Frugally Expensive

I used to do all of my shoe shopping at the big chain farm supply store.

This image was selected as a picture of the we...

This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Czech Wikipedia for th week, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’d get a pair of black leather boots, because that’s how I roll.

A year later, the sole would be worn out and the leather would be cracking, so I’d go back and give them another $100 for another pair of boots that would last a year.

Year after year.

In December of 2007, I stopped in a Red Wing shoe store.   I found a pair of boots similar to what I was replacing, for about $200.

Two years later, one of the side zippers broke, which cost $25 to repair.

A few weeks ago, one of the side zippers broke again.   The bottom split, which allowed the zipper to come open (at the bottom) at surprising times.

In Minnesota.

In the winter.

This time, the sole was getting thin.  It was still thicker that the brand-new soles of the cheapo boots, but definitely thinner that it should be.   The heel was getting run down and the leather was starting to crack.

Time for new boots.

When I went back to the store, I found out that, not only were my boots discontinued, but the price had gone up.  It was now $220 for boots I had to tie instead of zip.

Then I looked at the boots.   It had hooks for the laces instead of eyelets.  I sit Indian-style most of the time, including in my chair at work.  The hooks tear up my pants and my chairs.


I sent the boots back to the factory to replace the hooks with eyelets for another $25.

That’s $245 for a pair of boots that I should still be wearing in 2016, or $61 per year instead of the $100 per year I was paying before.

Sometimes, you really do get what you pay for.

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    1. I got a pair of those last year, steel toe because work required them – they are awesome, and are totally worth the cost, as you point out here. I also found out that they are fairly damn comfortable!

    2. Funny how some shoes/boots don’t seem to last 5 minutes, yet others keep on going for years. I surprise myself sometimes, with some of my shoes being apparently indestructible. As you say though, generally in life you get what you pay for.

    3. I think that there are some things we should spend money on because the long haul is important to consider. I don’t mess around with good shoes. I am on my feet a lot and I want good support and great functionality and I want them to last. Looking after your feet is so important for when you get older.

    4. My husband loved his Red Wings. He wore them consistently for years and years with no issues when he can go through a cheap-o pair of shoes in three months.

    5. I love that you got them repaired (and twice, no less!) rather than tossing them and buying something new. It might be worth asking the store if they go on sale, and if they ever offer discounts/coupons. Buy your next pair when they’re discounted, before you need them, and stick them in the closet until you need them.

    6. So, silly question here. Couldn’t you have resoled the old boots and used some leather conditioner over the years to prevent the cracking? I’m not a boot person, preferring athletic shoes (talk about a misnomer, here), just curious.

      • Yes, I could have. I would have had them resoled if the leather hadn’t cracked. Shining them regularly helps with the cracking, but cold, wet, and salt will still do some damage.


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