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There is all kind of expectations when it comes to shoes. The more you spend, the longer one tends to feel that they should last. Unfortunately that is not always the case, especially when said person treats them like they are unbreakable and puts them through hell and back, expecting them handle all adverse weather as if it was a clear, sunny day. I have seen the best shoes get broke down in 6 months and cheap shoes last 10 years. So where is the rhyme or reason? Let’s see if we can shed some light on the idea and assume we are talking about ‘dress shoes’ and not trainers.

Shoe Price: 0-99.99

Anything in this price range is barely considered a shoe. Chances are it is not made of real leather. It is going to be entirely glued, construction wise. It was probably pumped out by the thousands a day. It is not meant to last in reality. It is meant to cover your feet for a certain period of time, breakdown and then make you get a new one. That time is dependent, like anything, on how often you wear it. Most likely you are looking at 6 months to a year, if that. And that is just how long until you physically cannot wear them anymore. They will look like crap after the first few wears and because the material won’t be real leather, it will be hard to make them look any better, even with polish. Don’t expect more than a year out of these and if you do get that, consider yourself lucky.

Meermin shoes, great value for under 200
Meermin shoes, great value for under 200

Shoe Price: 100-199.99

This is the spectrum where you can find either a piece of junk, or quite a decent entry level shoe. But it will greatly depend on how much research you do into what brand you are buying. If you buy the Hugo Boss cemented shoe for 200, chances are that they won’t last you more than two years. But if you buy the Ecco, you just might get 2-7 years out of them. And if you get a welted shoe like Meermin, and you treat it well, you could get 5-10 years out of them. But again, it is all greatly dependent on how often you wear them, how often you polish them and if you use shoe trees, shoe horns etc. Chances are though, that in this category you won’t have anything longer than 10 years.

Shoe Price; 200-399.99

If we are talking welted shoes, you can expect anywhere from 2-20 years from them, assuming you take decent care of them. If you take exceptional care of them you could have them +20 years. But that will be assuming that you rotate them, treat them kindly, give regular polishes and watch how you wear them. Welted shoes come at different levels of quality as you may well know. Cheap Spanish/Portugese made shoes are not going to be any better than a black stitched or even glued shoe. The leather they will use will be cheap and can break down quickly. Now if you are buying designer shoes at this pricepoint, chances are they are blake-stitched or glued and are using mediocre leather. Due to that, they could only last you a few years at best. This is the spectrum where it really just depends on what you are buying and how you are treating them. You can get anywhere from 2-20 years out of a pair of shoes in this category if you shop right.

Crockett & Jones shoes
Crockett & Jones shoes

Shoe Price: 400 and up

This is where one expects his shoes to last a long time and chances are that they will, because you can only pay so much for a name without having any kind of quality attached to it. Even the designer rubbish at this price point is using decent leather. The mistake that people make though is assuming the shoes are invincible and then acting accordingly, thus breaking down their shoes quickly as they treat them as if they could never be broken down. This is a foolish mentality to have as leather is only that, a once living skin. It can rip, tear, break, deteriorate, age, scratch and so forth. It is not rock. And cannot be expected to hold up like it. The more expensive a leather is does not necessarily correlate to how strong it is. Cheaper, thick cut leathers (think Red Wing shoes) can last much longer than expensive, thin cut leather (think Annonay or many French leathers). Therefore, like I have said a million times before, knowing how long your shoes will last is mainly and greatly dependent upon how well you treat them. The whole garment industry is like that. If you wear expensive suits like you are wearing a jeans and t-shirt, chances are you are going to rip/blow through them. If you wear your expensive shoes daily in harsh weather, step in puddles, spill beer on them, never shine them, dry them next to the heater, don’t use a shoe horn/tree, and wear them daily, then they are going to break down quickly. And it doesn’t matter if you spent 1000 on them. But even if you do that, chances are that you will still get at least 5 years out of them, and if you treat them well, can pass them onto your children!

Examples below are of older shoes after a good shine and how if you treat your shoes right, they can last a lifetime!

vintage brogues
vintage brogues about 40 years old


EG Boots after
Edward Green boots

7 thoughts on “How Long Should My Shoes Last?”

  1. I have Brooks Brothers shoes that I purchased almost 30 years ago. They are so uncomfortable and I have only wore them for special events BUT they are still like new! My guess is these can last 100 years! Even the Brothers Brothers bag that came with the shoes is still looking like new! The moral: Stay with the trusted quality brands. Models will not always work out but most times they will.

  2. The only shoes I’ve found that I can treat like total garbage and still be functional are Altama all-leather-upper jump boots. I have a nearly 20-year old pair that I still use for outdoor work. They’re cracked and splitting, but the sole is still firmly attached, they don’t smell, and they’re the most comfortable shoes I own to date!

  3. last good shoes i had lasted 15 years with silly faux leather disintegrating real leather was still good, cost was like 100euros new… purchased again same manufacturers full leather shoe. look and behold lasted few weeks and unsuprisingly they filed soon for bankrupcy… switched shoe maker forgot they had the pu-sole’s yeah 1.5 years and soles are already cracked… lol?
    i wear shoes only during winter but on daily basis…

    reality is in old days shoe makers made real products with high quality materials, now were being sold low quality stuff and we pay for brand name enormous sums… if i look up shoe makers that i know to manufacture good quality shoes i cant get pair for less than 700+euros custom made… which back in day of small cobblers, here would have costed like max 70euros when accounting for inflation.. quality of products have plummeted and the actual quality has gone up in costs so much it makes me doubt my sanity….

    1. Justin FitzPatrick

      Thank you for sharing John and yes a lot has indeed changed from manufacturing 30-40 years ago to what it is now. The world blinded by profits tend to make materials lower and lower quality and charging higher and higher prices for them

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