14 Sep 2009

Weekend Discussion -- Worn Out Shoes

NOTE: This post will stay here until Sunday night. Posts for Saturday and Sunday morning go below this post.

Dear Aguanauts,

Discussion posts allow you to discuss a topic among yourselves -- exchanging views, learning and teaching. (I only read the comments.)

If you are interested, take a moment to check out (and add to!) the discussion on habits from two weeks ago. After that, please give us your thoughts on...

Shoes. Have you ever worn out a pair? Is it strange that we rarely do, or is it normal? How do you feel when you buy new shoes? Throw them away? Throw away "worn" shoes?


  1. I love worn out shoes. Remember my worn nikes in high school that I used to tape back together with athletic tape because they were falling apart? I miss those, I wonder if I could still find them.

  2. I have worn out lots of shoes. Dress shoes, by nature, can tolerate less wear before they no longer serve their intended purpose; but high quality dress shoes (mens' anyway) can be rebuilt several times. Quality casual shoes (like Mephistos) can be rebuilt as well, and last a phenomenal amount of time. Cheap shoes are not only uncomfortable, they are expensive in the long run. Except for kids, who outgrow them long before they are shot.

  3. I wear them until they have a hole in them, then I replace them. Shoes, much like red wine, get better the more you pay for them; but, after a point there is little marginal benefit, to me, in paying a lot for shoes. No tape... please.

  4. I used to wear out my shoes; that's why I see a podiatrist. :-( My podiatrist says not to wear out shoes. Shoes, at least the athletic or vibram sole variety, are built to absorb shock. That shock absorption wears out after about 500 miles, which requires the sole to be replaced. This jives with what I learned during my biomechanics class during college (but had since forgotten). In most cases, there is no replacing soles and the shoe needs to be discarded no matter how good of shape of the upper portion.

  5. This is a flawed question...it assumes that shoes serve an exclusively functional purpose! Trendy shoes, shoes for evening, this season's fad...they will remain functional long after their purpose has passed! Not to mention those shoes that reveal their flaws AFTER you've worn them a time or two.

    Shoes are another great example of how the current culture eschews quality and longevity (expensive) for short-term gratification (cheap).

    As Mister Kurtz notes, quality shoes with classic styling will service for a very long time. For my first married Christmas, I gave my husband the "English Town Shoe" which I purchased at Brooks Brothers for $150 in 1982. At that time on our lean budget, this was a HUGE expenditure. Well, he still wears those shoes today. They have been re-soled 4 times, but they still look great.

    Me, I have a pair of classic crocodile flats (sorry vegans) given to me as a gift from a family friend in 1987. They are the most beautiful quality shoes I've ever owned... cut from one continuous piece of hide with just one seam at the heels. They have been resoled twice and are tough as steel. I'll never wear these out. I want to be buried in those shoes!

  6. I am every man, and every man is me.

    I replace my expensive running shoes every few months - before I begin feeling pain in my knees. I replace my work shoes when I think the boss might think less of me if I didn't. I replace my casual/dress shoes often, because I may want a second date.

    If I were to switch lives with a poor Bengali living in Bangladesh, I suspect I would wear my shoes until they died...and then I might figure out a way to make them last a few years longer.

    The Bengali, assuming an ability to assimilate quickly into my role and leave old habits behind, would replace his running shoes before his knees began to hurt, his work shoes before his boss looked at him funny, and his dress shoes as soon as he realized they were the reason he didn't get laid.

  7. I wear shoes until they wear out, and only the shoes I walk distances wear out--Teva sandals and hiking shoes. Everything else is still in the closet, waiting their turns to be worn. Shoes made in China wear out or break sooner than Italian made shoes, like the Brooks Bros. and Crocodile shoes mentioned. Those really do last forever. I have a pair of leather heavy mountaineering boots made in the late '80s with hundreds of rough miles on them that are barely broken in. I wear them every winter in the snow and muck with gaitors to keep my feet warm and dry. They are Italian. I used to like Merrills, but suddenly they are made in China and fall apart after just a few hikes. So to me, cheap shoes are any shoes made in China, whether or not they are trendy or spendy.

  8. I hate buying new shoes; it takes me forever to find some that fit well, and I'm very fussy about foot comfort. When I do find some that work, I wear them out, replacing the soles as many times as possible.

    Like Four Mound Farm, I hve a pair of leather Italian hikers that are by far the best things I've ever put on my feet. I bought them at REI around 1990. Alas, I wore them out - big hole in the side of one - and cannot find any like them now. Must try to repair them!

    Advice for Every Man (Anonymous 2): Get married, quit your job, and take up farming. No further need for new shoes! (And no money with which to buy them.)


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