Author Topic: Shoe advice? (for a clueless 27 year old dude that can't believe he's asking)  (Read 2169 times)

ketchup

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From about 2012-2017 I'd gone with the $16.99 Costco shoes, bought about once a year. 

Just over a year ago, I "splurged" on some ~$50 (I think) Asics.  These "seemed" like "better" shoes comfort-wise.

Here I am, just over a year later, and they're worn out.  Both have holes in each side, at the largest and smallest toes (worse on the outer side).  I'm probably about a month past the point where most people would throw them away.

I feel like I really didn't get my money's worth out of these shoes.  Does anyone have advice for quality, cost-effective shoes that will actually last?  I really wouldn't mind plunking down more money if they would actually last an appropriate amount of time.

Use: walking on wood floors, walking on gravel paths, walking on grass, walking on sidewalks, walking on office carpet, standing on office carpet (standing desk, 40 hours per week), mowing grass, walking through snow/mud, driving.  Averaged over the last year, Fitbit says I walk about 12,000 steps per day.

I should also probably get a pair of "nice" shoes to wear to events that warrant it, along with non-casual days at work.  My last pair was some crappy Walmart $25 black dress shoes that I wore twice (to two weddings) and then proceeded to inadvertently donate as chew toys to our dogs.  They looked fine, but I knew they wouldn't stand up to hard use (but again, they saw minimal use overall).
« Last Edit: November 20, 2018, 10:29:36 AM by ketchup »

partgypsy

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Well, think about it this way, you got a year of use of $50 shoes where you walk 12,000 steps per day or 4.3 million steps for about 13 cents a day. Shoes wear out. They wear out faster if you use them a lot. I also have the same complaint, but I don't want to wear shoes that are going to mess up my feet. If you felt like you got the same value out of the Costco shoes, go back to the Costco shoes.
This has tips how to care for shoes, including getting 2 pairs and alternating them

https://luckyfeetshoes.com/best-time-replace-running-walking-shoes/
« Last Edit: November 19, 2018, 02:59:51 PM by partgypsy »

BDWW

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Not for everyone, but I go for quality over quantity. Possibly paying a bit more, but I don't really care for shopping or to cycle through things.

To that end I spend about $200-300 dollars on high quality boots that generally last me about 5 years. Currently on my second year of wearing a pair of  Asolo TPS 520s. I expect them to last another 2 years at least.

use2betrix

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If youíre getting ASICS and such it sounds like youíre getting running type shoes. Very few athletic shoes are going to last any longer than what youíve put those though. In terms of ďrunningĒ shoes, if people are actually running in them, itís often suggested to replace every 300-500 miles due to the sole running out. Youíre getting like 2000 miles to a pair of shoes, which is pretty amazing.

I donít think in terms of longevity that spending more on that style of shoe will increase how long it lasts by much. Wearing a pair of shoes that many miles is pretty solid. While $50 ASICS arenít their high end model, when you increase price itís more for comfort, less weight, et. 

With boots, there IS a much bigger difference in terms of build quality. I wear leather steel toes for work and thereís a huge difference in $250 USA made Danners and even $150 foreign made Justinís. In build, comfort, and longevity. Again, with your mileage I doubt you want a leather boot that weigh 5x what your ASICS do.

sol

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I have had this same complaint for years.  I wear out shoes too fast.

I used to walk about 1.5 miles to work and back every day.  Ordinary tennis shoes at any price point would get uneven tread wear on the bottom in about three months of regular use, even if the top of the shoes was fine, and then they'd start to hurt my ankles because they were slanted a little.

When I moved farther away from work and started biking in instead, I could get more like six months out of a $20 pair of shoes from some place like Big5, or maybe 8 months out of of $60 name brand shoes.  Even then, I'd eventually poke holes in the top, either over the big toe nail or outside the pinky. 

Solution one was to stop buying tennis shoes with thin mesh on top of the foot in either of those two areas.  That made a marginal difference, but the bottoms still wore out surprisingly quickly.

