Boot heels are wearing down rapidly
March 8, 2012 7:33 AM   Subscribe

I have some really nice boots that I'd like to keep for at least a year, and I'm already ruining the heels. Help me figure out how to keep them from wearing down.

I have these boots ( ) and after just three days of wearing them the heel is being destroyed by my weird heel-toe walking style. I had a shoe guy put on some rubber heel plates (he said he couldn't do metal on these) and after two more days the back of the heel plate is worn down back to the original heel.

At a friend's suggestion I tried a 1/8" layer of JB Weld, but even that wore down after a day.

So I have three questions. 1) What can I do to keep from ruining these in less than a month other than changing my stride? (I tried, trust me.) 2) Why can't you put metal heel plates on these? 3) I've never heard of someone wearing down shoes so quickly - am I alone in this?
posted by a_girl_irl to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I've definitely done this to boots. Back when I had a mile between the train and my office, I wore roughly half a ~0.5" heel at a 45 degree angle. Did your shoe guy replace the missing heel with anything? Or did he just smooth it out and cap it? Try seeing if he'll do a complete heel replacement. I had the heels on my boots replaced with a considerably better quality of wood, capped with rubber, since then, they've been fine.

Also, as these are Aldo boots, you've got about a year on them period, regardless of upkeep. Unless things have drastically changed, they're not meant to be used hard -- and by "used hard" I mean "normal city-person walking around" -- or last long.
posted by griphus at 7:45 AM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Missing chunk of heel, that is.
posted by griphus at 7:45 AM on March 8, 2012

You should consider seeing a podiatrist who may recommend shoe inserts or somethng similar to correct your stride.
posted by Jahaza at 7:45 AM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

The rubber that the cobbler used, was it Vibram? Cause I spent the extra $$ (came out to 20 bucks for a pair of boots) to have my boots re-soled in vibram rubber before I even wore them and I can't wear through it. (It's used on hiking/military boots as well, so it's grippy and resistant to wear).
posted by larthegreat at 7:50 AM on March 8, 2012

Response by poster: Did your shoe guy replace the missing heel with anything?

I noticed it was happening before it got bad (because I've done this to many, many boots) and he just put the rubber plate on.
posted by a_girl_irl at 7:51 AM on March 8, 2012

Best answer: Your twitter says you're in NYC? When I moved to NYC from North Carolina, I noticed that all of my shitty shoes were immediately ruined. Like, within weeks, the heels of boots I'd worn for over a year were suddenly worn down to nubs. I don't think it's the way you walk- I just think this city is extremely unforgiving of shitty shoes. Honestly, I think you could either go to another cobbler and get the whole heel replaced... or just buy more sturdy boots and call this a loss.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:02 AM on March 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

To counter-anecdote larthegreat, my partner and I wear out one pair of Vibram-soled shoes per summer with our regular walking about. If we get four months out of a pair of Vibram soles, that's fabulous. That said, it's still the best sole material I've found for my walking-about footwear.

Consider having a professional evaluate your gait. Even something like bringing your worn shoes to a good running store might be of help. They can at least get you started in the right direction.
posted by Sternmeyer at 8:05 AM on March 8, 2012

Get them reheeled. Seriously. It's like a 1-up for boots or something, and it's probably less expensive than buying more (well, right now boots are probably on sale, but you know what I mean.)
posted by dekathelon at 8:07 AM on March 8, 2012

I agree with showbiz_liz that NYC streets (and the amount of walking that people do living here) are harder on shoes than normal wear and tear. I've had luck with having taps put on in addition to resoling - they take longer to wear down to the heel, and can be angled/placed strategically to counteract where you normally put the most weight.
posted by Mchelly at 8:09 AM on March 8, 2012

Best answer: Those boots don't look very sturdy, unfortunately. Aldo isn't really known for the quality. I don't think it would be worth your while to throw any more money into them. Instead of paying to resole them, I would just split the difference and get boots made to last.
posted by 200burritos at 8:09 AM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

I noticed it was happening before it got bad (because I've done this to many, many boots) and he just put the rubber plate on.

