Have you noticed that your boots don’t seem to last very long? It starts with just a little hole in the toe and before you know it, your boots are absorbing water from every angle. Or, maybe you’ve had the eyelets on your boot pop off, or the tops wear thin.
If you’re tired of replacing your boots and now you’re ready for boots that will last many years, here’s how to make that happen.
1. Buy only full grain leather
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between the types of leather? Boots are usually marked with the type of leather they’re made from. For example, you’ve got genuine, full grain, top grain, nubuck, suede, and faux. However, which one should you choose? Does it matter?
It does, indeed matter which type of leather you choose for your boots. Boots are designed to be worn and used, so it makes sense that you’d want to choose a durable material. In this case, full grain leather is the most durable of all leather types. It retains its natural strength because the grain of the leather isn’t altered. Altering the grain of leather makes it weaker.
Full grain leather won’t crack, rip, peel, or puncture. It’s also easy to find. For example, Portland Leather makes full grain men’s shoes, including boots. These boots are quality crafted and will last for a long time.
2. Take care of your boots
No matter how top quality your boots are, make sure you take care of them. It doesn’t take much to take care of boots, but you do need to make some effort. Generally speaking, don’t let gunk/mud build up in the soles for long and store them in a cool, dry space.
For leather boots, you’ll want to condition them regularly. Leather can become inflexible over time, and this can cause small tears to get larger, among other issues. Conditioning your boots can make them last for decades, depending on the quality of the leather, the craftsmanship, and how well you take care of them.
3. Don’t wear your boots too often or too infrequently
Some people say you should avoid wearing your boots every day to make them last longer, but others say you need to wear them daily or they’ll fall apart. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Obviously, each time you wear your boots, you’ll be wearing them down. However, if you don’t wear them for long periods of time, they can end up being attacked by moths or rodents, and if you leave them out in the sun, they might become brittle. Some people have noticed their unworn, collectible sneakers disintegrating with time.
As a general rule, try to have another pair of boots you can alternate wearing. Also, if you have to leave your boots somewhere for several months or more, put them in a box, a plastic tub, or inside a plastic garbage bag. This will keep out the light, moisture, sun, and pests.
4. Find older boots
The notion that older items tend to be better made is usually true. With the exception of brands that intentionally produce high-quality boots, most of today’s brands will fall short of your expectations.
Instead of risking that $100 on a pair of boots you saw on Amazon, try looking for older boots in new condition. If they’ve been stored properly, your new (old) boots will last for plenty of years. To start your search, check sites like Etsy and eBay along with your local classified ads sites.
Some of the best older boots you’ll find are made in Germany. There’s a reason Germany has a reputation for well-made consumer products.
5. Skip the department store brands
Shoes don’t have an expiration date, but they should. Have you ever noticed some shoes at the department store seem to be falling apart? Sometimes they look dry and brittle, as if one touch would turn them to dust.
Sometimes shoes sit in a warehouse for years before hitting the shelves in the store. Even if the brands are popular, skip the department store brands for boots. You might be able to get away with department store slippers or sandals, but not when it comes to boots.
Find a good pair of boots? Get two
Imagine this scenario for a moment: just when you find a pair of shoes you like, the manufacturer discontinues the style. This happens often, so don’t forget to buy at least two pairs of boots once you find your perfect style.