Someone suggested that I get "work" shoes of the type that nurses or waiters wear, so that's my current solution.  They are supposedly designed for people who are on their feet all day, and I have yet to determine if that's just a marketing gimmick or if they are actually made better.  I spent about $85 for them on sale, and they are solid black leather tops and are often mistaken for boots when I wear them with jeans.  They're no good for wearing with shorts.  I've only had them for like two months, so I can not yet offer any advice on how well they hold up.  Ask me again in six more months.

I'm interested to hear if anyone else has a better solution.  At roughly $100 per year I spend about as much on shoes as I do on the entire rest of my wardrobe combined. 

Cranky

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Youíre talking about athletic shoes? Thatís a good long life.

I walk a lot (I donít drive.) I buy a new pair of athletic shoes every summer and I usually get a pair of cross trainers off the clearance rack. I have a pretty common size and I always find something for under $40. Those are my ďgoodĒ shoes, and I save them for walking. My old shoes are then for gardening, and the pair before that are for painting or something gross. (And the pair before that gets pitched.)

I have a random collection of nicer shoes that Iíve bought on clearance or at the thrift store, but I have had knees and I can only wear flats with a lot of cushioning.

My dh rarely gets a year out of his athletic shoes. He has acid feet or something because he actually get holes in them on the top of his toes. It doesnít matter what brand or how much he pays.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2018, 04:54:42 PM by Cranky »

FallenTimber

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In terms of an economical choice, you're never going to beat your $16.99 per year Costco shoes. Any higher than that and you're paying for comfort, style, protection, weight, and/or brand name.

I can get a couple years out of my cowboy boots (about $200 / pair), which I wear about 360 days per year. And that's with tough leather, and very thick soles. I don't think a pair of shoes or boots exists that can last more than a couple years of high-mileage, daily use in the dirt, gravel, mud, concrete, and asphalt world.

BicycleB

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Shoes are tools that mediate between your body and the ground. As a generality, good shoes are worth paying for because of the better health effects over time. You may not notice this at age 26, but it adds up. $50 for a year of shoe wear is not bad.

More specifically, "lasts a long time" is different from "provides the best contour and resilience for health in case of frequent running, assuming you're willing to replace the shoes when they wear out". Running shoes are usually optimized for the second criteria, not the first. As a runner, I pay for top quality in this realm, not lowest purchase price and longest wear. Your case may be different from mine.

Elsewhere in the forum are some "Buy it for Life" threads that include shoe discussions. From skimming them, I get the non-expert impression that $200 for shoes that last 5-10 years is about the same cost as $15 to $40 shoes that last one to two years apiece. A lower cost than that appears hard to find unless you scour thrift stores. You can buy shoes there under $10 but my observation is most of them have substantial wear already. Like @FallenTimber, I think your Costco shoes are already as good as you're going to get, realistically.

What % of your spending are the different shoe options you're considering? If it's small (say less than half a percent), I would accept that you are already close to cost optimization. By all means explore your options if you wish, but I don't think there's a magic formula that reliably gets you under $15 to $20/year for shoes. Other than theft, but that's not very reliable either...

Will defer to wiser posters.  :)
« Last Edit: November 19, 2018, 05:32:37 PM by BicycleB »

partgypsy

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I love those dansko, European shoes, but can't bring myself to buy them $$. So I have a number of Clark's shoes, leather top that I alternate wearing, but my two favorite have cracks in the soles so I can't wear them when wet. I have a pair of sketchers sneakers I wear around at home, dog walks. I do need a pair of boots; I had a pair of leather boots, and two winter's ago I was walking and noticing black crumbs. The next time I wore them one if the heels basically disentigrated into pieces (embarrassing at work). I had bought them on sale for 70 maybe 5? Years ago, and all the leather options seem so expensive now. But I do need a pair of leather winter boots...my most expensive shoes are actually sandals, one Merrell, one Teva. I love them because they are nice enough to wear to work when not seeing patients, but I can walk miles and miles in them and still be comfortable
« Last Edit: November 20, 2018, 07:42:05 AM by partgypsy »

Milizard

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You're using your shoes a ton, and getting your money's worth even at $50/pair.  If you don't get any knee or back pain wearing them (you're lucky), stick with the Costco shoes, but get a 2nd pair to alternate days so they can air out more.

ketchup

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Wow, thanks for all the replies, everyone!

