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Planned Obsolescence In Shoes – Why Shoes Do Not Last Long

In a shameful turn of unchecked capitalism, shoe manufacturers now design their products to break after some time. Here is how it works.

The manufacturers make the shoes from terrible materials, the consumer buys them. After a few months they are unwearable, so the consumer returns to the shop to purchase new ones.

If that seems fair to you, then you are not the intended audience of this article. Please click away now. If on the other hand this seems like robbery to you, then please read on. This post will go straight to showing you how to avoid failing for this robbery.

How To Avoid Planned Obsolescence In Shoes

There are many tricks employed by shoe manufacturers to enforce planned obsolescence, but the good thing is that they can be spotted, and avoided. This is how to go about it.

Avoid Following Trends

It all starts in the mind. Most people fall for planned failure in shoes because they want to wear what everyone else is wearing. They are not able to think clearly at that moment; with the new shoes in their hands, they are just too excited to ask any questions.

They have been looking forward to having those shoes, and so they jump at the chance to finally own them. This is especially true when one is buying from a screen; maybe a computer or a mobile phone. Everything looks glossy and pretty. It is almost impossible to see the faults.

It is different when you buy from physical stores.

Only Buy From Physical Stores

Another step towards avoiding shoes that deteriorate fast is to only buy shoes that you can hold in your hands, smell with your nose, and feel. All those are key to fighting planned obsolesce in shoes; you need to spot the signs so as to avoid the purchases.

Looking at the shoes from the screen of a computer, tablet or phone may not be good enough; which is why you need to buy only from physical stores.

But even if you buy from physical stores; unless you know what to look out for, it won’t do much good. Here is what to look out for.

Watch Out For Signs Of Planned Breakage

Unnecessary Joinings

When shoes have too many joinings in the design, the design is intended to give the shoes space from which to fall apart. Although planned obsolescence in shoes takes many forms, this is one of the most common. The sewing may not be of very good quality, and the threads may soon give way, leaving small gaps.

The natural process of walking with the shoes may then cause the small gaps to get bigger and wider. This is until the shoes become unusable, and the consumer is forced to replace them. A win for the manufacturer.

Sometimes these joinings may look good; they may be the very thing that makes the shoes beautiful. But beauty, when it reduces quality, is of no benefit at all.

The joinings are always worse when they mix materials.

Mixing Materials

Shoe manufacturers sometimes willfully mix materials that are natural enemies, and that will soon detach from one another. Plastic on leather, fabric on leather, plastic on fabric. Sometimes the materials are held together with thread (sewing), while other times they are held together with glue. The materials may also be held together by heat stamping.

In this image, real leather is joined with fake leather which has since pealed off; leaving the underlying fabric.

Regardless of how the materials are held together, whenever shoes are found to be made by mixing materials of different kinds together, the best thing to do is avoid the shoes entirely.

The different types of materials will create uneven distribution of tension in the shoes, causing them to break apart. The breaking point may not be at the joining – It may be on one of the materials.

Sometimes the materials may not break entirely; it may stretch – causing the shoes to lose their shape, and to become undesirable to the user. The result is the same. Replace them!

To avoid this; run your fingers through the surface of the shoes. Look for any difference in texture. Smelling the shoes will also give a hint; if it looks like leather but smells like plastic, then the maker has probably done something fraudulent.

Buy From Quality Brands

Quality brands are not always the biggest names in the business; some brands became famous by playing the exact tricks we have discussed in this article, and making huge amounts of money which they later spent on advertising.

The brands you want to buy from are those that have dedicated themselves to producing quality. They want their names to be a sign of reassurance that when money is spent on the products there will be no reason to complain.

These are the kinds of brands to look out for when looking to make purchases of new shoes.

The best way to kind such brands is to look at the old shoes one already has, and to make a list of the shoes that have given good service over the years. Write down the brands, and go to the store with that list. That way you are not guided by your eyes, but by your brain. You can also search the internet for those brands.

For those without an extensive list from their wardrobes, the following is a list of quality shoe makers from the writer’s personal shoe collection.

Further Reading:

Mankind has spent a ridiculous amount of time and resources developing technology to destroy itself. You may be surprised to learn that a lot of money is spent on research on how to make shoes that fall apart after a predetermined time.

Thankfully, this practice is not universal; not every shoemaker hopes to cheat its consumers. It is those that do not try to cheat their consumers that you want to patronize.

Shoes should be made quality; one should be able to pass them down to loved ones, or to the less privileged. Waste shoes constitute a major threat to the environment, and a major hole in our pockets.

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