Men are a lot less likely to become emotionally attached to footwear than a lot of women are. This does not mean that attachments can’t form. Finding the perfect pair of work boots, breaking them in, coating them, getting insoles, it is all quite a bit of work. There are a lot of guys who will duct tape a falling apart shoe just to avoid having to go back to the store. It isn’t so much about the money needed to buy a new pair as it is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it..” thought process.
Work boots are vital to safety, so regardless of how comfortable they are, how many jobs they have been with you on, or how irregular your foot shape is, there comes a time in the lifespan of every boot, when it must be replaced, lest you risk a slip at the worst possible time. Every tower climber must eventually suck it up and go shoe shopping.
A study conducted with the University of Minnesota shows that shows that shoes will wear out in the part where the most support is needed first. So if you have high arches or regular feet, the instep will wear out first leaving no support what so ever. The university research team also states that “A worn shoe can exaggerate the biomechanical faults you already have.” This will, at very least, increase foot pain. The loss of foot support can potentially lead to long term problems such as, tendinitis, knee and back pain, plantar fasciitis and shin splints.
The lifespan of a boot depends a lot on its construction, how often it is worn, and how well you take care of it. With tower climbers, who practically live in their work boots, the lifespan is shorter than other shoes. While there is no set expiration date, it’s not cheese after all, there are some indicators of when shoes need to be replaced.
1) Wrinkling- The midsole, the area of the shoe between the treads and the top of the shoe, will warp with heat exposure, heat, moisture, and wear. When this area starts to wrinkle, it indicates that the boot is losing its cushioning and becoming worn out. It is best to replace your boot before serious wrinkling appears.
2) Tilting- When you place your boots upright on a flat surface, they should be flat on the floor. If they tilt, either inward or outward, the shoe is to the point where your step and body alignment are being thrown off.
3) No Traction- Sliding on a flat surface is potentially problematic, but when you slip 1000 feet in the air, or for that matter even 50, serious injuries are an almost guarantee. If you are sliding simply walking to your truck, you need to either get the soles replaced or get new boots completely.
4) Poking Pieces- Any time part of the shoe e shoe is showing through the leather, it is time for an upgrade. The unseen damage to the shoe is often far greater then what is visible.
Work boots can be recycled if you feel the need not to part with them. Depending in how worn out they are, many charities give boots to those in need or those trying to make a fresh start who don’t have the money for boots. It they have been torn to pieces… well they can still make a nice planter.