You're using your shoes a ton, and getting your money's worth even at $50/pair.  If you don't get any knee or back pain wearing them (you're lucky), stick with the Costco shoes, but get a 2nd pair to alternate days so they can air out more.
A few people mentioned that.  Is there noticeable benefit to rotating two identical pairs?  They'll last more than twice as long as one pair?
What % of your spending are the different shoe options you're considering? If it's small (say less than half a percent), I would accept that you are already close to cost optimization. By all means explore your options if you wish, but I don't think there's a magic formula that reliably gets you under $15 to $20/year for shoes. Other than theft, but that's not very reliable either...
I'm definitely at less than half a percentage of total spending, but as sol mentioned upthread, it's more or the the same as my total annual spending on other clothes, which just feels silly.
Youíre talking about athletic shoes? Thatís a good long life.
If youíre getting ASICS and such it sounds like youíre getting running type shoes. Very few athletic shoes are going to last any longer than what youíve put those though. In terms of ďrunningĒ shoes, if people are actually running in them, itís often suggested to replace every 300-500 miles due to the sole running out. Youíre getting like 2000 miles to a pair of shoes, which is pretty amazing.

I donít think in terms of longevity that spending more on that style of shoe will increase how long it lasts by much. Wearing a pair of shoes that many miles is pretty solid. While $50 ASICS arenít their high end model, when you increase price itís more for comfort, less weight, et.
Is there a more appropriate kind of shoe for my use?  These have been "athletic" or "running" shoes.  I don't play any sports or do much running, but I don't really see any shoes labelled for "walking, driving, and standing around."
Well, think about it this way, you got a year of use of $50 shoes where you walk 12,000 steps per day or 4.3 million steps for about 13 cents a day. Shoes wear out. They wear out faster if you use them a lot. I also have the same complaint, but I don't want to wear shoes that are going to mess up my feet. If you felt like you got the same value out of the Costco shoes, go back to the Costco shoes.
This has tips how to care for shoes, including getting 2 pairs and alternating them

https://luckyfeetshoes.com/best-time-replace-running-walking-shoes/
According to that link, my shoes are pretty much shot at the point where I start to find them comfortable (~3mo in).  I hate the feeling of wearing brand new shoes.  From what that link says, I know I'm wearing my shoes way longer than I should given their wear.  Maybe I'm just stubborn.

It also says "save your shoes for exercise."  Is there any benefit for having different shoes for different purposes?  Ironically, I don't wear shoes at all when I exercise (lifting and occasional sprinting), but I definitely am using my shoes very differently when standing at my standing desk at work vs say, doing yard work at home.  My GF has a billion shoes all for different things, but her beater everyday shoes are <$10 el cheapo flip-flops (year round, despite her being from Arizona originally and now living near Chicago).

SheWhoWalksAtLunch

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quote:  Both have holes in each side, at the largest and smallest toes (worse on the outer side).

If you're wearing out the toes on both sides, are you sure you're wearing the correct size?  Before you purchase the next pair, go somewhere that you can get your feet measured (dedicated shoe store, department store shoe section, sporting goods supplier, etc.).  You don't have to buy your shoes there, just play with the metal foot bed measuring "thingy" for long enough to determine your best fit.  It could be you're wearing out pairs faster because you're in a shoe that's too small ex: size 8 vs size 9, or because you need a wide shoe ex: size 8W vs size 8.  At 26, its possible that you've been wearing the wrong size shoe since your last growth spurt years ago.  Just because something feels like the last pair of shoes you had, doesn't mean the last pair of shoes you had were the correct size.

Qualifications: step mother of an adolescent boy who's feet grew one full size every six months or so for a very expensive few years.

ketchup

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quote:  Both have holes in each side, at the largest and smallest toes (worse on the outer side).

