Footwear fitting guide # 1 ...you know, it's not all about heel slip
Comfort - that's the most important thing in shoes for the longer perspective. And also one of the hardest to accomplish when other favourable requirements are included.
For many type of feet it is usually not achievable, if you require there's not any heel slip when the pair is new - especially if your feet is not high as the Arc de Triomphe. And what most people end up doing, is sizing down their shoe size. This might sometimes work with very soft sneakers and sport shoes, and is easier to do in pairs made with soft suede and short toe stiffeners. Sizing down is ok if you know how much it is good for your feet. But usually people want just a little too much of this downsizing.
So, in shoes made of good quality calf, in basic GW construction, it causes the 4. and 5. toes having a lot of pressure from outer part of the toe area. And also having a great pressure for the heel - both for shoe and feet. Then, upon too little time you end up in wearing out the heel lining (might also be because soft lining leather / unmatching last shape of the heel), and possibly having hardened skin for your feet. You know, good quality uppers and stiffeners usually do not give up a lot but just get softer in use.
Oh right, this is another story and let's not go too deep into this yet, so back to heel slip.
Here we have most common possibilities why the heel is slipping to some extent when first fitting your shoe candidate. And please note, heel always slips when bending the shoe if the sole is stiff - as it mostly is when new.
- SOLE IS STIFF - Goodyear Welted shoes are manufactured with many layers of material. The bottom part of the shoe consists of Insole, filling, welt and the outsole (which might have multiple layers) combined to one entity with stitching, glue and pressure to make it in wanted shape. Normal single leather soles becomes very flexible upon use. First few weeks make the biggest difference. The sole starts to bend together in harmony with the motion of your feet. You have a feeling arising that the shoes start to follow your steps and movement.
- IT IS A WRONG LAST - when standing straight, the shape of the last determines the fit of the shoe for your feet, but with heel slip it is especially important how the last and shoe fits from the instep (lacing), ankle area and heel. If there is a great amount of extra space around the ankle and under the lacing it is unlikely to get fitting very well. However, please note that for flat feet, this usually happens with most of the lasts in correct or even small size.
- SIZE IS TOO BIG - the shoe is too long. Usually not the case, but if you try to size down, please take care of the comfort and pressure for all of your toes. You should always have a little room in front of your little toes before the edge of the toe stiffener is being met.
So, always measure your feet, know the real length of the last / shoe you are trying on. and take care of the comfort for your toes. We use the Brannock device for measuring, but you also have to know the relative length of the shoe itself.
At Caine's, we take part of this conversation everyday at the store, and it is a long one. So to be continued... Take care!