Cheap Hanwags. (The kind I've owned and worn for close to 15 years now.) They ship to the US.
Are there any vegetarian/vegan shoes that will last multiple years? I usually own a pair of sneakers or hiking boots and a pair of light sandals/camp shoes. My feet do a lot of walking, hiking, and cycling so comfort here is most important. Unfortunately, I seem to be able to beat the crap out of synthetic shoes within a year. Any ideas? Think there's just nothing like animal skin?
Someone should make a web portal people like us can trust, exclusively linking to high quality, durable products. Boots, shoes, backpacks, bedding, socks, coats, clothing, knives, cookware, tools, etc.. Could be worthwhile, the webmaster makes a little on affiliate sales/commissions, the consumer gets good information without having to hope someone on the forum happens to know about the particular product we need. Done with a little style I'm sure it could appeal to more than just ERE-ers too, there would probably be a wide market base.
It's so hard to know if something is high quality, or just over priced, until after you've tested it yourself. We need someone we can trust.
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@MikeBOS - This site may cover some of your wishes:
and since you may have an urge to not only use cool tools...but also dress like one:
I've had a pair of Blundstone 510 for a year and a half, only really wearing them in the cooler weather. They're pretty good if you want a slip-on short boot that's pretty simple and black in appearance. I'm pretty sure they're going to last many, many years.
In the warmer months, I like wearing footwear that's a lot lighter and less rigid, e.g. cheap canvas shoes (Vans or cheaper versions of that sort of thing) or the Vibram Fivefingers. The former seems to be cheap enough for the length of wear I get out of them, the latter has been surprisingly durable so far, though it needs weekly washing.
Go barefoot! I've been doing this for about a month now in NYC. The only time I put on shoes is when I ride my bike. I know it sounds ridiculous, and it would be if I did it for budget reasons, but I'm actually doing it for health. The climate will sometimes force you to put something on your feet--I plan to use moccasins rather than Vibrams and the like (Vibrams make my feet smell).
I would say I've put 50 miles (10 days) on the Norwegian welt boots. They're no longer uncomfortable.
Certainly not good yet, but it's starting to feel like they will be at some point. :D
... I too prefer barefoot, but it's not really feasible here most of the year. I do use a pair of 5finger treks a couple times a week. They've been remarkably durable, and they don't really smell if you only wear them with clean feet (just out of shower).
Wearing boots all the time really was starting to stunt my little toe. Now it's back and I've recovered my wider foot (and foot strength) thanks to the vibrams.
Just put 10 miles on boots without a blister... In another 3-6 months, I think these will be my favorite boots.
The break it:
*Has taken 11 months wearing them 1-3 days a week, still not done IMO.
*Wore through the original laces and an extra pair I had... Switched to leather laces, so far so good.
*Only 1 stitch, near back heal, has come loose. Burned it down to leather.
*Insides no longer nice white leather :c and boots in general certainly do not look like dress shoes... I think I should oil them. Or something, will have to research care.
*Amazingly solid, I would be really surprised if the didn't make it at least 3 more years daily use. Would be pleased with 5, but hoping for 10!
I'm looking for durable sandals. I have a closet full of AE oxfords (pre china models) that I wore when I worked. Durable when wear is distributed over a dozen pairs...so not durable really. During a particular pairs life I'd resole four times. They are nice but you'll destroy them outside the office.
I got some garage sale sandals that I wear everyday now. "High Sierra" brand. They are just a loop of leather over a rubber sole. Rubber sole wears like a car tire. I'm looking for sandals like this that offer toe protection for shopping carts. Keen looks promising but I'm not sure how long they last...and they seem pricey.
As a grad student redwing short boots were unbeatable for durability. But you look like a construction worker if that bugs you. Oiling helps breakin and longevity. Use neats oil.
Keene has some cool sandals that are durable, and veggie friendly as well!
I think this is one of the links of such.
Got the keen sandals. Comfy lightly used pair. Wore them on a road trip to couch surf at pals. Sturdy but may eventually fail where strap hits sole. Funny thing, soft comfy insoles may be a durability trade off.
Got comments from the non extreme early retired. These old guys walk a lot for kicks and like sandals...go figure. They universally recommend Josef Seibel brand. keen looked too hip. I'll check up on the JS shoes. The leather looked tough.
Done a month straight in welt boots, feeling very good... They're starting to look pretty terrible, however. Anyone have any tips for making them look good enough to get on a plane?
I'm thinking I'll use some brown Kiwi polish and a snoseal on top of that... Looked around on web but couldn't find a reliable info source on care.
Would any of these recommendations hold up to a 4 mile/day pavement commute? I've found that, for higher quality shoes, the cost of replacing the heels and/or/ soles is higher than treating cheap shoes as disposable. This may not be sustainable, but for now I'm not sure I have another choice unless I become my own cobbler and find a wholesale source of materials.
P.S. My heel wears quickly due to the shape of my feet and the way I walk. I can't really walk slower if I want to keep the commute short.
Dragoncar - my current Redwobg soles wore more quickly than I expected - from my <1 mile commute. I wonder if there are boots/shoes with soles meant to last while walking on sidewalks. That seems to wear out the soles much faster than walking on carpet, wood, grass, or smooth stone floors. I'm planning on trying to get my current Redwings re-soled soon, and I've been wondering how much it will cost (it's $90 to send them to Redwing, and I'm expecting it will be cheaper if I can get it done locally
@dragoncar - How fast are you going through shoes? My Rockports have lasted nearly three years with a 2 mile commute a day (two of those three years). They are starting to look a little worn as I'm not the type to use polish or anything. At this point, the sole is nearly worn. They were about $140CAN new I think.
Like you, I do mostly side walk walking and often wonder if a cheaper throw-away shoe makes more sense sometimes.
The best shoes I ever had were skateboarding shoes. They are meant to be used against the gritty board and on sidewalks. I wish I could have found a replacement that was good enough to wear to work when those wore out.