If you're wearing out the toes on both sides, are you sure you're wearing the correct size?  Before you purchase the next pair, go somewhere that you can get your feet measured (dedicated shoe store, department store shoe section, sporting goods supplier, etc.).  You don't have to buy your shoes there, just play with the metal foot bed measuring "thingy" for long enough to determine your best fit.  It could be you're wearing out pairs faster because you're in a shoe that's too small ex: size 8 vs size 9, or because you need a wide shoe ex: size 8W vs size 8.  At 26, its possible that you've been wearing the wrong size shoe since your last growth spurt years ago.  Just because something feels like the last pair of shoes you had, doesn't mean the last pair of shoes you had were the correct size.

Qualifications: step mother of an adolescent boy who's feet grew one full size every six months or so for a very expensive few years.
This is extremely possible.  As an adult, I've always gone by what "feels" right, and always in an effort to make the shoe-buying process as fast as possible.  I've definitely noticed though that sizes are not consistent across brands (yes I know, welcome to buying clothes).  Actually spending the time to measure my feet properly sounds like a good move.

Also, I'm 27, not 26, somehow I forgot that when writing the OP.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2018, 10:33:58 AM by ketchup »

Dr.Jeckyl

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Sounds to me you are getting your money out of those shoes. Cheap shoes aren't worth the podiatry appointments later in life. I bought Asics a few years ago and have bought two more since then. I buy a new pair once the old pair wears out. I just bought a pair for $35. I waited until the $80 pair went on sale for $50 and used a 30% coupon at Kohl's and a giftcard that my MIL gave me for my birthday almost a year ago. Win, win, win and comfortable shoes!

Bracken_Joy

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Wow, thanks for all the replies, everyone!

You're using your shoes a ton, and getting your money's worth even at $50/pair.  If you don't get any knee or back pain wearing them (you're lucky), stick with the Costco shoes, but get a 2nd pair to alternate days so they can air out more.
A few people mentioned that.  Is there noticeable benefit to rotating two identical pairs?  They'll last more than twice as long as one pair?]

Yes, it gives the foam time to bounce back and dry out so there's less bacterial action to break everything down.

As for the other questions- a lot of people wear non athletic shoes for day to day non exercise tasks. Like, leather loafers and stuff. It's a weird concept to me, being a west coast millenial, but there you go =P

My husband wears through shoes really quickly. We wait until there's big sales on 6pm.com and buy his shoes from there. The better brands hold up better for him for a couple months, and on the big sales they're nearly as cheap as the crappy costco ones =) Adidas cross trainers in particular hold up well.

I think the point about your sizing was a good one, too. If you have a wider food, either buy a W size or at least select the wider brands (like new balance) and stay away from narrow foot/narrow toe box brands like nike.

jeromedawg

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You could probably also go with a pair of hiking shoes/boots. Asics last a while in my experience though. Look for a pair of Gel Kayanos. New Balances are good too, particular 993s if you can find a deal on them (which is rare).

Costco has Kenneth Cole slip-on dress shoes for $30 last I checked. If they come in your size and are comfortable for you, just get a pair of those. Shoes aren't really something to "skimp" on relatively speaking. Any other mode of transportation you'll be likely spending way more.

I noticed another factor that contributes to faster wear on the soles is your overall weight. As I've gained more lbs over the years, I noticed the bottom of my shoes wearing faster in general. It makes sense if you think about it but probably not many people realize this.

Bracken_Joy

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You could probably also go with a pair of hiking shoes/boots. Asics last a while in my experience though. Look for a pair of Gel Kayanos. New Balances are good too, particular 993s if you can find a deal on them (which is rare).

Costco has Kenneth Cole slip-on dress shoes for $30 last I checked. If they come in your size and are comfortable for you, just get a pair of those. Shoes aren't really something to "skimp" on relatively speaking. Any other mode of transportation you'll be likely spending way more.

I noticed another factor that contributes to faster wear on the soles is your overall weight. As I've gained more lbs over the years, I noticed the bottom of my shoes wearing faster in general. It makes sense if you think about it but probably not many people realize this.

