10 tips on how to make your footwear last longer

September 27 2020

At she wear, we want you to get the best life out of your safety boots and work shoes. We only use quality materials in our footwear however as with any type of shoe, a little TLC goes a loooooong way in helping to getting the best footwear life span!

We are often asked how long shoes should last, and that’s a difficult question to answer. Runners, for example, are recommended to turn over their shoes every 3 months. With work footwear, it really does depend on what you will be doing in your shoes. If you wear them everyday and walk great distances, you’ll turn over your footwear much quicker than someone who wears them a few times per week. If you are a worker in a high activity role such as a transport worker or nurse, you’ll potentially walk at least 10 kms per day, and that equates to over 550kms in just 1 year!! If your footwear is regularly affected by water or chemicals, the materials can break down quickly. If you walk on rough surfaces such as aggregate or bitumen, the soles will wear down much quicker than on other surfaces. So, it really does depend on many factors, however, just as importantly how well you care for them and your she wears deserve your love!

Looking after and caring for your shoes is also a major factor, so here are our 10 top tips for shoe longevity…

1. Make sure your footwear fits you correctly.

An ill-fitting shoe will not only be uncomfortable and unsupportive, but certain areas of the shoe will break down quickly. For example, if your footwear is too big and you have heel slippage, the lining will tear with the constant rubbing and the tip and heel of the soles will wear down.

2. Break them in (slowly).

Wear your new footwear around the house for short periods of time before your first long wear. Keep in mind our feet swell during the day, so wear them both in the morning and in the late afternoon. On your 1st long wear, take along another pair of shoes (just in case!). You can read more information here on getting comfy in new shoes.

3. Wet conditions affect the longevity of leather.

As a natural and permeable material, leather is not waterproof and is affected by regular exposure to water. Water also affects the colour of leather and your colour will fade quickly with consistent exposure to water (and sun). Waterproof with a quality waterproofing spray before your first wear, and on a regular basis. You can view our suggested cleaning products by clicking here. If you are regularly in water or wet conditions, we would suggest switching to gumboots during the time you’re in the wet, and then changing back to your work boots. If your boots do get wet regularly, it does affect the longevity of the leather and the expected lifespan of the boot.

4. Use your hands to remove your footwear – do not kick off.

We know… it’s just so tempting to kick off your boots after a long work day, but this is a habit to break pronto! The downward pressure of using the sole of one boot to tap off the other boot damages the heel counter and stitching after just a few short months. As our women’s work boots are contoured for a woman’s more slender ankle and foot, you get a much firmer fit around the ankle/heel area and therefore more effort is required to remove your boots. The heel stitching is reinforced and double stitched, however the consistent downward pressure of striking the boot will damage the integrity of the stitching very quickly. It’s worth taking that extra 30 seconds to take them off by hand .. and your boots will repay you for it! 

5. Clean and/or condition your footwear on a regular basis.

Remove dirt and dust, and clean and moisturise your shoes on a regular basis. You can find our cleaning and care guide by clicking here.

6. Never force dry if wet.

Always ensure your footwear is dry before your next wear. Wet shoes are a breeding ground for bacteria. Air them for a length of time and do not force dry your footwear as this will cause the leather to crack and buckle and the rubber sole to deteriorate. If your boots are wet on a regular basis (which we don’t recommend – refer #3 above), make sure to use waterproofing spray.

7. Store correctly.

Believe it or not, it’s better for your footwear to be worn on a regular basis, as rubber and glue can breakdown over time without wear. Never store outside. The best spot in your house is somewhere with a mild temperature that is dust free and has good air circulation.

8. Alternate pairs – rotate.

There are not many other types of footwear worn as regularly as work boots or work shoes, but they can break down quickly if they are not rested. Switch between two or three pairs of shoes for best results. This will give each pair of shoes time to decompress between wears.

9. Moisture wicking socks.

Good quality, moisture wicking socks are vital for long days in work boots or work shoes. We manufacture our she wear sock range with bamboo as tests have shown that bamboo fibre is up to 4 times more absorbent than cotton. This helps to absorb moisture and improve ventilation so our socks and footwear will stay dry, comfortable and less smelly! You can shop our sock range here.

10. Replace when needed.

For safety reasons, if your footwear is breaking down and showing physical signs of wear (eg. safety cap protruding, tread minimised) it's best to trade in. Looking after our feet is just so important… healthy feet = healthy bodies!

Tagged: Shoe School