tocqueville

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During my online perusals I stumbled upon Munson lasts and the fact that many GI-issued shoes/boots used it and some shoe/boot makers still do (Russell, Chippewa, Redwing, etc.) for certain products. I like the idea of it: a relatively scientific effort to develop a sort of one-size-fits-all last optimized for lots of walking/marching. I suppose that the catch, if any, is that it is not sleek.

Here's a good discussion: http://www.russellmoccasin.com/muson-last

I have no personal experience with anything built on a Munson, but I know that many of you do have at least one Munson-lasted shoe in your rotation. What are your thoughts on it? Is it everything Mr. Munson hoped? Is there a downside, i.e. is it noticeably blobby? Why is it not more common?
 

hardline_42

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I've had several Munson-lasted boots. They're very roomy in the forefoot and have a nice tight fit in the heel. I find them to fit similarly to modern "barefoot" or minimalist shoes that have ample room in the toe box to allow the bones of the feet to spread on impact for a more natural strike. As for blobbiness, they definitely have a Mickey Mouse effect going on but they're work boots and I don't expect them to be sleek. Cap toe boots tend to emphasize the blobby toe.
 

tocqueville

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I've had several Munson-lasted boots. They're very roomy in the forefoot and have a nice tight fit in the heel. I find them to fit similarly to modern "barefoot" or minimalist shoes that have ample room in the toe box to allow the bones of the feet to spread on impact for a more natural strike. As for blobbiness, they definitely have a Mickey Mouse effect going on but they're work boots and I don't expect them to be sleek. Cap toe boots tend to emphasize the blobby toe.
Since I have a wide foot but relatively narrow heal, that appeals to me.

I came upon the topic when I was reading something about the difference between the WWII US Army rough out service boot and the USMC Boondocker. The Army boot is Munson lasted and is clearly rounder; the Boondocker is not on the same last and looks sleek. I suspect that's why most people seem to think the USMC boot was the better looking of the two.

A few of the examples I've found really are quite ugly, as in this Redwing:
http://www.denimhunters.com/2014/07/red-wing-shoe-stores-munson-ranger/

Do you think the blobbiness is what prevents it from being more widely used?
 

DG123

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Do you think the blobbiness is what prevents it from being more widely used?
No question about it. Rather than a focus on fit characteristics, shoe lasts are designed for appearance purposes.
The origin of the Munson last is different though, as that one was designed for the function of walking and working long hours. I suspect the Munson shape may have the very rare feature of a 3 width differential (between ball and heel) rather than the conventional differential found on most all lasts, which is 2 widths.
 

Oldsarge

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I do indeed. Most of us humans much prefer good looks to proper fit. That's why we fall prey to designers and the foolishness of the runway. I have a pair of Russell 3 eyelet cushion collar casuals on the Munson last. For walking around they can't be beat. The moccasin construction avoids the blobby toe a little, being more square than blobby.
 

hardline_42

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http://www.denimhunters.com/2014/07/red-wing-shoe-stores-munson-ranger/[/URL]

Do you think the blobbiness is what prevents it from being more widely used?
Those Redwings aren't even that bad. They look like smooth-leather LLB/Chippewa Katahdin boots. IMO, the worst offenders are the WWII service boots. The combination of the thick sole (leather mid plus rubber half) and the upturned toe really turn-up the cartoon factor. Here's a pair I had that my wife accurately dubbed the "Ronald McDonald" shoes:


The truth of the matter is that the human foot is less aesthetically pleasing than we imagine it. The shoes that seem to be best for the health and performance of the foot are usually the ugliest:

Nature-form last:

Five-finger abomination:
 

tocqueville

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Sadly, it is a fact that the shoes that are reckoned to be the most comfortable and anatomically appropriate are ugly.

Blobby or not, it's an interesting bit of sartorial/American history. I like the fact that a pre-WWI US Army innovation is still with us today and still considered, at least in some instances, to be valuable.

This one (WWII Impressions) doesn't look to bad at all:
 

hardline_42

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Sadly, it is a fact that the shoes that are reckoned to be the most comfortable and anatomically appropriate are ugly.

Blobby or not, it's an interesting bit of sartorial/American history. I like the fact that a pre-WWI US Army innovation is still with us today and still considered, at least in some instances, to be valuable.

This one (WWII Impressions) doesn't look to bad at all:
The lack of an internal toecap on the rough-outs (soft and floppy, like desert boots) makes the toe look much more streamlined in profile. I'm a fan.
 

colorvision

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I strongly considered Russell's Thula Thula line, but decided against it due to negative feedback from the wife. I agree that it looks better on work boots.
 

zzdocxx

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Really interesting. I have settled on the Alden Modified Last, high instep, narrow heel, room toe, it curves a bit too I think.

Wondering if something like this would work for me.

Don't care if they are a little blobby.
 

tocqueville

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The lack of an internal toecap on the rough-outs (soft and floppy, like desert boots) makes the toe look much more streamlined in profile. I'm a fan.
Would you take those over the USMC boondockers?

I really like those two WWII Impressions offerings. The few reviews I've found makes them out to be terrific boots for the money (i.e. US-made, goodyear welted) and more than just a prop for re-enactors.
 

hardline_42

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Would you take those over the USMC boondockers?
Yes. I prefer the eyelet spacing (seven vs. nine) and I like the rivet on the Army boots. The Munson last is a plus and that's one of the few boot designs where you the wide toe doesn't look so bad. The boondockers have a sleeker shape which might make for a boot that swings further away from the casual end of the spectrum if that's more useful in your wardrobe.
 

DG123

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Really interesting. I have settled on the Alden Modified Last, high instep, narrow heel, room toe, it curves a bit too I think.

Wondering if something like this would work for me.

Don't care if they are a little blobby.
What shoe pattern/ model ?
 

DG123

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So far

black cap-toe blucher
black wing-tip
brown wing-tip
black split toe
I have never tried on a pair of Alden modified last shoes. If you have tried on a pair of Barrie lasted, or Leydon lasten Alden shoes, please do provide a fit comparison.