Stride style is a factor too. I've noticed that people who take really long steps tend to "twist" on the ball of their foot more (this is what my husband does), and wear the sole out there quickly. Or, if you heel strike, you'll wear the back edge down really quickly. And of course, people who drag their feet as they walk are creating tons of friction!

MDfive21

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spend $50 on a pair of merrell hiking shoes.  preferably find some with vibram soles.  they're durable and fit well.

like these.. https://www.zappos.com/p/merrell-outmost-vent-slate-black/product/8895286/color/156329

sol

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spend $50 on a pair of merrell hiking shoes.  preferably find some with vibram soles.  they're durable and fit well.

I tried that approach for a while.  They definitely last longer than running shoes, but I don't think they last twice as long and they definitely cost twice as much.

Abe

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I have New Balance shoes for light use outdoors, they last for 3-4 years.

At work I wear SAS shoes and easily walk 5 miles a day in them, stand 8+ hours. They last about 5-6 years. The insoles that come with them are sometimes off, so those I replace right away.

PeteD01

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This is a problem which bothered me for a long time.

When I was still working, and walking to work, I would go through three pairs/year of Docker Stain Resistant Shelter shoes at $70-80 a pop. I would go to the shoe store and buy all they had in my size (usually 2-3 pairs) all at once. I would wear them until my feet started to hurt (not a good idea) and then pick up the next pair. I would go through a pair of work boots for local hiking and other activities about every one to two years.
I always thought that this was incredibly wasteful but didnít do anything about it until I retired three years ago.

Here is my solution to the problem. It is expensive to start with but I hope it to be less wasteful and possibly even economical in the long run:

Hiking: I shred the soles of a pair of modern technical hiking boots in three to four months. Resoling is expensive and they are supposedly not as good as they were before after resoling.
I ended up with two pairs of traditionally made double stitched Meindl Perfekt hiking boots and one pair of triple stitched Meindl Super Perfekt mountain boots for more extreme alpine conditions.
The advantage is that they use cheap flat Vibram soles and can be resoled by any reasonably proficient cobbler at around $30 total. I go through three soles per year (1800-2000 miles). Iíve had the shoes for about three years and both pairs have been resoled four times. They run about $300-400 a pair. The disadvantage is that they are much heavier than modern technical boots (7lbs for the Perfekts and 8lbs for the Super Perfekts) but I see that as a positive because it makes my legs stronger.
The pair on the left was recently resoled and I reconditioned them myself with beeswax. The pair on the right has about two to three weeks left on the sole. Right now, it looks like they can go to though 8-10 resolings before I have to send them to the factory for complete refurbishing. One pair shows some wear of the leather liner which only the factory can deal with but there is still a lot of life left.

Other shoes: This was a tough one because I could not find a way to do this on the cheap unless I was willing to continue to toss worn out shoes every few months. Sneakers arenít even an option because I shred sneakers within a couple of months and here in Europe sneakers are not really acceptable footwear at my age for many occasions. I have to add that I walk a lot, even for European standards and often need to look somewhat presentable at the destination.
I ended up spending around $2000 for four pairs of shoes/boots - two for colder weather (double leather sole) two for warmer days. (Edit: this includes 21% VAT and adding special order rubber soles. Base price of the shoes is around $300-350 per pair.)
Here is what I found out during my quest:
1. The shoes need to be Goodyear-welted for durability and the ability to resole them at a local cobbler for little money ($20).
2. They need to have a high quality leather sole and be fitted with a heavy duty rubber sole right away for durability and some resistance to wet ground
3. The leather quality is key for long life of the uppers. I got my shoes from the Wiener Feine Schuhmanufaktur and they are made from what they call saddlecalf leather. This leather is much tougher than typical dress shoe leather but does not shine as well as other leathers and is not available in black (I guess because it doesnít shine well) It is full grain leather and stained through - these two qualities make the shoes better with time instead of deteriorating with time.
4. One needs at least two pairs to alternate for long life of the shoe.
5. One needs to use a shoe tree
6. The shoes need to fit perfectly. A little bit too small or too big and they deteriorate much faster.
7. One needs to use high quality leather conditioner every few weeks and high quality shoe polish at least weekly.
8. One needs to avoid getting the shoes completely soaked

Iím really happy about the hiking boots. I think that problem has been solved.
I donít know yet about the other shoes but so far so good. They do look better after 1 1/2 years of regular use but I donít know yet if they will last as long as I hope. Iíll bump the thread in about fifteen years to give feedback...

