Why are my shoes falling apart?
October 3, 2007 12:26 AM   Subscribe

My Cons are falling apart. What The Chuck?

I bought my first pair of Converse All-Stars a few months ago. Already, the sole on the left shoe is falling off and becoming separated from the rest of the sneaker. It's only actually detached on one side so far, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before there's nothing holding it on anymore. My actual question is, is this normal? I've known people who have worn the same pair of Chucks for years without the shoes actually falling apart like this. The only thing that I think could have possibly caused the problem is that I wear the shoes to work, and part of my job at the end of the day is washing the floor with a high-pressure water gun. So they get wet 5 nights a week. Not completely soaked, though, because it's not like I'm standing in puddles or anything. They probably get the wettest near the heel of the shoe from the bottom of my pants soaking up water off the floor, but the sole is detaching itself from the shoe near the toe. It's as if whatever glue was there holding the shoe together is totally gone. Now, just standing on a wet surface long enough gets my left foot totally soaked from water seeping into the shoe itself from the bottom.

So, I guess I'm wasting a question here since the only real answer is to buy another pair of shoes, which I've already done, but should I avoid wet surfaces with these new Chucks or something? Or did I just end up with a bad pair the first time?
posted by Venadium to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
yeah, I'm through with converse. two pairs in a row have lasted less than a year before totally falling apart (as in, I get wet socks when it rains). i definitely have had shoes that last way longer than than that in the past and my usage patterns haven't really changed. maybe they don't make em like they used to.
posted by PercussivePaul at 12:40 AM on October 3, 2007

don't give up yet! i'd just get something more user-friendly for work. i don't know if cons have a propensity to fall apart when exposed to water, i do know i've worn them for years with the occasional washing and had no issues. for your immediate application: shoe goo. also good for dictionary/footbag repair.
posted by camdan at 12:51 AM on October 3, 2007

They don't make them like they used to, and even then they were pretty cheap shoes.

One telling scene was my old chucks sitting next to my "new" post-buyout by nike chucks. The stitching around the top on the old chucks was a solid black band, while the new stitching showed the canvas through. I'm sure it saved them 2 cents.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 12:51 AM on October 3, 2007

I've had my current three pairs for 4, 3 and 2.5 years respectively and they're not falling apart. No sneaker is made to get soaked every day -- they're glued together after all -- so get some proper shoes for work and don't make this mistake with your next pair.
posted by loiseau at 1:04 AM on October 3, 2007

Not the same kind of shoe, but similarly, I bought a pair of Doc's 4 years ago. After 3 years, they were getting a little worn (but were still in great shape,) so I thought I'd get another pair. Those fell apart in like 3 months. Anyway, YMMV in life, I guess.
posted by blenderfish at 1:27 AM on October 3, 2007

I've worn Chucks for about 17 years now, and after Nike bought out Converse a few years back (moving the manufacturing overseas), the decline in quality was very noticeable. I used to be able to wear a pair of Chucks daily for at least a year before I had to replace them. Now, they don't last more then 5-6 months.

Like PPaul, I'm pretty much done with Chucks. Although I'm having a hard time deciding on a worthy replacement for them.
posted by melorama at 2:10 AM on October 3, 2007

Converse moved manufacture of Chucks to Indonesia somewhere around 2000 or so and the quality went way downhill at that point. A pair of Chucks that used to last years barely had a few months of life in them after that.

The Nike buyout in 2003 was the final nail in the coffin. The quality and variety of Chucks went down the crapper and hasn't recovered since. It sucks, but the only real solution at this point is not to buy Chucks any more. They just don't hold up any more.
posted by majick at 2:11 AM on October 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

Wouldn't you know it, there's actually a web community for Chuck wearers called Chuck Talk, and they seem to feel that the decline in quality actually started in 1993, when Converse switched to a Cotton/synthetic hybrid.

But there seems to be little debate that they don't make 'em like they used to.
posted by melorama at 2:18 AM on October 3, 2007

It's the water. When I lived in Cleveland, where the lake effect can make it snow a few times a week, I couldn't make a pair of Chucks last through more than one winter. Like loiseau said, they're glued together, they can't get wet every day.
posted by BackwardsCity at 5:25 AM on October 3, 2007

You could replace them with expensive Blackspots.
posted by mkb at 6:19 AM on October 3, 2007 [2 favorites]

Pfft - you bought a pair of socks with rubber soles. What did you expect?
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 7:21 AM on October 3, 2007

Yeah, Chucks pretty much suck anymore. I can't pinpoint the exact moment. But I do recall there being a period where Chucks almost completely disappeared. The rare boxes you could find were the good old, durable-yet-unsupportive Chucks. In red, black or white only.

