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disappointing lifespan for shoes

Posted: January 26th, 2018, 5:50 pm
by arlohike
I've had three pairs of light hiking shoes -- one Salomon and two Zamberlan -- with GoreTex liners for winter (rain) use, and they've all ripped holes in the same place in the uppers in a disappointingly short time. Once the uppers are ripped, the liners soon follow and then my feet are soaking.

I added up my mileage since I bought the last pair, and I've only hiked 270 miles in them. These are not cheap shoes -- $180 MSRP for the Zamberlans -- and it doesn't seem right to replace them this often. So, my questions:

1) Are my expectations too high for the durability of these kinds of shoes?

2) Is there anything I can do to repair them, or proactively prolong the lifespan of my next pair? I've tried covering the holes in Shoe Goo, but that didn't seem to help, and peeled off quickly.

3) Can you suggest something more durable? I'm a vegan, so unfortunately that greatly limits my options (no leather).

I can say definitively that the GoreText works (until it breaks)! With a hole in one shoe but not the other, I've been coming home with one sock clean and dry and the other soaking wet and muddy.

And actually, feeling around inside the shoe, I can't find a place where the liner feels torn or broken. But they are definitely leaking, seemingly from the spot where the upper has torn.

Re: disappointing lifespan for shoes

Posted: January 26th, 2018, 7:15 pm
by adamschneider
I've come to the conclusion that spending a ton of money for fancy waterproof shoes is usually disappointing. Here are ways to get around that:

1) Buy cheap shoes. They might not last quite as long, but they might be a better deal in the end. Spending $50 for 1 year is better than spending $150 for 2 years. (Of course, the waste factor is annoying.)

2) Wear waterproof socks instead (e.g., Sealskinz). I don't know how their lifespan is, but they're way cheaper than shoes.

3) Only wear your waterproof shoes when you really need them to be waterproof. If it's probably going to be dry(ish), or if it's a short enough outing that damp socks won't ruin your day, wear your old leaky shoes or a cheap pair that doesn't even pretend to be weathertight.

I mostly use strategy #3 myself. The good boots only come out when necessary.

Re: disappointing lifespan for shoes

Posted: January 26th, 2018, 10:36 pm
by pcg
I buy Zamberlans and Lowas. I immediately coat all seams with seam sealer when the boot is new. This isn’t for waterproofing, it’s to keep the stitching on the seams from abraiding and failing, which then lets in dirt, which causes the Goretex to fail. This roughly doubles the life of the boot for me.

Re: disappointing lifespan for shoes

Posted: January 27th, 2018, 6:23 am
by Guy
Yeah, I find it highly annoying too! when I was running a lot it was even worse shoes designed to wear out at about 300 miles no matter the brand. I used to push them to 400 but it's unfathomable that they couldn't make shoes that would last longer than 300 miles if they wanted too!

I've hiked mostly in hi-tec shoes for years because I considered them good value for money lower in price & I could regularly get 500 - 700 miles out of them. Now these too start falling apart at 300 - 400 miles.

Re: disappointing lifespan for shoes

Posted: January 27th, 2018, 7:16 am
by kepPNW
I've seen hiking shoes blown out in under 200 miles many times.

More than a few pair have actually cost me more per-mile than driving a 3/4-ton Suburban back when gas was >$4!

Hell no, your expectations aren't out of line. It's infuriating.

Re: disappointing lifespan for shoes

Posted: January 27th, 2018, 9:41 am
by arlohike
adamschneider wrote: 1) Buy cheap shoes. They might not last quite as long, but they might be a better deal in the end. Spending $50 for 1 year is better than spending $150 for 2 years.
Right. I could get into a routine of a new pair every year if they weren't so expensive. I found a Columbia XCRSN OutDry shoe on sale for $69 and I might give those a try next.
adamschneider wrote: 2) Wear waterproof socks instead (e.g., Sealskinz). I don't know how their lifespan is, but they're way cheaper than shoes.
Ah, I'd never thought of that! But Sealskinz are $50/pair and contain wool. The cheapest brand at REI was $30/pair. I'll explore that more.
pcg wrote:keep the stitching on the seams from abraiding and failing, which then lets in dirt, which causes the Goretex to fail. This roughly doubles the life of the boot for me.
Mine don't tear at the seams, but at the point even with the ball of the foot where the shoe flexes the most. But are you saying it's dirt inside, rather than tears in the lining, that causes them to leak? In that case I'll give mine a good cleaning and see if that makes a difference.

Re: disappointing lifespan for shoes

Posted: January 27th, 2018, 9:54 am
by arlohike
BTW all three pairs have started leaking right around 14 months after purchase (I only hike in the winter months, so that's about eight months of use). With the first pair, I called Salomon and asked, "Is this normal," and they said, "We have a two-year warranty, so just take them back to REI and exchange them." REI gave me a pretty thorough guilt trip before refunding my purchase price. That's when I "upgraded" to the Zamberlans, which didn't last any longer and only have a one-year warranty. I bought a second pair of Zamberlans because they were really comfortable, but now I'm ready to try something different.

Re: disappointing lifespan for shoes

Posted: January 27th, 2018, 4:55 pm
by Chip Down
I too am disgusted with the garbage foisted on us by the footwear industry. I've tried various brands, and I'm willing to pay for quality, but there's clearly a conspiracy afoot. Admittedly there are certain brands I haven't tried because of last issues (as opposed to lasting issues, which is the subject of this discussion).

Perhaps my best boot value ever was HiTec Altitude on sale at a major retailer (brick/mortar) for $70. I figured I didn't have much to lose. Destroyed them in about 8 weeks, I think. HiTec website said take 'em back to the retailer if they fail. I did, with printed page from website. Had to talk to a manager at the retailer, but she agreed, and I got my money back. Tempting to just keep doing that over and over. Free boots for life! :D

Surprisingly, I actually broke the last pair of boots I bought. I know what you're thinking: it's not possible to "break" a boot. Well, they're mountaineering boots, so the soft flexible grippy sole is cemented to a rigid plastic foundation, which has actually developed a vertical transverse crack. I'm waiting for them to tell me it's "flexibility enhancing feature".

Re: disappointing lifespan for shoes

Posted: January 28th, 2018, 10:04 am
by bghiker
Not sure which Salomon shoes you are buying but I have bought several pairs of the XA pro 3D gtx's (the goretex model) over the last several years and they have served me well. I wear them both at work, home, and on the trail and I usually get about 3-4 years of life out of them before they start to leak. I am an RN and routinely put about 12-14K steps on them a day at work plus daily wear and hiking. They list for about $140 a pair but I can usually get them on Amazon for closer to $100.

I do wear actual hiking boots (Zamberlains and Lowas) when I go out on hikes of more than a couple miles but I think that the price is for the Salomon's is more than fair for the use I get out of them...

Just my $.02

Eric

Re: disappointing lifespan for shoes

Posted: January 28th, 2018, 12:15 pm
by texasbb
I pretty regularly get two seasons out of a pair of hiking boots. After that, they lose their structure in the footbed/sole and the uppers start to wear in high-flex areas. If they remain waterproof through the first season I consider them exceptional.