Reduce wear and tear on your shoes

Over the last few years, I’ve stopped being so hard on my shoes though my brother is apparently 10 times worse than me at this. Having discussed this recently with him, I thought I’d write a quick post for others who find themselves buying new shoes regularly, and constantly frustrated by the seemingly short life of their shoes! This post aims to look at ways to extend the life of your mens shoes.

Let’s look at things from the viewpoint of 3 critical wear and tear areas on shoes: The bottom of the shoe, the inner base of the shoe (that your foot touches), and the outer surface of the shoe.

The bottom of the shoe

The base of the shoe obviously takes a beating from the surfaces you walk on. Once you’ve worn through your shoes from the bottom upwards, your shoes are useless. The balance I have found is that rubber soles, although not as nice to look at, are vastly better at coping with daily wear and tear, than a leather sole.

I also recommend taking a look at the heal itself, and consider getting it replaced if it is well worn. A cobler can replace a shoe heal for a very reasonable price quickly, smartening up your shoes, and extending the life of your shoes.

The front part of the shoe is a challenge, as I’ve had these replaced before, but the curved nature of the front of the shoe seems to mean the new rubber sole ends up peeling back off (only very slightly), but this is unsightly if it happens. I therefore focus attention on the heal when looking at the base of the shoe. If however you wear the front of your shoes heavily, you will want to regularly change the front base ensure you wear the rubber sole, and not the shoe itself!

The inner base

This is my personal heavest wear area. I seem to work my way down through a shoe, and this is insanely easy to resolve, by buying cheap insoles to place in the shoes.

Insoles come in many different forms, and people are used to being offered these to adjust the position of their foot within a shoe. You can however also buy very cheap thin insoles that do nothing for foot depth, but that will take the wear and tear instead of the inner base of the shoe. Personally, I buy cheap leather/leatherette insoles from ebay or Amazon (about £2 for 2 pairs!), and I replace them the moment they start to feel, or look, scruffy. This way, the base of my shoes looks smart, and the shoes last a lot longer!

The outer surface

To be fair, the shoes themselves play a large part here. It’s not all down to price too. Cheap shoes are designed to a price, and can start falling to pieces in a surprisingly short time. I have however been appalled at some very nice shoes that lasted me no time, because they were designed to look nice, rather than take the daily beating of work.

Assuming you’ve bought a reasonable pair of shoes, the trick is simply to treat them with polish, wax or cream (whatever suits the shoes, or style you are going for) regularly. There is no harm with liquid polish, though it just doesn’t give much of a surface, so I would still recommend anyone using liquid polish to regularly get the solid polish out and give their shoes a couple of coats, to build up a surface every now and then. Then use the liquid polish for a quick “in-between” maintenance.

I hope that helps you get a bit more life out of your shoes!


I'm passionate about technology, and particularly helping people make the most of it. I've spent the last 30 years helping others make the most of technology. My career started in IBM, but I choose to move into smaller business environments, to use a breadth of skills, and help businesses step change their IT services. My skills range from user based technology, through business systems (applications) to infrastructure. I also have a long background in IT security. I focus on what I consider to be "productive technology", i.e. adding genuine value to peoples lives. I'm not a big gamer, and don't hold much interest in what I consider to be disposable consumer technologies. During the day, you'll find me consulting with businesses or heading up an IT department. At the weekend, you'll find me sat at my Linux PC, writing PHP or Python code, or trying to help others on Twitter, this blog, or my YouTube channel: Artexic.