Then, seemingly overnight, the market was flooded with new Chucks, in a rainbow of colors and unfortunate patterns (camo Chucks? ugh)

I think that was the start of the downfall.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:43 AM on October 3, 2007

Yeah... they do wear out rather quickly. But it also depends on how you wear them. My bf wears out his long before I do, even if they've received a similar amount of wear. He's just harder on them, for some unknown reason. The water definitely can't help.

The aforementioned bf, who wears nothing but Converse except for work shoes, buys them in quasi-bulk on sale at a Converse outlet store, and accepts they'll wear out pretty quickly. But when you can get them for $20-$30/pair, you can't really complain. When you're paying $70-90, then yeah... it's not worth it.
posted by cgg at 7:55 AM on October 3, 2007

Ditto everything about about Chucks (and Jack Purcells) not being the same anymore.

If you're going to be working in the environment you mentioned, you might want to get some more appropriate shoes. They'll be better for your back and feet and also keep you from slipping. Something like Red Wing or the like.
posted by radioamy at 8:22 AM on October 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yes, they're crappy shoes. BUT: If you're willing to up your investment, the leather ones with the kevlar-looking toe-cap have served me well. Bonus: They've actually got a cushiony insole!
posted by Reggie Digest at 9:23 AM on October 3, 2007

When I used to wear Chucks in the 80s they would only last a couple of months before the soles started falling off. Chucks just suck, and always have.

Of course, it could be that I was shortening the life of my Chucks by mismatching them and wearing one red one and one blue one. But it was 1987 and I really had no choice.

I'm wearing a fetching pair of new Chucks right now, which I have had for about 6 months and worn only once every couple of weeks, and I can already see signs of the heels wearing away from the thin rubber strip that holds them on in back. Makes me nostalgic, in a way. It won't be long before the familiar flap-flap-flap of deteriorating Chucks rears its ugly head and I'm off to the store to buy some Shoe-Goo.

But the thing is, aside from Vans, there's really not a better shoe for stepping on stomp boxes accurately and looking semi-cool.
posted by The World Famous at 9:31 AM on October 3, 2007

Vans are poorly made now, too -- ever since the buyout by VF corporation, the company responsible for Nautica, Wrangler, and Rustler jeans. Because nothing shouts old skool cred like Vans, Lee jeans, and a North Face vest.
posted by mr. remy at 10:45 AM on October 3, 2007

Chucks are 6 month shoes tops
posted by doppleradar at 11:02 AM on October 3, 2007

I usually get the John Varvatos ones, and they do get worn out pretty bad, they're just not sturdy. it's a shame but they're pretty cool, try getting them for cheap at an outlet store as said above.
posted by matteo at 11:15 AM on October 3, 2007

I'll add to the chorus that says that modern Chucks are noticeably poorer quality than they used to be. And yet the price has gone WAY up. (For the longest time, you could get them around here for about $27. Now, the standard price is at minimum twice that and often higher. So I get mine on clearance.)

I still buy them, because they fit my wide-toed feet nicely and hold my orthotics as well. But they have become fashion shoes rather than day-in day-out solid shoes. I'm sad. I've never been without a pair of Chucks since I got my first purple pair in 1982.

They never were good for wet environments, though -- those side vents often cause leaks anyway. So for your situation I'd probably try wearing something else occasionally, at least.
posted by litlnemo at 2:39 PM on October 3, 2007

I buy faux-chucks from No Sweat. My first pair fell apart within months, which was massively disappointing, but I bought a second pair anyway. The second pair has lasted a couple years now, but then again I wear them much less frequently, now that I'm out of college and in the professional world wearing pumps. So I'm not sure that speaks too highly of them, but IIRC (then again I might not) they were ever so slightly cheaper than the real thing.
posted by naoko at 7:25 PM on October 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

I can't find them now but a few years ago I bought a pair of Chuck look alikes that had rubber uppers instead of canvas which provided some water resistance which bike commuting in the wet. You might search around for something similar.
posted by asterisk at 8:22 PM on October 3, 2007

I've always like the general idea of the Blackspot (although AdBusters' pretentious, absolutist holier than thou posturing drives me nuts), but always held off on buying them because I don't want to walk around with that stupid black spot on them.

But if they are comfortable and of high enough quality, I might be tempted to buy them now that Chucks suck so badly.

Can anyone here personally attest to the comfort and/or quality of the Blackspots?
posted by melorama at 10:46 PM on October 3, 2007

i rescind my previous statement - i've been wearing chucks since 2000, and as of this summer started having feet problems with them. so i got inserts, which helped a bit, but realized ultimately i'd have to move on to a higher quality shoe.

i bought the blackspots a month or so ago and they're awesome. very high quality and insanely comfy - my feet almost cringe when i try to put on an old pair of chucks. by the look and feel i'm thinking they'll last me awhile, and as most people here attest to a 6 month to 1 year converse wear life, paying twice as much isn't much of a sacrifice for a shoe that will likely last much, much longer.
posted by camdan at 2:40 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

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