instep. In AE, perhaps try the 201 last or the 1943 starting with D or E width and then a EEE. A number of European companies have lasts with a high instep (Enzo Bonafe) but they generally don't do multiple widths.
     
  6. Cassadine

    Cassadine Senior Member

    586
    United States
    Pennsylvania
    Butler

    Thanks. I have noticed that AE offers a wide swath of widths. I also gather that its commercially a good deal larger than Alden. The Barrie does come in an E, but I think it'll likely prove to roomy.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
  7. CLTesquire

    CLTesquire Super Member

    United States
    NC
    Waxhaw
    I have a high instep and have trouble with the Barrie last. I'm normally a 10D is US sizes and the prevailing wisdom on the Barrie and Trubalance (and I think Van) lasts is to go down a half size. My Indy boots on the Trubalance fit great in this regard. I can't get my foot into a 9.5 Barrie though because of the instep and am forced to go with a 10D instead. It's long but the only way the last fits.

    Something similar but wildly different you may want to explore is the Enzo Bonafe 363 MOD last. It's a round shape like the Barrie but with the high instep of a Bonafe shoe. Check these out as an example:

    https://us.skoaktiebolaget.com/collections/enzo-bonafe/products/enzo-bonafe-ebano-longwing

    IMG_0053.JPG
     
  8. Flanderian

    Flanderian Connoisseur

    United States
    New Jersey
    Flanders
    That's an interesting view. One of the reasons I stopped purchasing AE's in the early '70's was because I have a higher instep and found the AE's I had didn't. But I didn't try every last, and that was a long time ago.

    Among English shoes the most consistently generous insteps I have seen are Alfred Sargent's lasts. And they're very nice shoes as well, but not as inexpensive as they once were. My trusty Sanders have also all fit me well and have an ample instep, though not as high as Sargent's.
     
  9. Cassadine

    Cassadine Senior Member

    586
    United States
    Pennsylvania
    Butler

    Those are nice shoes. I've visited that site while doing my extensive research. I came awfully close to grabbing a pair of Lobb's at about half price. But the more I looked at the shoe, the more I realized it would simply hurt my feet. I noticed on that site that the Bonafe 363 MOD is compared to the Carmina Detroit. Any comments on that angle?
     
  10. Cassadine

    Cassadine Senior Member

    586
    United States
    Pennsylvania
    Butler
    I've looked at both those brands. They both offer very nice shoes. It really is tragic that I don't live in England. Nice island--might even find some extended relatives there--and I could try on all those English shoes that've caught my fancy.
     

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