Chances are you've bought your last few pairs of shoes because the soles on your old ones got worn through. This issue is often viewed as unavoidable in the world of shoe purchasing, but the fact of the matter is that there are measures you can take to make sure you get the most of your shoe's soles. Whether your shoes wear out due to being too soft or due to your specific gait, there are ways to extend the life of any pair of shoes by altering them or their soles. Here are three ways to extend the life of your shoes by caring for their soles.
Perhaps the most common place for shoes to wear out quickly is the rear of the heel, since most people strike the ground heel first when walking or running. The easy solution to this problem, then, is to somehow harden the heel of the shoe so it's less likely to degrade over time. Heel plates (also referred to as heel taps) address this issue by using a metal plate attached to the heel of your shoe that is designed to stand up to the abuse that leather or rubber soles can suffer from on unaltered shoes.
If you'd rather address the issue of your gait than the issue of your shoes deteriorating, then the way to go is to buy orthopedic shoes or inserts. These solutions use padding and therapeutically shaped shoes and insoles to adjust your gait so that your feet strike the ground more evenly. This will distribute the stress of walking over your entire sole, which eases pressure points on your shoes, evening out the wear and extending the life of your shoes. Almost any shoe can be adjusted using custom orthopedic inserts, and specialty companies can craft your entire shoe around the idea of correcting your gait.
When dealing with leather soled dress shoes, a popular option for getting more bang for your buck out of your soles is to slap a sheet of rubber on top of the leather of the sole. However, it's important to make sure that this process is done correctly. While many cobblers will simply slap a sheet of rubber over the sole, the proper way to do this is to first skim off the top layer of leather and then replace it with a rubber replacement sole. This second method allows the insole to wear more naturally, since there is ultimately the same amount of material underneath the shoe as when it was originally designed.
For more information about maintaining your shoes or buying proper shoes for your feet, talk with pedorthists or visit stores that sell specialty shoes, like comfort shoes at Foster's Wide Shoes.