Continuing the Edward Green theme of last week, a recent acquisition of Asquiths had been proving rather uncomfortable so I took them with me to Northampton to get some advice. This resulted in two tips on fitting.

First, half brogues can be uncomfortable on some people if the gap between the toe cap and the facings is too small. There is too little room for the foot to flex, creating a sharp crease that can hurt the joint of the toes. As you can see on the photo below, the gap on my Asquiths is far smaller than the wing-tip behind them (and would be even if those shoes were Oxfords, not Derbys).

This seems to be a problem for me because my big toes are rather large, making them closer to the upper and therefore more sensitive. For most men it won’t be an issue, but if do find half brogues uncomfortable, this may be why.

Second tip, if you go up one size (length) but down one fitting (width), the width will remain roughly the same. You’ll just have a longer shoe. So if a pair is uncomfortable at the joint or in the toe-box, this can give you more room to wiggle while retaining the necessary snugness around the in-step.

I tried this method with the Asquiths, going from an 8.5 to a 9 but dropping the fitting from an E to a D, and the fit seemed to be much better. I don’t think I ever experimented enough with widths, assuming that as an E fitted me fine on some shoes or sizes, it would do for all. But fittings can vary between shoemakers just as much as sizes. So try all the permutations.

Thanks to John Garner for his time and help.

Finally, I thought I’d share a few snaps I took in the leather room at Edward Green. Though not necessarily known for their exotics, they have an astounding range of leathers and make some very unusual bespoke shoes.

The first shot is of (left to right) elephant hide, ostrich leg and Indian shark, and the second of stingray, bullfrog and python. As they say, anything with its back facing the sun.

The third is of some bespoke suedes ordered for slippers and the fourth of a calf leather with a metallic finish that, again, was a special order. This effect is achieved in the same way as the corrected leathers that some cheaper shoemakers use – sanding down the skin and then spraying it with a finish to give the impression of a perfect hide. The problem is, it won’t burnish in the same way as an untreated hide (not that that’s a problem with metallic silver).

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

do you have any suggestions for when the gap between the toe cap and the facings is too small? I have a pair of churchs that have this problem.


I thought Edward green didnt have a bespoke service after Tony Left?


Simon, Do you have any shoe fit tips for a pair of Loake Orwells or 290’s?

I am a size 10/10.5 (US) in Converse shoes (10 being more snug)

and an 11(US) in Sperry shoes.

Please advise, as all the places that I plan to order from are overseas, and I can’t afford the return postage If I am to order said shoes.

Thanks in advance!



I think those Asquiths present a particular issue. I own several pairs of EGs in the same size and width — but my recent Asquiths are the only ones that caused the exact problem that you described. With some stretching and wear, though, they are getting better. Still, it was a nasty surprise after spending the money on a pair of MTOs.


Hi Simon,

With your experience with bespoke shoes, knowing the industry people, knowledge and this asquiths issue, I have a question for you if you are able to advice…..

I’m planning to get some EGs. Tried on my normal size, 10E, width is fine but length is slightly long so there is slight gap near heel.
Tried on 9.5E and length is fine I assume, snug I would say though.
Do you reckon 9.5F a bigger width would be better sonsidering the 10s length is long?

Thanks Simon.



8 years after you published it, I have found this post and it’s most helpful! I bought a pair of EG Lichfields on the 890 last a couple years ago. I can’t wear them because the toe on my right foot gets crushed and is in excruciating, terrible pain. Stretching won’t help. I have had similar issues with other shoes in the past and could never identify the issue. Now I completely get it and it explains all the past circumstances perfectly. I have asked myriad shoe salespeople, even at Leffot, and no one could explain it. Thanks very much! Off to sell my expensive barely worn EGs, but now I know what to look for!


Hi Simon

Even though the fit issue that I’ve experienced is not EG-related, I’ve been looking for an answer for a pair of St. Crispin’s, which I have the same problem on one foot (not enough room leaving a sharp crease, which would kill the joint at the end of the day). With regard to the flex point (the vamp) of a shoe in general, what would be the problem if there’s not enough room vs too much room?



Hi Simon, what heavy wax would you recommend specifically? I have a pair of Gaziano Girlings that could use a little softening in the area you described above. Thank you!