Edit: I forgot to mention something. I had an ankle injury from a motorcycle kickback when I was around 17 years old. Since then my ankle used to bother me on and off and I thought I just had to live with it. Well, turns out that I donít have to live with it because it hasnít bothered me since I switched to my current footwear.
I never made the connection before but I think now I know whatís going on: my current footwear doesnít really wear out. The soles get replaced but the shoes stay tight and fit the same as right after break-in. They donít change their shape like my old shoes did. So I donít walk around in worn out shoes anymore, ever.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2018, 09:34:18 AM by PeteD01 »

partgypsy

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This is a problem which bothered me for a long time.

When I was still working, and walking to work, I would go through three pairs/year of Docker Stain Resistant Shelter shoes at $70-80 a pop. I would go to the shoe store and buy all they had in my size (usually 2-3 pairs) all at once. I would wear them until my feet started to hurt (not a good idea) and then pick up the next pair. I would go through a pair of work boots for local hiking and other activities about every one to two years.
I always thought that this was incredibly wasteful but didnít do anything about it until I retired three years ago.

Here is my solution to the problem. It is expensive to start with but I hope it to be less wasteful and possibly even economical in the long run:

Hiking: I shred the soles of a pair of modern technical hiking boots in three to four months. Resoling is expensive and they are supposedly not as good as they were before after resoling.
I ended up with two pairs of traditionally made double stitched Meindl Perfekt hiking boots and one pair of triple stitched Meindl Super Perfekt mountain boots for more extreme alpine conditions.
The advantage is that they use cheap flat Vibram soles and can be resoled by any reasonably proficient cobbler at around $30 total. I go through three soles per year (1800-2000 miles). Iíve had the shoes for about three years and both pairs have been resoled four times. They run about $300-400 a pair. The disadvantage is that they are much heavier than modern technical boots (7lbs for the Perfekts and 8lbs for the Super Perfekts) but I see that as a positive because it makes my legs stronger.
The pair on the left was recently resoled and I reconditioned them myself with beeswax. The pair on the right has about two to three weeks left on the sole. Right now, it looks like they can go to though 8-10 resolings before I have to send them to the factory for complete refurbishing. One pair shows some wear of the leather liner which only the factory can deal with but there is still a lot of life left.

Other shoes: This was a tough one because I could not find a way to do this on the cheap unless I was willing to continue to toss worn out shoes every few months. Sneakers arenít even an option because I shred sneakers within a couple of months and here in Europe sneakers are not really acceptable footwear at my age for many occasions. I have to add that I walk a lot, even for European standards and often need to look somewhat presentable at the destination.
I ended up spending around $2000 for four pairs of shoes/boots - two for colder weather (double leather sole) two for warmer days. (Edit: this includes 21% VAT and adding special order rubber soles. Base price of the shoes is around $300-350 per pair.)
Here is what I found out during my quest:
1. The shoes need to be Goodyear-welted for durability and the ability to resole them at a local cobbler for little money ($20).
2. They need to have a high quality leather sole and be fitted with a heavy duty rubber sole right away for durability and some resistance to wet ground
3. The leather quality is key for long life of the uppers. I got my shoes from the Wiener Feine Schuhmanufaktur and they are made from what they call saddlecalf leather. This leather is much tougher than typical dress shoe leather but does not shine as well as other leathers and is not available in black (I guess because it doesnít shine well) It is full grain leather and stained through - these two qualities make the shoes better with time instead of deteriorating with time.
4. One needs at least two pairs to alternate for long life of the shoe.
5. One needs to use a shoe tree
6. The shoes need to fit perfectly. A little bit too small or too big and they deteriorate much faster.
7. One needs to use high quality leather conditioner every few weeks and high quality shoe polish at least weekly.
8. One needs to avoid getting the shoes completely soaked

Iím really happy about the hiking boots. I think that problem has been solved.
I donít know yet about the other shoes but so far so good. They do look better after 1 1/2 years of regular use but I donít know yet if they will last as long as I hope. Iíll bump the thread in about fifteen years to give feedback...

