I once worked in a shoe store and I would constantly get men and women coming in saying ‘I purchased these shoes x months ago, and they’re already falling apart.’ My inner effortless bitch wanted to say ‘WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING TO YOUR FABULOUS SHOES!’ but my customer service voice had to take the shoes, refund them and blow them kisses as they left. Ugh.
Here’s the thing, if you treat your shoes like you would any other quality piece of clothing, your shoes will last you longer than expected.
I have had the same pair of canvas flats for five years and only now do I need to replace them. I don’t treat them like gold, they’ve been through hell and back, but I’ve been mindful of when I wear them and what I do with them when I get home.
How Long Should My Shoes Last?
So, I get asked a lot how long a pair of shoes should last and that’s kind of like asking me how long is a piece of string. The length a shoe can last depends on so many factors, but here in Australia, there’s a few key things you need to ask yourself in order to roughly determine that.
What weather do you plan to wear them in?
If you find yourself a culprit for stepping in puddles in leather or rubber soled shoes, well, you’re cutting down the life of your shoes quite a bit without the proper care process put in place. If you wear them on scorching hot days, they’re going to expand and retract a little but will need to be treated the way warm weather shoes should be, we’ll get to that in a moment.
What type of surfaces do you walk on?
Likely to step on something sharp and split your sole? This allows water and moisture to seep in. Work in hospitality and the floor is constantly greasy? The grease is going to eat away at your rubber soles and make them SUPER slippery.
Make sure you consider where you’ll be walking in your shoes so that you don’t over spend on something you know will deteriorate fast.
Have you purchased leather or rubber soled shoes?
Shoe snobs (like myself) can be very judgemental about weather or not a rubber sole or a leather sole is better than the other. In actual fact, it completely depends on your circumstances and what you plan to wear the shoes for. You’re not considered a non-effortless bitch for choosing one over the other.
A leather sole is great for general day to day out and about wear. The only times you’ll need to take extra care is when it’s raining, if you plan on stepping in mud or when it’s super super hot. While this may seem limiting, it’s not if you do the following:
Add A Tope: These are little half or full soles that are added to the bottom of your shoe by a cobbler or ‘shoe repair guy’ as we sometimes call him. These often add an extra year to your shoes, as long as you follow the next steps.
Waterproof Your Shoes: This isn’t a one spray and we’re done thing. If it’s raining regularly, water proof your shoes once a month. Don’t wear suede, silk or satin in the rain, where you can avoid it!
Get Yourself Some Shoe Shapers: In hot and cold weather, your leather can expand and retract. Shoe shapers help to keep your shoes in the right conditions.
Do The Inside Of Your Shoes Fall Apart First?
This could be for one of two reasons. One, you don’t wear a stocking or sock with your shoe (perfectly normal) and you sometimes put your shoes on with wet feet. Two, you don’t clean out and condition your shoes regularly.
Are Your Shoes Faux-Leather / Polyurethane:
Faux-Leather will deteriorate naturally, faster than leather, so it’s important to purchase leather lined shoes where you can for long-term wear. When they’re not, wearing a stocking or sock with the shoe will help to keep the lining and innersole intact longer, and waterproofing will help to keep moisture out.
Now, go forth with quality shoes and treat them like you would a good quality item of clothing!