I have always been one to try and stretch the life of product to the very end. I laughed pretty hard at two Seinfeld quotes/comments about men and clothing. I was able to find video of one, and text of the other. I located the following quote via a Seinfeld site, it pertains to why there is no men's vintage underwear:
There is no vintage underwear of course, but it’s not because the guy couldn’t sell his underwear, it’s because men wear their underwear until it absolutely disintegrates. Men hang on to underwear until, until each individual underwear molecule is so strained it can barely retain the properties of a solid.
And there is this YouTube clip on Jerry talking about his approach to wearing t-shirts . . .
I have been wearing the same Shimano shoes for over 6 years now (an older version of these) and although they are pretty haggard looking, they still perform well and I ride in them daily. Based on the fact that I am currently reading Garbage Land and feel guilty throwing anything away, I will likely try to keep riding in them until each individual shoe molecule is so strained it can barely retain the properties of a solid =)
Reader Kim wanted to squeeze more life out of some shoes and came up with a great hack incorporating an old inner tube. All text and pictures below are credited to Kim. She also has a question at the end and reader comments are welcome.
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I bought these shoes 2 years ago for 4 seasons commuting. I love these shoes, and I successfully used them for commuting both in summer and winter. Canadian winter, that is.
Sadly though, this summer the toe plates dried and cracked, effectively making the shoes unusable. But these are otherwise in great shape, as they are made of high quality material. They could still be used for a few years if only I could change the toe plate with something tougher. Originally, this part of the shoe is made of a synthetic rubber/cloth hybrid. I don't know why Merrell went for this material only for this part of the shoe, as the other more conventional materials obviously were a better choice, at least on this shoe.
Well to be honest I don't really want to know why Merrell went this route, as I'm scared the answer would be along the line of “If if doesn't break, we won't sell enough shoes... so it has to break”. Well, I'm a proud hacker, so I don't adhere to this philosophy. I also can't stand the thought of sending to a landfill something that can still be used.
I brought the shoes to a shoemaker and asked him if he could replace the whole part. He tried, but could not unglue the piece from inside the sole without tearing the sole apart. Another disappointment.
So I had a brain storm session. If the toe cap cannot be replaced, then the next best thing would be to cover it with something... Leather would be good, but rubber even better... I need a strip of it... Inner tubes!
And so I took out an old inner tube that was beyond repair, and cut two strips out of it. The strips are large enough to cover the whole front of the shoe, including a good part of the sole.
I then cleaned them, along with the part of the shoe that they would cover, with alcohol. I took out my patch repair kit, and scratched the inside of the tube and the sole with the metal file/sand paper thingy. (how's this thing called anyways?) This will help the glue stick. I decided to use hot melt glue for the part where the inner tube covers the shoe, and rubber cement (again from my patch kit) to glue the tube directly on the sole. Hot glue is probably not the toughest glue to use in this application, but it's very easy to work with and can be reworked to make a good looking job. It's also flexible, which is a necessity in this application. I think the end result isn't so bad.
I used them a couple of times and it's been holding quite well. The lower part, glued with rubber cement, will probably last the remaining life of the shoes. I will be surprised if the hot melt glue lasts as long though. If it ever breaks again, I'll go shop for some more serious glue. Any recommendations?