How To Make Your Shoes Last Longer

Your shoes are probably the single most expensive piece of clothing you wear every day, and are undoubtedly the garment you put under the most stress and expect the most out of. Take care of them and you can get some extra mileage out of your clothing budget.

How Stuff Works offers some tips to make your shoes last longer:

* Buy good shoes. It seems like a no-brainer, but there’s always the temptation to buy cheap, possibly unreliable shoes rather than spend more money on a more durable product. Do your research, find a model that’s known for lasting a long time and make a wiser purchase.

* Disobey Kenny Loggins. Despite the musician’s urging to “kick off your Sunday shoes,” you’re better off taking them off with care. If you yank off your shoes without untying them you’ll wear them out faster.

* Don’t wear your shoes when wet. If your shoes get soaked, let them dry because wearing them while they’re wet may speed their decay. This is especially true for more delicate leather shoes.

7 Tips to Make Your Shoes Last Longer [How Stuff Works]

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  1. jerry101 says:

    Poop.

  2. Grogey says:

    I buy good shoes but my problem is I wear out the soles real quick, the rest of the shoe is pretty much fine. Then again all I wear is one pair for everything, so one year is probably really good.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      It can be relatively inexpensive to have a pair of boots or shoes resoled (I usually pay about $30 or $35 for new vibram soles). It’s definitely cheaper than buying a new pair and beats having to break them in.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      If they can be re-crafted then have that done. You can also use heel savers usually made of polyurethane. I believe that you can also have small metal plates installed flush with your heel that will help keep the wear down in specific places.

    • Grogey says:

      It would be difficult to get mine resoled. There actually hiking boots and its a soft sole that’s why it wears out so quick.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        my favorite pair of hiking boots has maybe one last hike left in them and they are sitting in my closet, waiting for it. i wish i could get them resoled

      • sirwired says:

        If possible, I suggest finding a brand of boots that can be re-soled. They do exist. (And just about anything except sneakers can be re-soled, even if they weren’t designed that way.)

        • amuro98 says:

          My wife has a pair of shoes that can be resoled…but the local shoe repair shops charge so much it’s just cheaper to buy 2 new pairs of shoes.

          • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

            How much do they charge?

            For my wife’s shoes, they cost hardly anything because the cobbler typically just replaces the hell and right under the ball of the foot. It’s about half the price of replacing the whole sole of my shoes/boots.

        • NickRayko says:

          It’s not the brand that determines if they can be re-soled, it’s the type of construction – the welt, or the way the sole is attached to the rest of the shoe. Goodyear welts – and any other stitched style – are built to be re-soled. Welts involving adhesive or heat-welding are not.

    • Cacao says:

      Dave Page, cobbler. He resoles so many hiking boots. When the UPS strike happened a few years ago, it really hurt his business.

    • alana0j says:

      Yep. I had a pair of Vans that I wore everyday whether it was to work or just going places and I was quite surprised they lasted me about two years. I wore the poor things into the ground and finally developed a hole in one of the soles. I’m working on a pair of D.C.’s now so we’ll see how long they last me…I guess they’d last longer if I owned more than one pair of tennis shoes but I buy black and white so they match everything. I don’t see a point in owning a million pairs of shoes just to go with different outfits

  3. backbroken says:

    Stop kicking all that ass.

  4. Blueskylaw says:

    “How To Make Your Shoes Last Longer”
    1). Use a cedar shoe tree right after you takes shoes off
    2). Lightly sand shoe tree occasionally to expose fresh wood
    3). Dust off shoes, especially in cracks. Wipe off dirt with a clean rag
    4). Clean and polish shoes after about 6 wearings or so. The leather will get “better” with age

  5. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Wear rainboots when it’s raining, snowboots when it’s snowing, etc. Or all weather boots. If you wear nice shoes that aren’t made to handle precipitation, you just end up with wet shoes that are ruined. Rainboots, snowboots, etc. are made for the elements.

  6. Bibliovore says:

    A corrollary to “Don’t wear your shoes when wet” that’s reported many other places, but not in this limited and somewhat odd article, is to alternate pairs of shoes. If instead of wearing one pair day in and day out, then switching to a new pair and wearing that one every single day, you start with two pairs and only wear each every other day, you’ll get more days of wear out of each pair. This is probably because the shoes have plenty of time to completely dry out and let the padding decompress after each use.

    • MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

      “..have plenty of time to completely dry out and let the padding decompress after each use. “

      Those are the exact same words my wife used last night, right after telling me she had a headache.

    • Martha Gail says:

      That is what I was going to come here to say. Sweat breaks down the materials so quickly.

    • FashionablyDoomed says:

      I was going through a pair of shoes every three months until I figured this out. I never owned more than one pair until I started finding brand new ones for cheap at Value Village. 40$ got me 4 pairs of shoes, and they’re still in pretty decent shape 3 years later.

    • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

      Don’t have to worry, since I have a dozen pairs of shoes… :P

  7. dolemite says:

    Anyone ever throw their shoes in the washing machine? I’ve done it a few times, even with sandals. Doesn’t seem to hurt them usually. Gets rid of the funk.

    • Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

      You have funk on them feets of yours ? Yikkers!

    • LightningUsagi says:

      My converse go in the wash at least once every month, and it doesn’t seem to do any harm. I wear my black pair at least 5 days of the week, and usually last me close to a year.

  8. MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

    Don’t forget to rotate your shoes regularly.

    Moving the shoe on the right side over to the left side and vice-versa every few weeks helps to even out the wear caused by improperly aligned feet (often caused by too much toe-in).

  9. Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

    My Goonies edition Puma discs, are awesome, just use the dial to tighten or loosen the lacing system. The North Face also has a similar lacing system that don’t actually involve any type of regular laces. Two ¬¢’s, my mind ~!~

  10. InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

    “Buy good shoes”… assuming you can afford the up-front cost. See the Sam Vimes “Boots” Theory of Economic Injustice.

  11. Sarek says:

    Well, none of these tips will stop my [name-brand] sneakers (list price is now $65) from wearing out every 8 months or so. The soles are just not built to last.

    Unfortunately for me, these are the only (yes, only) sneakers that fit me! (and they don’t fit as well as they used to years ago) So I troll the outlet stores and buy a bunch at a time when I find them.

    Seems to me that when I was a kid, I outgrew sneakers long before I wore them out. [:end grumpy old man]

    • lostdisk says:

      Keep in mind that our feet are one of the few things that continue to grow as we get older. Part of the reason they may not fit as well as they once did, it your feet may have grew slightly.

      • Sarek says:

        Agreed.

        Also production moved from Indonesia to China some years back. The Indonesian-made shoes fit a little bit better. I’m no shoe expert, but maybe they use different lasts?

    • The Porkchop Express says:

      Got a friend that wears like a size 14 or 15, he just goes to the store and gets every pair in his size every couple of years.

      God he gets some ugly shoes, but he wears them out quickly.

  12. BrownLeopard says:

    I’ve had nothing but good experiences with New Balance shoes. When the last pair I bought had some of the tread pieces come off, they sent me a new pair for free and even paid to have the old ones shipped back (it turns out it was a bad batch of glue).

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Hmm, I’ll have to try some on. I have a store credit to Shoe Carnival from a pair of god-awful boots my mother got me for Christmas (which I returned). I know they have New Balance there and I need some good walking shoes.

    • BennieHannah says:

      I do 5K every day and my New Balance trainers are awesome! I also know plenty of nurses who wear NB. Of course you can’t wear them everywhere (believe me I’ve tried), but with jeans, or leggings and t-shirt minis, or yoga pants, they work and aren’t clunky or painfully ugly. For other occasions, I like ballet flats. If you provide a nice insert, any brand will do, or Born boots — I have pair in brown and a pair in black, and a pair of ankle books in dark gray. Heels, I like Taryn Rose when I can find them on deep deep discount. Pricey, but comfortable and they can be resoled and if you wear them as infrequently as I do, a wonderful pair of black pumps or t-straps will last longer than I’ll be alive.

  13. Cat says:

    Maybe your shoes are probably the single most expensive piece of clothing you wear every day, but I buy mine on sale or better yet clearance for dirt cheap and buy several pairs at once.

    And I don’t buy no got-damned $200 Nikes.

    • Firethorn says:

      There’s a difference between buying ‘good shoes’ and buying for the name(like Nike). Discerning quality more than price is a good trick though.

  14. pk says:

    file this under “DUH”. Seriously why is the consumerist such a sucker for any article that contains a numbered list??

  15. chemmy says:

    go barefoot

    • j2.718ff says:

      This!

      I’m serious. There are many situations where shoes just aren’t necessary, so take them off and enjoy!

  16. Jimmy60 says:

    As an ex shoe salesman it’s my opinion that one of the leading causes of premature wear is buying shoes that are too small.

  17. RayAllDay says:

    that first one is pretty important. I can murder a pair of nikes in less than a year wearing them 40 hours per week, but vans usually last me 3-4 years and always cost less.

  18. Gman says:

    Serious answer: stop scraping your heels on the round. Pick up your feet.

    Phil article answer: Really? Really? Even for google clickbait this article is just stupefying. I gave you credit for the money article. That is very valid.

    But this? What the heck does it have to do with “The Consumerist empowers consumers by informing and entertaining them about the top consumer issues of the day. We are a leading online resource for consumer-driven advice about dealing with everything from non-existent customer service to onerous cell-phone contracts to ever-shrinking (and ever-more-expensive) grocery products.”?

    At the very least if you are going to post how-to articles give us something more in line with protecting ourselves – like the previous how-to identify a counterfit bill.

    • Gman says:

      ok maybe I was a bit mean. Sorry Phil. I take back part 2 of my response.

    • j2.718ff says:

      Interesting fact: nearly all shoes are high-heels. (Yes, I’m including most sneakers.) Were shoes not like this, I suspect heel-dragging would be a less common occurrence.

