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Somewhere in Esquire a long time ago I read something to the effect of "$100 shoes will last you a year. $400 shoes will last you a decade. $1000 shoes will last you a lifetime."

While I hate these little one-liners that magazines often provide (they're always way to generalized, and often downright false), I wonder what you guys have to say about it.

That is, what is the expected lifetime of the most popular shoes on this forum, such as:

AE, pre-new-ownership and current ownership
Alden
Greene
Ferragamo/Prada/blah blah blah
And others such as Bass and the like?

Now, let's assume we're taking proper care of them, including shoe trees at all times when not wearing, and occasional shoe cream, and visits to the cobbler when necessary. Also, I suppose a distinction has to be made between leather and shell cordovan.
 

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The key variable you left out is how often you wear them. I've got some shoes that are like new (but 10 years old) because I wear them so infrequently, and others that are less than three years old and on their last legs (but worn a couple of times a week).
 

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I think shoes lasting a lifetime if you wear them once a week is nonsense.

My Edward Green shoes wear out after about 5 years this is after lots of care and re soling. I wear each shoe once a week.

Prada shoes last a couple of years.
 

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The key variable you left out is how often you wear them. I've got some shoes that are like new (but 10 years old) because I wear them so infrequently, and others that are less than three years old and on their last legs (but worn a couple of times a week).
+1 and an excellent point. With the number of shoes presently in my collection and the resultant frequency with which each is worn, I cannot imagine any of them (high end or otherwise) ever really wearing out! :( However, even back in the days I had only a few pairs of shoes in my closet, my AEs' have always given me 10 or (considerably) more years of service.
 

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I think shoes lasting a lifetime if you wear them once a week is nonsense.

My Edward Green shoes wear out after about 5 years this is after lots of care and re soling. I wear each shoe once a week.

Prada shoes last a couple of years.
Wow- you are hard on your shoes- or your sense of "worn out" is different.

I've a pair of AE's that are about ten years old- they're having new welts, soles and heels put on this week. The cobbler said the uppers look like they're only a couple years old... thanks to routine cleaning, polishing and conditioning.

If the shoe fits correctly, you take care of it, anything around AE and up could last many many years.

If it fits poorly and you abuse it... even John Lobbs will be crap inside of two years.

I guess I am saying that there is -some- truth to quality materials lasting longer, but in the case of shoes, I think care is critical.
 

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My Edward Green shoes wear out after about 5 years this is after lots of care and re soling. I wear each shoe once a week.
How many re-soles? If it is one re-sole, then it excellent; some Church's customers get their shoes re-soled 3/4 times and they can last 10 years.

The shoes I wear once weekly, every week need a re-heel or re-sole after about 20-24 months; although Barkers with rubber piece cover complete heel last longer. I have Base and Patrick Cox shoes from 2003 and for about 18 months, they were worn once every week, now they are just worn at home.
 

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If it fits poorly and you abuse it... even John Lobbs will be crap inside of two years.
I was in Church's and the salesperson was talking to someone to another customer on how long his shoes should last. He continued the conversation with about me and mentioned two customers who came in recently, both with different experiences.
The first was an older gentlemen who was getting his shoes re-soled again, he purchased the shoes 10 years ago (at-the-time). The second was a women who brought in her husband's Church's purchased 6 months ago, worn everyday, did not use a shoe-tree and they were in worse condition then the 10 year old shoes. The 6 month old shoes were also re-soled.
 

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You're right; I failed to mention frequency of use. Let's assume wear of twice per week - that's my ballpark figure. If yours is different, mention it in the reply, please.
If you are wearing the same pair 2 or 3 times a week? Does this mean you only have 2 or 3 pairs of dress shoes? Are you wearing the same pair, 2 or more days in-a-row?

Note: A guy with $1000 shoes will not be wearing them twice a week
 

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Indylion, I also wear the same pair 2 or 3 time a week, but never the same pair twice in a row. I only have 2 pairs of proper dress shoes, so I don't really have a choice. I have to chose between a small rotation of quality shoes (planning on getting a pair of Strands in a month or two, when finances are better) and a multitude of lower quality shoes (e.g. Rockport, Dockers). I think that a lot of people starting a quality wardrobe or starting their careers are in a similar situation.

Having said that, I am interested in knowning how long I should expect my shoes to last before the next re-soling and before I put them in the trash can. Like the OP said, this is taking into account that the shoes are well maintained.
 

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Shoe Lifespans

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned perhaps the single most influential factor in overall shoe life: the huge difference that urethane sole covers (Topys is the best known brand) make by eliminating resoling, requiring only attachment of occasional new sole covers. Assuming that you maintain the upper's oil balance with regular polishing and intelligent storage between wearings, what kills shoes is the violent ripping apart that resolings require, as well as the fact that each resoling requires a new goodyear stitching process that shreds the insole. Heels present a lesser degree of damage, and can successfully be built up again, but resoling is open-heart surgery-- no patient can survive too many such invasive procedures.

