Agreed. And as far as stretching...not all shoes do. My first 3 pairs of AEs were purchased in relatively quick succession and with the salesman's assurance that they would stretch a bit. None of them did, and now I rarely wear them due to the discomfort. I'm now out a pretty big chunk of money based on that flawed logic.I'd go for too large since you can work with that by adding inserts, etc. Too small may cause some damage to your feet.
I find that heel slippage causes pain much, much faster than compression does. A pinching shoe IME takes the entire day to become uncomfortable or painfull. While heel slippage can become irritated in a half hour, and painfull shortly thereafter. Quickly followed by blistering and peeling of the skin, that takes weeks and weeks to heal.Or double up on the pairs of socks you wear!
There is nothing more uncomfortable than shoes that pinch.