  19. do-it-myself says:

    “7. You can maintain the shape of stored shoes by packing them full of newspaper. This will also absorb moisture, and it’s a great way to reuse old newspaper.”

    News…..paper? The only kind of news I know comes from either the TV or online. Neither of those would fit….Oh well…-1 for my shoes then.

  20. j2.718ff says:

    “5. Never toss your shoes into the washing machine. Always hand wash with vinegar and a rag.”

    My shoes explicitly state that they are washing machine safe. This makes them incredibly easy to keep clean.

    Vinegar?! I was my shoes to remove the bad smell, not to add to it!

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      I thought my classic black Uggs were ruined, and they say they aren’t machine washable. Rather than toss them out, I threw them into the washer and washed them anyway. I air dried them, and they looked like new. I’ve worn them all year. I compared them to my friend’s Uggs that have been immaculately cared for and they looked the same. I got an extra year of wearing them 3-7 times a week (going on 4 years old.) The piping is starting to wear and the white is showing throug. I’m going to try a Sharpie before buying a new pair.

  21. sparc says:

    duct tape… will solve everything

    • Bibliovore says:

      (At a party, friends once poured champagne into a watermelon, but didn’t know when to stop — they kept pouring it in until the watermelon rather spectactularly burst. They then reassembled it and duct-taped the shell back together. The watermelon was nonetheless rather tasty. And no shoes were harmed. ;) )

    • This Dude Abides says:

      It’s the handyman’s secret weapon!

  22. Kuri says:

    Good shoes don’t HAVE to be expensive. I paid 20 bucks for my boots and they last years. I went with a different brand for the same price once and paid for it with the shoes wearing out before the year was out.

  23. polishhillbilly says:

    I wear a pair of new balances out every 10 months. joes discount new balance to the rescue every single time.
    I buy redwings for my boots. The Redwing outlet in branson had “last years” boot style on sale for $89.
    I hope I get 15 years out of these boots like my last pair of red wings.

    • kc-guy says:

      Have you spent any time in Branson lately? As a former KC dweller who never made it out to Branson (or Lambert’s… sad face) I was wondering how bad the tornado damage turned out to be.

  24. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

    Invest in a good quality metal shoe horn. I found most of my shoes wear out near the back of the heel from sliding in and out. I bought a shoe horn, and noticed my shoes didn’t wear out there as much, and they go on a lot easier.

  25. cspschofield says:

    Have more than one pair, and don’t wear the same pair two days in a row. It allows the insides to dry out which is good for both the shoes and your feet.

  26. LD says:

    I make my own shoes at home.

  27. czechyoself says:

    “Don’t wear your shoes when wet.” Wow! How helpful is that information when you are walking home from work in the middle of a monsoon? For an article titled “7 Tips to Make Your Shoes Last Longer,” I can’t believe weather-proofing treatments weren’t mentioned.

    Here’s my amended #6:

    Avoid walking in the rain with leather shoes, because the leather will absorb the water and become distorted. Use leather wax or weather protectant to treat your shoes, and adjust the frequency of reapplication based on your environment (e.g., snowy weather, salted streets).

  28. ancientone567 says:

    Quality and buying at the right price is the way to go.

  29. u1itn0w2day says:

    Shoe Goo and insoles.

  30. shthar says:

    2 words.

    sit, down

  31. majortom1981 says:

    MY problem is that I am an IT guy. I have to wear dress shoes but i am very active in them. Up and down stairs every day, I also work in a village that is kinda like a small NYC (a suburb of it actually) and i do a lot of walking when on lunch.

    MY dress shoes wear out very quickly. Expensive dress shoes soles are way to thin and will wear away in a month or two. Sketchers black dress shoes with the thick soles the side wears away ,where the sole meats the shoe.

    The best i have found is a $50 pair of shoes from the bass outlet but the sole is wearing away at the ball of my feet.

    • kc-guy says:

      Ask a Mormon. LDS missionaries spend two years pounding pavement in dress shoes and suits. The group figures out pretty quickly which shoes were a good buy and which weren’t.

  32. legolex says:

    I recently bought a pair of Madden Girl shoes for work, love them but within 2 months they started scuffing and looking unprofessional with only light wear on carpet and tile. I wrote to the company, provided pictures and my original receipt and they have given me a credit to SteveMadden.com for a new pair of shoes. Great customer service.

    But of course, the original shoes I bought are no longer available and there’s nothing on the website I like at the moment. So I took the black shoes, spray painted them with black glitter spray paint, followed by a coating of glitter spray paint sealer to “renew” the shoes that way. It definitely covered up the scuffing and damage, we’ll just see how durable the spray paint and sealer are.

  33. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I remembered this when I was taking off my new Reeboks (courtesy of a Shoe Carnival store credit after returning some god-awful boots my mother got me for Christmas). I UNTIED THEM FIRST. Usually I kick them off at the heels.

    But they are soooo nice…comfy. :)

  34. akronharry says:

    I bought a pair of timberline boots years back and rarely used them, but kept them clean.
    The soles actually turned to powder! When I contacted them and asked about what could be done, they said that their soles only last for a period of time and they would not replace them.