I have added Topys to every dress shoe I own, and have discarded only one pair of shoes in twenty years-- a low-grade pair of tasseled loafers that simply stretched too much for comfortable wear. I have a pair of pre-prada Church captoes from 1983 that had a 1990 resoling and Topys, and have been worn weekly since without damage. The Topy tread pattern is just worn smooth in the middle of the sole, and I anticipate replacing the Topy layer in about five years. I see no reason these shoes will not outlive me.
 

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Indylion, I also wear the same pair 2 or 3 time a week, but never the same pair twice in a row. I only have 2 pairs of proper dress shoes, so I don't really have a choice. I have to chose between a small rotation of quality shoes (planning on getting a pair of Strands in a month or two, when finances are better) and a multitude of lower quality shoes (e.g. Rockport, Dockers). I think that a lot of people starting a quality wardrobe or starting their careers are in a similar situation.
We have all been there, I started my rotation in 2006 and have quite a number of shoes now. If you shop during the sales, you can get a good rotation for a good price; my rotation includes Church's, Cheaney, Pal Zileri, Jeffrey West and the most I spent was £150. I keep my Church's last 73 (retail £300-330) for non-work occasions and the most I paid for a pair was £175.

Even taking RRP into account, you do not need to spend $1k on each pair of shoes to get a good shoe rotation; AE or Alden will be a good start. For about $1k in the sales, you could get 4-6 AE shoes rather than spending the same amount on pair of John Lobb RTW.
Then next time around when you have more money to spend, get John Lobb RTW or Edward Green MTO, etc; I will probably go for Cleverley semi-bespoke (maybe EG MTO) in 3 or 4 years time. Then downgrade your AE's to general-wear and bespoke for special occasions.

Having said that, I am interested in knowing how long I should expect my shoes to last before the next re-soling and before I put them in the trash can. Like the OP said, this is taking into account that the shoes are well maintained.
If I wore shoes twice weekly, every week, probably 18 months before a re-heel; although I would wait a bit longer and get a re-sole.
 

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Good point

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned perhaps the single most influential factor in overall shoe life: the huge difference that urethane sole covers (Topys is the best known brand) make by eliminating resoling, requiring only attachment of occasional new sole covers.
I wish I did this the first time around, as it would have meant my shoes last longer before a re-sole. Most of my shoes now have stick-on-soles.
 

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Another small item I think has been left out of the discussion: just because you pay four hundred dollars for a pair of shoes does not mean you have a four hundred dollar pair of shoes. There is some expensive garbage out there with poor craftsmanship, cheap materials, and an expensive label.
 

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I too must add one other factor.....weight.
If a man weighs 150 lbs and is wearing the same shoe as a man that weighs 250 lbs then I am led to believe the soles on the shoes of the 250 lb man will wear out sooner.
Thoughts?

Either way I'm glad I am the 150lb man:icon_smile:.
 

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I'm surprised that no one has mentioned perhaps the single most influential factor in overall shoe life: the huge difference that urethane sole covers (Topys is the best known brand) make by eliminating resoling, requiring only attachment of occasional new sole covers. Assuming that you maintain the upper's oil balance with regular polishing and intelligent storage between wearings, what kills shoes is the violent ripping apart that resolings require, as well as the fact that each resoling requires a new goodyear stitching process that shreds the insole. Heels present a lesser degree of damage, and can successfully be built up again, but resoling is open-heart surgery-- no patient can survive too many such invasive procedures.

I have added Topys to every dress shoe I own, and have discarded only one pair of shoes in twenty years-- a low-grade pair of tasseled loafers that simply stretched too much for comfortable wear. I have a pair of pre-prada Church captoes from 1983 that had a 1990 resoling and Topys, and have been worn weekly since without damage. The Topy tread pattern is just worn smooth in the middle of the sole, and I anticipate replacing the Topy layer in about five years. I see no reason these shoes will not outlive me.
Excellent post. This is why I read AAAC.
 

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I too must add one other factor.....weight.
If a man weighs 150 lbs and is wearing the same shoe as a man that weighs 250 lbs then I am led to believe the soles on the shoes of the 250 lb man will wear out sooner.
Thoughts?

Either way I'm glad I am the 150lb man:icon_smile:.
As a 230 lb man, I am sure that I put a lot more strain on my body and my shoes when I walk down a city sidewalk.

On the other hand, when some drunk idiot tries to hit on my girlfriend while I am in the rest room - I am glad I am a 230 lb man - as it is amusing to watch them scamper away, with their tails between their legs.
 

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What is the expected lifetime of the most popular shoes on this forum, such as:

AE, pre-new-ownership and current ownership
Alden
Greene
Ferragamo/Prada/blah blah blah
And others such as Bass and the like?

Now, let's assume we're taking proper care of them, including shoe trees at all times when not wearing, and occasional shoe cream, and visits to the cobbler when necessary. Also, I suppose a distinction has to be made between leather and shell cordovan.
Another small item I think has been left out of the discussion: just because you pay four hundred dollars for a pair of shoes does not mean you have a four hundred dollar pair of shoes. There is some expensive garbage out there with poor craftsmanship, cheap materials, and an expensive label.
+1 - AE, Alden and Green and their like will last longer with resoling than Brands such as Gucci, Prada which cannot. I wear shoes very lightly and any of the shoes by makers like Green, C&J etc will last me 20 years +
 
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