Why Do Work Boot Soles Disintegrate?

April, 2, 2020

Why Do Work Boot Soles Disintegrate?

Why Do Work Boot Soles Disintegrate?

What Is The Life of Safety Footwear and Why Does the Sole Crumble After Being Stored?

This is a question we get from a lot of our customers.

There’s no set mileage for when to replace your safety footwear, but shoes and boots start to show wear and tear somewhere around the 1500 km mark under average usage – which is about one year of daily wear.

Often when someone loves a certain style of safety footwear that is being discontinued they will purchase 2 pairs to have an extra pair in the future.

Four, five or even sometimes 10 years down the road when they pull them out of the cupboard to wear them they find the sole is coming apart from the boot in clumps deeming them unsafe to be worn.

Is This A Manufacture’s Defect?

No. What you’ve experienced is called hydrolysis - the natural aging process of Polyurethane material.

Polyurethane (PU) is used in safety footwear as it is light, flexible, has anti-slip properties and is abrasion-resistant.

For these reasons, PU is a popular material for midsoles throughout most of the industry. Over time the long polymer chains of the material are gradually split apart due moisture getting in causing them to become brittle.

Because this process occurs from the inside, the boots will appear to be perfect - until you start to wear them on the worksite.

How Do You Avoid This?

Rotate the boots in your collection and wear them equally. If you have to store them keep them in a dry, well-ventilated space and keep them away from heat.

It also helps to clean the mud off them if they have been worn before being stored and dried carefully.

Can These Boots Be Fixed?

Because of the levels of technology that are designed into safety work footwear, it is not recommended to have them resoled.

Can They Be Returned?

We can only accept warranty claims on product that have been purchased within 6 months.  Because often, boots that experience hydrolysis have been purchased years ago they do not qualify for warranty claims. 

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How do I make sure to get the right size?

To measure your feet:

  1. Get a blank piece of paper, a pencil and a tape measure.
  2. Stand with one foot on the piece of paper, and have most of your weight on your foot to simulate walking.
  3. Holding the pencil perfectly vertical and perpendicular to the paper, mark a line at the back of your heel and at the tip of your longest toe. Also mark a line along each side of the widest part of your foot.
  4. Measure length and width to the nearest 16th inch and subtract .20 to .25 inches, or .50 centimetres, to account for the width of the pencil.
  5. Find your corresponding size in the charts below.

A couple of tips to get the perfect fit:

  • Measure your feet later in the day as feet normally swell and can become up to half a size bigger in the evening.
  • Measure both feet and use the measurements of the biggest foot. Many people have feet that are different sizes.
  • Wear the same type of socks you will generally be wearing on the job when you measure your feet.

Here are some general guidelines to assess fit once you’ve received your new boots:

  • Try on new boots towards the end of the day.
  • Walk around in a clean environment for a couple of hours to make sure the boots are comfortable.
  • Try boots on both feet, as many people have feet that are different sizes.
  • Boots should fit snugly around the heel and ankle when laced.
  • The inner side of the boot should be straight from the heel to the end of the big toe.
  • The boot should grip the heel firmly.

Measuring apparel for proper fit

Size X-Small Small Medium Large X-Large 2X-Large 3X-Large
Neck - Inches 13-13.5 14-14.5 15-15.5 16-16.5 17-17.5 18-18.5 19-19.5
Neck - Centimetres 33-35 36-37 38-39 41-42 43-44 45-47 48-50
Chest - Inches 30-32 34-36 38-40 42-44 46-48 50-52 54-56
Chest - Centimetres 76-81 86-91 97-102 107-112 117-122 127-132 137-147
Waist - Inches 27-28 29-31 32-34 36-38 40-42 44-46 48-50
Waist - Centimetres 68-71 73-78 81-83 91-96 101-106 111-116 121-127

Hint: For the most accurate results, measure yourself in your undergarments.

  • Neck: Measure around the base of your neck, inserting your forefinger between the tape and your neck to allow ease in fit.
  • Chest: Measure around the fullest part of your chest, keeping tape firmly under your armpits and around your shoulder blades.
  • Waist: Measure around your waist, slightly below your natural waist, where you normally wear your pants. Insert your forefinger between the tape and your body to allow ease in fit.
  • Sleeve length: Bend your arm slightly. Measure from centre back neck, across your shoulder, down to your elbow, down to your wrist.
  • Hip: Measure around the fullest part of your hips, inserting your forefinger between the tape and your hip to allow ease in fit.
  • Inseam: Measure a similar pant that fits you well. Measure along the inseam, from the crotch seam to the bottom of the hem.

Between sizes?

If your measurements are in between those listed in the size chart, pick the next larger size.