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Durable, repairable shoes?

 
Erik Lee
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Location: Zone 6 - Missouri
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I was looking over my collection of cheap junk shoes, thinking I'd much rather have one really good pair of shoes that might last me most of the rest of my life (with repairs obviously), but then I realized I don't know of any shoe brands that make that sort of footwear. The best shoes I currently own are birkenstock sandals, which are fine for some things but not really appropriate for tromping in the woods or digging swales... Is anyone here aware of a shoe maker that makes quality shoes for the long term?
 
wayne stephen
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Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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I once heard of a chinese work shirt made of hemp that you could hand down to your grandson. Boots and shoes could be repaired forever I guess if they were handmade by a skilled craftsman who promised to do the repairs. Back in the 1980s there was a wayfaring schoolbus living hippy fellow that made beautiful leather boots - custom fit - with soles made from conveyor belt material that lasted forever. When the leather tops wore through , he would patch this back together. They were a patchwork type of design anyway. I wonder if he is still around , but find someone like that - Modern shoes and boots are designed to wear out and be replaced - Hurrah for Conspicuos Consumption - Fords' in His Flivver !
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I stopped going through shoes when I finally got some workboots. You have to shop around but there are workboots which are US made. I accidentally bought some China-made Justin boots, though they do make some of their boots in the US I didn't read the fine print on mine, but I am very happy with how they're holding up so far. My "going to town shoes" are San Antonio Shoes, made in San Antonio, Texas. These are pretty durable but the urethane soles wear out eventually and SAS does not repair them. Historically shoes were things which needed repair every now and then, mostly resoling probably. Native Americans repaired their moccasins frequently. If one learned to make moccasins and had a source of leather, one could have shoes indefinitely for little money.

 
adam harms
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Check out Arrow Moccasins. Handmade in Hudson, MA from really thick leather that breaks in nicely. A cobbler could add a sole if you wanted, but so far the double leather sole on my two eye mocs is doing fine walking and riding around Austin. I don't think you can find a higher quality pair of shoes for the price. I would recommend sending a tracing of your foot as the toe box is a little narrow.

Also, Russell Moccasin. They are a little more expensive and take longer to get but can be resoled and should last a lifetime. I've had my eyes on a pair of minimalist Thula Thulas for a while now, just can't seem to pull the trigger.

Consider getting shoes without heels and a wide toe box that allow your feet to function as nature intended. They might take some getting used to, but in the long run your posture and balance will improve. They will also give you more of a connection with the ground you walk on.

Peace.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3304
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Can you find a cobbler to repair them? They are getting hard to find.

There are still made-in-the-USA boots with stitch-down (repairable) soles, but they will cost you. The USA Danners are around $300 IIRC.

Moccasins or tire tread sandals are good DIY options. http://www.hollowtop.com/sandals.htm
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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Most of the made in america Danners are re-soleable and rebuildable.

He isn't kidding tho, i finally had to quit selling them, 300 a pair is just too expensive to even keep em in stock.
They do have an outlet store up in Portland tho. Look thru the styles, and give em a call. if you find blems, they are typically 200.

They also used to resole Kaibab mocs down in Tucson. Just don't get the Kaibab SHOPS. they do customized versions, starting at 300.
Started using italian lasts, and got too narrow for my customers. Cow stomach leather bottoms.
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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Thorogood is making some pretty good stich down, US made ones too. They don't rebuild like danner tho, and mostly steel toe.

Wider fit than Danner tho. The old Merrell wilderness is still being made too. You can find a list of tough boots made for hiking with stichdown on the NOLs gear list. National Outdoor Leadership school.
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Morgan Morrigan wrote:
He isn't kidding tho, i finally had to quit selling them, 300 a pair is just too expensive to even keep em in stock.
They do have an outlet store up in Portland tho. Look thru the styles, and give em a call. if you find blems, they are typically 200.


I (regular Joe customer) can actually call the outlet story and order over the phone? That would be cool.
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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Yup, call the regular number, and then one of the options will ask ffor the outlet store
 
Thekla McDaniels
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I've seen fine handmade footwear at craftshows. In particular, it seems like there was a shoemaker at the annual Carbondale Mountain Faie, in Carbondale Colorado. He would measure your foot take your order, you could see a lot of his shoes there in his booth. I'm guessing they are good shoes......
I knew a boot maker in California, who had come from Hells Canyon Idaho, so I think if you are persistent you could find a real shoe maker to make you some real shoes!

Mostly I wear Keen's, because of the shape of the foot box or what ever they call it.... and dog chewed crocs, and teva or chaco sandals. They last a long time, and when no good for going to town, they still last years on the farm.

thekla
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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mekanboot.com

used to make climbing shoes and boots for folks with 6 toes..
his old site isnt coming up , but here is a pic.
he used to resole too, in SLC, Utah

http://roundyboots.com/hiking_boots.htm
 
Erik Lee
Posts: 104
Location: Zone 6 - Missouri
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Excellent! Thanks for all of the replies. Now I know what I should be saving up to get footwear wise. These seem to run about 10 times the cost of the cheapo stuff I've been getting, but I suspect they'll last quite a bit longer than the 8-10 years I'd get out of the equivalent expense worth of cheap shoes. I thought the combo of tire sandals with mocs was cool too, I think I'll have to try that while my shoe fund builds up...
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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8-10 years is all you will get with any leather boot. Foot acids and alkalais will rot the boot leather out from the inside, even if you are using leather conditioners on the outside. If you are not blowing the soles off of your current boots, and the midsole (the hard liner under the cushy insole) is not cupped or cross hatched with squares, you can stick with your midprice boots. If the midsole is cupped, it will force the bones in your forefoot to grind together, eliminating the fat between the joints, and leading to lots of pain and misery for the rest of your years. Most likely surgery too, and it rarely works well.

