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Shoe advice...

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by frenchji, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. mymil

    mymil Senior member

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    I'm not surprised crappy uppers deteriorated quickly (in terms of number of days worn). I'm curious whether you think it's more because they were crappy, because you didn't condition them regularly enough, or because you wore them multiple days in a row? It seems like the first two are the more likely culprits.
     
  2. mcbrown

    mcbrown Senior member

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    I actually think it's the third, for various reasons. Of course I recognize that my sample of... well, me... is hardly a scientific study. Anyway, here is my analysis of the other two possible factors:

    1. Crappy leather: Possibly a contributor, but on the other hand I have a pair of fake leather Dr. Marten boots (don't ask) that were my primary bad weather shoe for about a decade, and with no upper care other than occasional wax polishing, the uppers have outlasted the soles. Granted these are synthetic, but I have a great deal of experience with synthetic leather shoes (again, don't ask) and in my experience fake leather is far more prone to cracking than real leather, not the other way around. Since these Dr. Marten's (a) were used disproportionately in bad conditions compared to my other shoes, (b) have soles in need of replacement (indicating that they have had considerable use over their life), and (c) still have not cracked, I conclude that some combination of care and rest has preserved them.

    2. Insufficient conditioning: Possible, but eons ago I was a frequent traveler and made liberal use of the airport shoeshine stand. So my shoes didn't get the care they do now post-SF, but they received a frequent dose of cream polish of some variety. And it's true that my shoes lasted longer in my road warrior days than after, presumably because of the additional care, but I was still replacing them about every year.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  3. mymil

    mymil Senior member

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    But why would it take fewer successive days of flexing the vamp (i.e. wearing the shoes) than flexing the vamp only on alternate days? I just can't think of a good reason for it, because it's not as though the leather heals while it's resting.
     
  4. dddrees

    dddrees Senior member

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    You can go to almost any place where proper shoe care is discussed and they will all recomend making sure your shoe gets at least one day off between wearing for this very reason.
     
  5. mcbrown

    mcbrown Senior member

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    I'm not a scientist in the field of leather care. I can speculate as to reasons why this effect exists but I can't prove them to you to a reasonable statistical confidence. I'm happy to speculate if you wish, but I would suggest doing your own research with better experts than me.
     
  6. mymil

    mymil Senior member

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    ^ Feel free to speculate, I have my salt ready.
     
  7. mcbrown

    mcbrown Senior member

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    Well, in that case...

    When a shoe is on your foot, even if you are not walking, a couple of things are happening to it:

    1) the shoe is at an elevated temperature
    2) the shoe is absorbing moisture from your foot
    3) even if you aren't walking, your foot is not completely still and is therefore subtly flexing the shoe throughout the day

    When the shoe does not have adequate rest, the upper never completely discharged the moisture accumulated through the day. When the leather stays too moist day after day, the elevated temperature and constant motion damage the leather. Giving the leather 24-36 hours to rest allows the excess moisture to completely exit the shoe, and the next time you wear the show it will have the capacity to take a day's worth of wear and moisture better.

    Of course it's not a hard line: your shoes won't just fall apart if you wear them 2 or 3 or 10 days in a row - when I travel on vacation I usually try to bring just one pair of shoes, and they live. But if done for months on end I fully believe it takes a noticeable toll.
     
  8. SirTristan

    SirTristan Member

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    I view walking in shoes equivalent to mileage on a car. A casual boot might be the best bet for everyday use. Chukka boots comes to mind but don't listen to me. I'm knew this part of the fashion world.
     

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