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I usually walk about 2km every day on roads. Shoes last less than two years. I am aware that most manufacturers suggest that shoes should last about 500 miles (800km), which corresponds approximately with this experience, but it feels wasteful, especially as for me the shoes generally only fail in two places (see below) and otherwise look good. I would like to know if there is a way to prolong their life.

I have previously tried hiking boots, running shoes, and walking shoes but in all cases the soles wear out quite quickly on these surfaces

Hole in sole (click pic to embiggen)

The second point of failure is that the inside back of the shoes (where there is contact with the heel and back of the foot) wears away. I am very careful when putting on/removing the shoes to not rub this area (I always loosen the laces all the way to the bottom eyes). I am not aware of rubbing or movement when wearing shoes, so I don't know what causes this. A possible solution that I have not yet tried is to get shoes with a leather lining rather than a fabric one. Is that likely to help, or is there something else that might lessen this type of wear?

Wear on inner lining (click pic to embiggen)

One can buy shoes that are resoleable, but since one of the problems I experience is inside the shoe (the second above), that probably wouldn't extend the life unless there is a solution for the second problem as well.

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  • Asking what is best does not constitute a lifehack. This is more of a shopping question.
    – Chenmunka
    Jul 26 at 17:08
  • 1
    Asking how to improve an unsatisfactory situation IS - It's a proper question by implication @Chenmunka
    – Stan
    Jul 26 at 18:27
  • Thanks for the vote of confidence, @Stan. I have further edited the question to hopefully make it more appropriate. Jul 26 at 19:11
  • If the shoes have lasted the accepted walking distance I don't see how you could improve on on that, however I see that the quoted 500 miles is at the bottom end of the life of walking boots. Some will last 2 or 3 times that. So I suggest you research for a more hard-wearing brand, and/or – my hack – pick up your feet more when walking. Jul 26 at 22:23
  • Cyanoacrylate glues stick rubber fairly well; have you tried glueing a piece of rubber to your sole, after you've polished it smooth but before you wear it thru?
    – Caius Jard
    Aug 1 at 11:24
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I am not sure if this tackles exactly what you were looking for and I hope I am not explaining something you have already considered but ruled out for other reasons. This might also not be considered a life hack, so not sure if this post will survive ;) (maybe worth moving to sustainable living?)

One thing that works well for me is getting my shoe soles replaced by a local shoemaker or repair shop.

Here in Germany you can often find shoe repair shops in the same shops that duplicate keys which you find inside bigger malls. I don't know how common this is in other places.

You might not be able to get the exact same sole from the same brand, but if that isn't a concern for you, this might be a good option. I have made the experience that the replacement soles were better quality and lasted longer than the original ones. Besides the soles, they usually also fix worn out places with a small leather patch.

As far as I am aware, the soles are 'just' glued on, so you could even try to diy it if there is no shoemaker in your area. I know that Vibram sells a variety of shoe soles (full, half, flat or with small heel).

They also sell shoe component kits where you can build and replace any broken part yourself without special equipment, maybe that's an option for your next pair of shoes.

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  • Most shoes are cheap and the soles can't be replaced. Not so cheap shoes have replaceable soles. But you gave to replace bofore it is worn off. That picture above is to late.
    – Bru
    Jul 28 at 10:20
  • Thank you for your thoughts (especially as your first contribution!). Sole replacement seems ideal, but, as @Bru said, I think it is not possible on all shoes, and, unless done as a DIY job (thanks for the link - I didn't know about the component kits), may be too expensive to be worthwhile to have it done professionally. I also just found this link for sole repairs: wikihow.com/Repair-a-Shoe-Sole which makes it seem like repairing some holes to make the shoes last at least a bit longer is possible. Jul 28 at 10:29
  • Another thought that might be closer to a "life hack" that I might try is to practice walking on roads (carefully!) with no shoes, so that I learn how to walk in a way that does less damage. Jul 28 at 10:33
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    Thanks. I am glad it was somewhat helpful. @Bru I agree that you need to repair your shoes before they are this worn off. I personally never had a pair of shoes that could not get their soles replaced and I have 'average' shoes and sneakers and I was surprised about the possibilities they have.
    – Steffi
    Jul 28 at 11:44

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