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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