Edit: I forgot to mention something. I had an ankle injury from a motorcycle kickback when I was around 17 years old. Since then my ankle used to bother me on and off and I thought I just had to live with it. Well, turns out that I donít have to live with it because it hasnít bothered me since I switched to my current footwear.
I never made the connection before but I think now I know whatís going on: my current footwear doesnít really wear out. The soles get replaced but the shoes stay tight and fit the same as right after break-in. They donít change their shape like my old shoes did. So I donít walk around in worn out shoes anymore, ever.

impressive

Lews Therin

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Short military boots (6 inches) It'll last decades. (I'm still on the same pair worn every weekday for the last 12 years) Get it at a surplus store, and you'll be good to go!

MrSal

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I have had this same complaint for years.  I wear out shoes too fast.

I used to walk about 1.5 miles to work and back every day.  Ordinary tennis shoes at any price point would get uneven tread wear on the bottom in about three months of regular use, even if the top of the shoes was fine, and then they'd start to hurt my ankles because they were slanted a little.

When I moved farther away from work and started biking in instead, I could get more like six months out of a $20 pair of shoes from some place like Big5, or maybe 8 months out of of $60 name brand shoes.  Even then, I'd eventually poke holes in the top, either over the big toe nail or outside the pinky. 

Solution one was to stop buying tennis shoes with thin mesh on top of the foot in either of those two areas.  That made a marginal difference, but the bottoms still wore out surprisingly quickly.

Someone suggested that I get "work" shoes of the type that nurses or waiters wear, so that's my current solution.  They are supposedly designed for people who are on their feet all day, and I have yet to determine if that's just a marketing gimmick or if they are actually made better.  I spent about $85 for them on sale, and they are solid black leather tops and are often mistaken for boots when I wear them with jeans.  They're no good for wearing with shorts.  I've only had them for like two months, so I can not yet offer any advice on how well they hold up.  Ask me again in six more months.

I'm interested to hear if anyone else has a better solution.  At roughly $100 per year I spend about as much on shoes as I do on the entire rest of my wardrobe combined.

If you buy sneakers go for tennis shoes. You can find good ones from 35$...

I bought specific tennis shoes because I play tennis hard.. Previous Costco/cheap tennis shoes, had a hole in my big toe in about 4-5 weeks.

Bough some Adidas Barricades... 6 months in... Not even a dent... Seriously nothing is worn so far... The soles are new

Trifele

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Short military boots (6 inches) It'll last decades. (I'm still on the same pair worn every weekday for the last 12 years) Get it at a surplus store, and you'll be good to go!

My shoes also last a really long time.  The casual shoes (Merrell) I have on my feet right now are 11 years old, and I get over 3000 miles out of each pair of running shoes (NB Minimus). 

After reading this entire thread in complete puzzlement I sense that maybe it isn't the shoes, but something about me?  It sounds like there are people who just go through shoes really fast, for some reason.  So what works for @Lews Therin or me isn't going to work for them . . .


Lews Therin

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It's as if they have more issues if you travel more, and in harder conditions!

MDfive21

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in a throwback to my kitchen slaving days, here's another avenue to try.  at one point we were all subsidized by our employer and required to but shoes for crew shoes.  those things are pretty tough and built for abuse.  they now come in all sorts of styles.
 i had the wingtip version years ago and they lasted quite a while under daily kitchen use before falling apart.  i think there's a warranty too.  https://www.shoesforcrews.com/

FLBiker

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This doesn't help for outdoor stuff (or, at least, I haven't tested it) but for indoor (ie office) shoes, I switched to Birkenstock Corvallis about 4 years ago.  I polish them every year or so (could do more, certainly) and they're still going strong.  Before that, I was replacing my work shoes at least yearly, and they weren't very comfortable.