Midsole Midlife Crisis

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Silverclaws2

Nomad
Dec 30, 2019
254
122
53
Devon
In investigating just why a little used pair of Raichle Mountain Trail GTX boots are experiencing a disintegrating midsole unit I happened upon the linked article describing why the midsole disintegrates on boots that might not even be used, to consider yep Hydrolysis seems to be the cause of the death of mine, to know through reading various on here I am not the only one that is experiencing or has experienced this problem.


To say given the deterioration of the Raichles and the fact that my mid 80's Boots Combat Highs have become less than comfortable to wear , I am forced to be in the market for a new pair of boots. To in my case due to narrow feet need to have them properly fitted to have a manufacturer in mind, to just be waiting until I am able to visit a certain real live high street shop, I am thus forced for now to yet again attend to the Raichle's with Stormsure and Klebfest glues, where if successful with this gluing, they should last about six months before I would have to glue them up again where before six months are up I hope to have new boots.

But anyway I now know why the Raichle's have let me down.
 

C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
6,494
1,456
Bedfordshire
Funny you mention it, I just received my tube of shoe repair glue and had at my Meindl boots today. Don't hold much hope for them though, the entire heel area of one has separated and the midsole is powdering. They were bought in 2004 or so, started falling apart in May 2019.

Sorry you are in the same boat without easy access to new footwear!

Guy at work had it happen to his safety shoes, we could track him around the office by the trail of little bits of crumbly rubber he left behind.

I took photos of it when it happened to a pair of Merrel/LLBean boots bought some time in 1998 and having worn the sole rather smooth they were boxed and found to have gone crumbly in 2013.
Starts like this:
IMG_8619.JPG

and a flex later, looked like this.
IMG_8626.JPG
 

TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,694
755
Vantaa, Finland
That kind of hydrolysis only affects certain PUs. I still wonder why the outsole needs to have any compression flex as that could as well be built into the insole that could easily be changed and or tailored to one's foot.
 
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Silverclaws2

Nomad
Dec 30, 2019
254
122
53
Devon
If you have narrow feet especially in the heal try Scarpa Terra GTX
Nah narrow fore foot, have had Scarpa's, the Manta's and they were too wide. Will be looking Alt-Berg were at least I know resoling won't be a problem as the factory claims they keep the lasts.
 

Silverclaws2

Nomad
Dec 30, 2019
254
122
53
Devon
Funny you mention it, I just received my tube of shoe repair glue and had at my Meindl boots today. Don't hold much hope for them though, the entire heel area of one has separated and the midsole is powdering. They were bought in 2004 or so, started falling apart in May 2019.

Sorry you are in the same boat without easy access to new footwear!

Guy at work had it happen to his safety shoes, we could track him around the office by the trail of little bits of crumbly rubber he left behind.

I took photos of it when it happened to a pair of Merrel/LLBean boots bought some time in 1998 and having worn the sole rather smooth they were boxed and found to have gone crumbly in 2013.
Starts like this:
View attachment 66294

and a flex later, looked like this.
View attachment 66295
More or less what mine is doing, the outer tread being a stick on vibram surface is unworn. My glue job comprises of using Stormsure to fill in and stabilise where the midsole has disintegrated and then use Klebfest to glue the tread layer on.

A sore pity is this midsole issue as the leather uppers are superb, to find a very comfortable boot.

Also found today my safety boots rubber sole has turned to sticky soft jelly.
 

Silverclaws2

Nomad
Dec 30, 2019
254
122
53
Devon
Mantas are wide in the Scarpa range. Alt-Berg will have a pair for you. I need to find a store with the full range and try some on.
Initially the high leg Defenders attracted but I have noticed they don't just do pongo boots, they do hiking boots too, in fact I believe Alt-Berg started out making hiking boots, to notice of their hiking boot range they have several width fittings, to be thinking along those lines at the moment. Not saying I have gone off the high leg boots, but to say there are now options. And if they still don't have my size, I am aware they will make to measure.
 

nigelp

Full Member
Initially the high leg Defenders attracted but I have noticed they don't just do pongo boots, they do hiking boots too, in fact I believe Alt-Berg started out making hiking boots, to notice of their hiking boot range they have several width fittings, to be thinking along those lines at the moment. Not saying I have gone off the high leg boots, but to say there are now options. And if they still don't have my size, I am aware they will make to measure.
They do a lower leg ‘tabbing boot’ for the military but for general walking and the like normal hiking boots may be lighter and better suited.
 
