Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Upbraiding: New Shoes

These Johnston & Murphy derbies were a gift from a friend after he found his feet were too big.  Commentary on details to come later this week or next.  For the moment, I would like to tell you, gentle reader, that these shoes pinch my ankles and little right toe.  Furthermore, this is totally normal, to be expected, and part and parcel of developing a relationship with shoes you expect to own for a long time. 

You see, non-bespoke shoes are built around a last, which is a three-dimensional model of a foot, often made of wood.  It's probably a composite of real feet that are all, for example, 10.5Ds.  Different shoe companies use different in-house lasts, and some even have multiple in-house lasts that they use for different styles of shoe.  All of these lasts have one thing in common: they are not exactly like your foot.  So when you put on a new pair of shoes, you are declaring war on the shoe's default fit.

Fortunately, you can win this war.  Your foot has a crucial advantage over leather: it can handle as much abuse as you will throw at it, yet still retain its shape.  The leather will eventually, usually more quickly than you expect, conform to your foot.  Short-term pain, long-term excellent fit.

Oh, and always use shoe trees.  They may slightly hamper the conforming process, but they more than make up for it by extending the life of the shoe.

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