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I don't really believe this anymore. Basically because of this theory my last pair of boots want the nicest I could find, high quality materials, hand made construction, almost $500, thinking it was an investment and I'd never have to go shoe shopping again. Well, I've had to repair them once already, and frankly with how cheap boots are at Walmart I don't think anymore I'll ever break even. Nice boots, though, and a pleasure to wear.



I believe the common wisdom isn't that high-quality things necessarily are any slower to wear out; but rather that when they do wear out, they do so in non-critical ways, with specially-designated easily-replaceable sacrificial parts wearing out to protect the whole.

E.g. with shoes with leather soles, you can just pry them off and tack on a new sole; with an expensive couch with good framing, you can just reupholster the thing; etc.

Likewise, clothes considered higher-quality are usually made of materials that can "absorb" re-stitching; while clothes made of "expensive" but not "high-quality" materials (e.g. modern sports fabrics) will tear and then there's nothing you can really do; any patch sewn onto them would fall back off the first time they're put through the wash.


Extremes are bad at both ends. Really cheap shoes don’t last 2 months. Some cheap clothes don’t last the first wash.

However, finding the sweet spot is rarely 100x the cheap version it’s more like 2-10x. The risk is not just normal use some times things get lost etc.


I think there's a middle ground. I bought 110€ winter shoes 11-12 years ago and they've worked fine (with one resoling) this far -- now I've worn through the inner material and will probably have to find a new pair.

Same for my 100€ winter jacket, sits and looks great still after 10 years. It's def not lovingly handcrafted but a level up from fast fashion anyway.


So in short: Vimes' "Boots" Theory of Economic Injustice is incomplete without taking the Pareto Principle into consideration as well


Many (most?) types of expensive things are thought to be "more durable" because their users take much more care of them (because they are expensive!) than of their cheap equivalent.


Do you wear them daily? Even boots from Alden or Viberg should be rotated with at least one other pair.


Yeah, any leather shoes will wear out much faster if you don't let them sit and dry out after wearing.

Shoe trees can vastly prolong the lifespan of a pair of shoes.


Are you stomping through mud puddles daily with your shoes?

Regular foot sweat should be long since evaporated away with just an overnight stay in the shoe closet unless perhaps you live in an un-airconditioned house in a swamp.

I wear the same pair of leather shoes every day and in the end it's the soles that wear out, not the leather. They aren't even fancy shoes, just run of the mill Dockers.


That's a great failure mode as you can simply get them re-soled.


Theoretically, but the couple of times I've checked it would cost pretty much the same or more to re-sole my shoes as it would be to buy a brand new pair. It's pretty hard to find anybody who even does that anymore, and their clients are people with extremely expensive imported dress shoes.


Not sure where you are but in the UK Timpsons are absolutely everywhere (although the quality and pricing of repairs seems pretty hit and miss - some stores are excellent, others less so).

And there are still plenty of independent shops kicking about. Most places offering lock smith services also offer shoe repair.


Huh. So you are saying if I have 2 pairs of identical shoes, A and B, if I wear A for T months, then B for T months, by alternating every day I should get >2T months out?


You absolutely get > 2T out. Potentially up to 4T.

This is because much of the wear on your shoes does not come from steps and hitting the ground. It comes from sweat and moisture inside the shoe, and the inside of your shoe takes a REALLY long time to dry out fully.

If you wanted to extend of life of a shoe without rotating pairs you can also buy a shoe drying rack. This is what a lot of people in construction do with extensive work boots.


I have so many pairs of shoes now that I only wear some of them a few times a year. I only ever buy ones that I’ll have forever on deep discount (picked up a couple pair of Allen Edmonds for $100 each recently).

For the price of 2 Allen Edmonds bought retail, I could have 7 pairs of their timeless shoes, rotate them regularly, and never buy shoes again.

In reality, I have 4. 2 brown and 2 black, and that’s more than enough. My Dad has the same, and is still wearing his from the 80s on a daily basis.


The top of the line Allen Edmonds dress shoes (forget the model right now) are really high quality uppers. You can re-sole them many times.


Yes, it allows the materials to dry out and prevents microscopic damage from hydrolysis or mould et al.


This is an old wive's tale.


Why not find a company with a lifetime warranty? My dailies are https://www.goruck.com/macv-1/ and they offer to lifetime-fix-or-replace anything you manage to break or wear out. This brand may be a bit too "military" for you but I'm sure there are other manufacturers out there that actually stand behind their products, no?




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