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TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,694
755
Vantaa, Finland
Also found today my safety boots rubber sole has turned to sticky soft jelly.
That is kind of strange as there are mainly two possibilities, depolymerization or the material chemically falling apart (never seen that in shoe soles so far) or some solvent attacking the sole but safety boot soles are mostly made from materials that are quite resistant to solvents. A small mystery.
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
2,694
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Berlin
In my opinion the best are double stiched boots that are made of leather with an on glued sole with an EVA mid layer and loose insoles.

Offered by several makers they all look more or less like this:


When the sole is worn off after approximately 20 years you replace the EVA midlayer with the profile sole. Every good shoemaker can do that. And you can wear your boots another 20 years.

Such boots aren't more expensive than the cheap modern constructions that you discuss here. In the long run double stiched boots are cheaper because they last much longer.

 
Last edited:

Silverclaws2

Nomad
Dec 30, 2019
254
122
53
Devon
That is kind of strange as there are mainly two possibilities, depolymerization or the material chemically falling apart (never seen that in shoe soles so far) or some solvent attacking the sole but safety boot soles are mostly made from materials that are quite resistant to solvents. A small mystery.
It is indeed curious as given where they were stored on an above head height shelf in the hallway along with all the other shoes, they did not come into contact with anything other than air and not warm air either given no central heating and no sunlight, to in fact be an ideal place to store shoes. But to sticky jelly the solvent proof soles have turned - they were about 15 years old and had a respected work ware manufacturer's name on them.
 
Apr 8, 2009
1,122
102
Ashdown Forest
It is indeed curious as given where they were stored on an above head height shelf in the hallway along with all the other shoes, they did not come into contact with anything other than air and not warm air either given no central heating and no sunlight, to in fact be an ideal place to store shoes. But to sticky jelly the solvent proof soles have turned - they were about 15 years old and had a respected work ware manufacturer's name on them.
The old high leg assualt boots had a notoriously crumbly sole - at least for a few years of their manufacturing runs. But i've seen it happen to so many boots - my own Lowas, my parents Meindles (two different models, both purchased at the same time, both stored carefully, and both failed within the same month), and numerous other friends and colleagues. Ultimately i think there has to be an acceptance, that unless we are prepared to go with a much more traditionally constructed boot (which often have a higher price tag), most modern boots have a shelf life - at the end of which it doesn't make much economic sense to replace them. Its a shame really, as a pair of well worn, trusty boots become quite close friends that have accompanied you on many adventures, and it feels wrong to just dump them in the bin!
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
2,694
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Berlin
Properly made boots aren't expensive.
There is no reason to buy rubbish.



 

Silverclaws2

Nomad
Dec 30, 2019
254
122
53
Devon
The old high leg assualt boots had a notoriously crumbly sole - at least for a few years of their manufacturing runs. But i've seen it happen to so many boots - my own Lowas, my parents Meindles (two different models, both purchased at the same time, both stored carefully, and both failed within the same month), and numerous other friends and colleagues. Ultimately i think there has to be an acceptance, that unless we are prepared to go with a much more traditionally constructed boot (which often have a higher price tag), most modern boots have a shelf life - at the end of which it doesn't make much economic sense to replace them. Its a shame really, as a pair of well worn, trusty boots become quite close friends that have accompanied you on many adventures, and it feels wrong to just dump them in the bin!
These ones I have; ( though the tread on mine are less worn than the pair featured in the images, as in no tread 'dead' spots, unlike them)

 

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