You want longer, you will have to go with a synthetic. try Kayland. mostly in canada.
 
David Miller
Posts: 279
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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I had a pair of Danners for 13 years with two re-soles and made the poor decision to leave the muddied boots on my front porch. I will miss them forever!
 
Matt Smith
Posts: 181
Location: Central Ohio, Zone 6A - High water table, heavy clay.
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Morgan Morrigan wrote:Thorogood is making some pretty good stich down, US made ones too. They don't rebuild like danner tho, and mostly steel toe.

Wider fit than Danner tho. The old Merrell wilderness is still being made too. You can find a list of tough boots made for hiking with stichdown on the NOLs gear list. National Outdoor Leadership school.


I have a pair of Thorogoods (basically a copy of Red Wing Irish Setters) that I've really enjoyed. Good USA company that uses top-quality materials. They broke in perfectly and with regular care they should last me a good number of years. I can resole them if needed.

It really does pay to try out a lot of boots until you find what you like. Boots are highly subjective.
 
Rob Meyer
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If you want advice on what NOT to buy, steer clear of Timberland's Earthkeeper line. I bought the Moc Toe, and within 5 months, they had busted at the front seams and the soles were so far off, it was like I was wearing flip flops. I'm sure I can repair them, but for close to a hundred bucks, I expected something of better quality. They rope you in with the "green"-ness, recycled rubber, sustainable leather, environmental impact assessments, but in terms of a quality shoe, they failed. Maybe they've improved the quality of their later models, but mine sucked to put it bluntly.
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
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I haven't been able to find a shoe that can survive 4 months on my feet. Even the really nice work boots won't make the 1/2 a year mark, until the stitching starts to go and then the soles shortly thereafter.

I am convinced I should be a shoe tester. If they can survive 6 months on me, they'll make it 80 years on a normal person.
 
Bella Donawitz
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Red wings have always really kicked butt (had mine for 10+ yrs died due to dog)

Also check out Fry or some other german boots that have stacked heels(then you can have them re-souled)
 
Zalmen Mlotek
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Don't forget Limmer, Quoddy, Gronell and Alico. They all make resoleable boots.
 
garrett lacey
Posts: 72
Location: Edmonton Alberta
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I found a pair of Prospectors at value village that have stitched welts, and there's a couple shoe repair places in my town so i'll be able to have them resoled when necessary. They cost me 3 bucks! Nice quality boot. I'd keep my eye open for something like that, they WILL appear.
 
Nathan Wrzesinski
Posts: 79
Location: Austin Texas
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My Goretex combat boots are great, I have had them for 7 years. the only repair I have needed was to resole it, it's up for a new sole, I am thinking of cutting up an old tire and using the tread from it as the sole. Maybe it will work, maybe not, but its fun to try!

 
Rick Brodersen
Posts: 53
Location: Bainbridge Island,WA
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I would also recommend Danner boots as well, look on ebay for good deals on used or 2nd boots if you know what size and style you like. I have 5 pairs, 2 of which are over 15 years old. 2 are gortex for winter etc, 3 are non gortex and are for hot weather/summer. I have had one of them rebuilt at the factory for about $75, you just need to find the ones with the stitching exposed along the bottom. You could theoretically restitch them yourself even using old tires (seen a diy article that a guy cut up his old car tires and put them on an old pair of danners) I recently picked up a pair of the USMC for $120, originally $340...on ebay and there not even 2nds, allot of guys get them for deployment and then not use them or sell them and buy cheaper boots.
 
John Polk
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If you do decide to restitch your own, may I suggest a strong and durable twine that is both cheap, and easily found:

Dental floss
 
C Hopper
Posts: 24
Location: Southwest Florida, Zone 10a, Elevation 12ft, 52in precipitation, tropical wet and dry savanna type
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Does anyone have any experience with White's Boots?

They have a patented 'arch ease' support that intrigues me, as well as being completely rebuildable. http://www.whitesboots.com/index.php?dispatch=pages.view&page_id=29
 
Zach Baker
Posts: 39
Location: Upstate New York, Zone 6
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Does anyone know of any company making boots similar to Muck Boots, but more durable? I love that the Mucks are waterproof, comfy, and not made of leather, but I'm sick of them falling apart. If anyone could point me to some boots that have the same good qualities, but last, I'd appreciate it. I'm vegan and don't wear leather. I know the glues in Muck Boots are probably not vegan and their production was probably chemical heavy, but I really don't want to wear a CAFO product (I understand that some people look at cow hide as a by-product of the industry, my opinion is that it is a product).
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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