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Style SOS: What shoes should I buy if I want them to last?

Style SOS: What shoes should I buy if I want them to last?

Which shoes last a long time? – Khalid, via email

As my father used to tell me, when I’d spent money on yet another obnoxious coat that I didn’t need, you should spend your money where you spend the most time: your shoes and your bed. Your footwear probably gets more one-on-one time than anything else in your life, so that means it pays to spend money on a pair that won’t fall apart after a couple of months.

The long answer to your question depends on your taste, your budgets and your lifestyle. But there’s a short answer, too – buy a pair of Goodyear-welted shoes. This is a technique in which the soles are stitched to the rest of your shoe, rather than glued. That means they’re replaceable. Since the soles wear out more quickly than the bit you put your feet in, you don’t have to throw away a perfectly good pair of shoes just because you’ve worn them down. You can just take them to a cobbler and, for £30, they’ll be as good as new.

I’d recommend Grenson, a brand founded in 1866 that still makes many of its shoes and boots by hand. The great thing about Grenson is that the Goodyear-welting technique underpins every pair of shoes it produces (with the exception of their sneakers and moccasins). So if you’re after something that will last a long time, you can invest in a pair of Grensons and be confident that, when they do eventually get tired, you can have them resoled and extend their life for another couple of years. Considering the impact that disposable fashion has on the environment, it’s an approach that’s as good for the planet as it is your wallet.

 

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Words: Tom Banham
Illustration: Ryan Gillett