Durable shoes

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Post by teewonk » Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:21 pm


Have you found any shoes you're satisfied with?

Would you describe how to resole a Clark's desert boot? After failing in my shoe quest, I bought a "Beeswax" pair last week because they're cheap and have full-grain leather uppers, but the crepe soles look like they'll wear down fast. Would you replace it with crepe or another kind of sole?
I saw some Allen Edmonds monk straps at Goodwill, but they were about 3 sizes too big.

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Post by KevinW » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:11 pm


Thanks for asking. There have been a lot of great suggestions but so far none has been *perfect*. I guess I want some kind of oxford, in black for versatility, with full grain leather and Goodyear/Norwegian welt construction as you suggested. So far the only new Paraboots seem to meet all those criteria and I'm having a hard time rationalising the $400ish price tag.
I've been going down the police/postal path and found a couple candidates. Rocky makes shoes they claim are full-grain leather and Goodyear welted, e.g.

http://www.rockyboots.com/Product-Detai ... er-Oxford/
Also Bates makes Goodyear-welted shoes, and while they don't say full-grain on their website,

http://www.batesfootwear.com/US/en-US/P ... mensions=0

other retailers do say full-grain, e.g.

I said "claim" because those are in the $90-$130 range which is suspiciously cheaper than Paraboot, Church, etc. I wonder if there's a catch. Or maybe they're just cheaper because they are mass produced and aren't a fashionable name brand? Any thoughts?

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Post by teewonk » Sun Jun 12, 2011 8:14 pm

This Put This On post talking about quality vs. country of origin says those Bates are not made of full-grain leather. Frustrating, isn't it?
Good luck. I think I'm going to wait it out for an amazing thrift store find. If that doesn't work, my brother lives near an Allen Edmonds outlet, and I'll take a look when I visit him.

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Post by KevinW » Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:08 am

Frustrating, yes!
Thanks for the information. I'll post back here if I find any better options.

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Post by Roark » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:49 pm

The most durable shoes I have are a pair of huaraches from invisibleshoe.com , inspired by the shoes of the legendary Tarahumara Indians who run the Copper Canyons of Mexico. If you haven't done so yet, read the best-selling book Born To Run. I have never heard a report of these shoes being worn out. The cheapest kit to make them is also about $10.00. They are extremely comfortable (as if you were unshod) and they do not alter your gait in a way that is evolutionarily novel. Once you see the shoes, you could probably get an idea of how to make them yourself out of your own materials, but I rate the sole material they sell on the site as high quality.
If you get a chance, try to do some reading on how modern footwear affects gait and running stride. We are running an experiment in heel-striking since the development of the elevated heel running shoe in the 1970's by Nike. For about 40 years we have been striking with our heel while running, for the history of walking upright we have been evolving a foot which was suited for landing on the ball of the foot while running.

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Post by jacob » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:59 pm

Cheap Hanwags. (The kind I've owned and worn for close to 15 years now.) They ship to the US.

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Post by rachels » Tue Aug 30, 2011 12:25 am

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?

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Post by mikeBOS » Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:46 am

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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Post by jacob » Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:51 am

@mikeBOS - I've thought about that and made a few false starts as well. It's harder than it sounds. For instance, all the good stuff rarely comes with affiliate arrangements. It doesn't need to.

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Post by C40 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:02 am

@Rachels - I don't actually know much about shoes, and I'm sure the options have increased a lot lately... but there's probably a good reason people have been wearing leather shoes for thousands of years.

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Post by JasonR » Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:35 am

Last edited by JasonR on Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by AnotherAustinite » Sat Sep 10, 2011 3:13 pm

Don't you guys hate the way those thick-soled leather shoes feel?
I started wearing "minimalist" footwear from Terra Plana. They're expensive and I doubt they will last forever but they feel so much better (almost like walking barefoot).

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Post by ICouldBeTheWalrus » Sat Sep 10, 2011 5:27 pm

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.

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Post by NYC ERE » Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:25 pm

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).

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Post by ICouldBeTheWalrus » Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:58 pm

I spent a summer in college walking around barefoot. Considered trying it here (California) in more recent times, but it's so damned dry in the summer that the pavement's so dusty and dirty.

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Post by JohnnyH » Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:03 pm

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.

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Post by JohnnyH » Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:21 pm

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!

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Post by Sclass » Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:22 am

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.

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Post by Dragline » Thu Aug 30, 2012 3:22 am

I have gone the cheap route with these. I have been able to buy "Alpine Design" sandals for about $30 on sale. They last a long time -- i.e., until they start smelling like my feet before I wear them. Well, that's a few years on average anyway.

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Post by anomie » Thu Aug 30, 2012 3:46 am

Keene has some cool sandals that are durable, and veggie friendly as well!
I think this is one of the links of such.
http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/67824?pi ... google_pla

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