“How long will my shoes last?” We regularly get asked this question and you might not like our answer: it depends. A number of factors go into how long slip resistant shoes should last, but there are also some things that you can do to make your shoes last longer.
What to Expect
As a general baseline, you can expect most good quality slip resistant shoes to last between six months and a year if worn full time to work. However, there are some factors that can alter this time frame. If your work conditions are more difficult on your shoes, such as constant exposure to water or grease or harder use, your shoes won’t last as long as someone who rarely exposes their shoes to tougher use. A restaurant host can expect their shoes to last longer than a chef’s kitchen shoes, in most cases.
Six months may not seem like that long, but consider that no other item you own gets worn that much. If you wore a single pair of pants to work 40 hours per week for six months, how would they look? What if you wore one shirt every day for six months for everything you did? The amount of abuse that a pair of work shoes faces can be extreme, which is why they don’t last as long as other apparel items.
Why Shoes Don’t Last
Slip resistant shoe soles are made of a softer material, this is what allows them to provide traction in wet or greasy environments. This softer sole means that the soles can’t take as much abuse as a typical shoe sole, they wear out faster. Walking on concrete or other rough surfaces are especially tough on slip resistant shoe soles.
Sometimes, a shoe just isn’t built well. This could be due to a manufacturer defect, or it could just be that you have a cheap shoe. Poor construction tends to show up quickly on the job when seams come unglued and shoes start “talking”, where the sole separates from the upper. A quality shoe should be able to handle reasonable day-to-day activities of your job.
Ways to Extend Shoe Life
- Only wear your slip resistant shoes at work. Don’t walk outside in them, don’t ride the bus to work in them, definitely don’t wear them for going to the park. If you have a locker at work, keep them in there, or carry them to work in a sling bag or backpack. This will ensure that they only operate in the environment they were intended for.
- Clean your shoes after every shift. Clean the outsole of dirt and debris, and wipe off the upper. This will help your shoes be the most slip resistant and last longer.
- Buy quality shoes. A cheap shoe may seem like a good idea when you buy them, but when they fall apart after two weeks you’ll regret your purchase. If you’re not sure how to tell when a shoe is quality, here are some pointers.
- Know your environment. If your job has certain aspects that would be harder on shoes, such as exposure to cleaning chemicals or large amounts of water, make sure you are wearing appropriate footwear. Dishwashers should look for water-resistant or waterproof shoes. Food processing plant workers should opt for a slip resistant boot.