So, if I understand correctly, you're saying that you're now wearing through the rubber plate and into the heel, right?

I suggest you take these to a different shoe guy and see if he can tell you the quality of the rubber cap the first guy put on now that you put some wear into it. If your guy uses cheap caps, that's no better than walking on the practically-balsa-wood heels Aldo puts on their shoes. And if you try to get a heel replacement from a dude who uses shitty caps, it's throwing good money after bad.
posted by griphus at 8:15 AM on March 8, 2012

Response by poster: Fryes are on the to-get list for sure. I'm glad it's not just me, I guess. Thanks very much for your help!

So, if I understand correctly, you're saying that you're now wearing through the rubber plate and into the heel, right?

Correct. When walking I tend to put the initial pressure/step on the very tip of the heel's end, if that makes sense. Honestly, from what I'm reading, it seems like I just need to get my boots re-heeled frequently and deal with it.
posted by a_girl_irl at 8:19 AM on March 8, 2012

I wouldn't try to change your walking gait either, unless your extreme heel striking (I do the some, roundheels r us) is leading to aches and pains elsewhere. Otherwise you're just messing with your natural biomechanics, and that way lies misery for most. I just figure my heels are getting worn down for a reason (kind of the opposite of building up callouses) and usually find once the heels of my boots are worn down my walking stride feels more comfortable, even though my footwear looks like hell.
posted by stagewhisper at 8:37 AM on March 8, 2012

This depends on your situation and the weather, but if most of this walking is part of a commute can you just wear sneakers to work and change when you arrive?
posted by Wretch729 at 8:54 AM on March 8, 2012

I was just buying shoes this week, and the saleswoman said one of her customers says to her, "I'm too poor to buy cheap shoes." This is why.
posted by OmieWise at 8:56 AM on March 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

I do the same thing with boots and heels and I second the suggestions to have a really good cobbler look at it. I have a pair of year-old Clarks where even the wood in the original heels had been worn down by my stride, and they replaced the soles on both shoes and filled in the gaps so that they were even. When one of the replacement rubber soles fell off a month later (admittedly, I walk a lot, and that was after a ten or fifteen mile day around Las Vegas) they ended up replacing it for free. On the other hand, if the heel itself is just cruddy, spending forty or fifty dollars to replace a part of the shoe doesn't sound as reasonable as buying better boots.

You also may look at the leather itself-- if my ankle can shift around or if it starts weakening right above the sole, I start getting much worse wear patterns than before. Even if your shoe guy is using perfectly good rubber, there might just be a mismatch between the boot and the way you walk. (Though 2 days is a little bizarre; I wore straight through a pair of Merrill boots in three months and thought that was extremely fast.)

...if you do find a magic solution or a pair of boots that's indestructible, please let us know!!
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:46 AM on March 8, 2012

You're in NYC, right? Go to Arty's Shoe Repair. They're well-known in the city for fixing Louboutins. I take my non-Louboutins there and they do a very good job. They can be a little slow though, so if you take them in, call before you pick them up.
posted by vivzan at 1:54 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

^^ I mention Louboutins since they're pricey and people baby those shoes, so he's a trusted cobbler. They did wonders fixing a cheap, $50 pair of sandals of mine.
posted by vivzan at 2:13 PM on March 8, 2012

I had the same problem and I did decide to change the way I walked. Instead of taking large steps and coming down on the heel of my shoes I slowed down my pace and now take much smaller steps. This has definitely extended the time between heel replacements. Even though I buy very nice quality shoes, the replacement heels my shoe guy uses definitely last longer than what was originally on there.
posted by comatose at 9:10 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh also I should have said "nice-looking" instead of "really nice." I am aware that you can only keep Aldos for like 18 months max.
posted by a_girl_irl at 9:04 AM on March 12, 2012

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