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July 2, 2011 9:43 PM   Subscribe

Will Allen Edmonds shoes loosen up a bit in the front, or should I exchange them for the next half-size up?

I bought my first real pair of dress shoes yesterday--a pair of Allen Edmonds Park Avenues, in black. I wore them today to a wedding, and while I looked fantastic, the front halves of my feet are, well, a bit sore. (My right foot is the bigger of my feet, and it's the more tender of the two, but the left is a little sore as well.

When I first tried them on in the store, I was wearing 7.5s (yep, my feet are little!) and my heels kept popping out when I was walking around in them, so I opted for size 7s instead. My understanding is that a nice pair of shoes loosens up after a few wearings; what I'm wondering is, should I wear them a few more times to see if they get any better, or would it be wiser to exchange them for the 7.5s?
posted by andrewcilento to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
They will loosen up a little bit, in my experience. But the great thing about AE is that they carry a full range of widths. So perhaps you don't need a 7.5, but rather a 7 in a wider size.
posted by mullacc at 9:51 PM on July 2, 2011

Also...since this is your "first real pair of dress shoes," you might just get used to the fit. I think we tend to get accustomed to sloppy fitting casual shoes and so dress shoes seem uncomfortable at first.
posted by mullacc at 9:53 PM on July 2, 2011

Disagree. You will know a pair of correctly-fitted dress shoes by the fact that they fit. These shoes don't fit, so you should get some that do. Shoes are not supposed to make your feet sore, trust me - they are supposed to support your feet and make you feel good. You should probably return the shoes and look for different widths or, preferably, different brands, that feel right. It sounds like the shoe salesman you saw the first time didn't know what they were doing - try someone else.
posted by facetious at 10:06 PM on July 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

agree with facetious

I wear size 15 shoes, not size 14 1/2, size 14, or size 13
Every time that I have tried to persuade myself that slightly too small shoes would somehow eventually learn how to fit, I have failed
posted by thelonius at 10:09 PM on July 2, 2011

heel pop and forefoot comfort aren't necessarily related: heel pop comes from the ankle opening size, and fit around the arch. Forefoot comfort is where 'width' comes in. They will stretch a bit, but AE and most companies sell heel pads to make slightly too small ankles fit and stay into otherwise perfect shoes. the forefoot/arch fit is the hardest part.

Get shoe trees. Wear them hard for a day, put in the trees. wait a few days. a few days later, at the END of the day, put em back on, see how they feel. (end of day is when your feet are biggest).'

You may want to try their wider shoes, or one of their cap-toe oxfords on a different last. they have 4-5 different lasts to help guys find the right shoe.

FWIW I opted for park avenue wides, and after a month or two I had to add heel caps -- but my forefoot is comfy and previous Facetious is right -- shoes like these need to fit from beginning to end.
posted by markovitch at 10:10 PM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have two pairs of Park Avenues, one cordovan and the other black. I wear the cordovan ones all the time. Like yours, they felt tight in front and caused some soreness at first. Now, they fit me like ... buttah. The black ones I rarely wear, but they are roomier (despite being the same size), but the leather feels more rigid than the cordovans did, even when new.

My overall experience is that Allen Edmunds shoes do tend to loosen up.
posted by jayder at 10:59 PM on July 2, 2011

Just discovered professional shoe stretching last year and now I do it with every pair of dress shoes I acquire. They can stretch about half a size (or less) to a size and a half up. You make the call. Basically they're breaking them in for you. This has saved me a lot of foot pain and money. And it costs about $5 at my local cobbler.
posted by Lieber Frau at 7:10 AM on July 3, 2011

I have had a few pairs of AE. They all break in after a little wearing. Heel pop could be caused by the shank the runs under the sole of the shoe. If they were close to feeling good in the store, they should break in nicely. The only issue I have ever had is with AE recrafting.... you loose some depth each time you resole.
posted by burlsube at 4:21 PM on July 3, 2011

I haven't seen my AE's loosen up, but I do notice that my feet change a lot over the course of a day. Depending on the heat, humidity, time of day, extent to which I've been on my feet, they can swell and make my often good-fitting shoes very uncomfortable. My AE Cliftons can go from comfortably snug to feeling like tourniquets.

For example, I have two pairs of very spendy (even though they were seconds) Aldens that are at times unwearable for me. I bought them after a two hour air-conditioned car ride when my feet shrank to the size of pins. The shoes felt perfect in the store. At home, not so much. After some professional shoe stretching, one of the pairs is functional, but not exactly comfortable.

As Jayder mentioned above, I believe cordovan will stretch and conform more than other leathers.

My current strategy is to size a little big and to use tongue pads to round out the fit and still leave space for my feet to swell. I'm also going to use a great fitting pair of shoes as a reference the next time I go shopping. I'll make sure that any pair I consider buying fit like my reference rather than feel right in the store.
posted by Crankatator at 6:27 PM on July 3, 2011

My AE's have never loosened up, but that's probably because I had them properly sized. If they're tight up at the toe, try a wider shoe. That's what I did and now my AE's are my favorite dress shoe.
posted by Jambi at 10:59 PM on July 3, 2011

Exchanged the 7 Ds for a pair of 7 EEEs, which fit perfectly. Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone.
posted by andrewcilento at 4:04 PM on July 16, 2011

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