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Tony_K

They're brand new, but trashed! A interesting shoe story.

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Tony_K

So this thread prompted me to post this little gem of a story.

 

I resently purchased a "brand new" pair of boots via ebay. It was a a steal at one third the retail cost. I scored! Boots arrive and I am stoked. They are perfect. Leave a big ol positive feedback for the seller. I didn't wear the boots right away but rather a few weeks later on Lori's birthday for a night out.

 

The felt great. Went to dinner then to a movie. While sitting in the theater I touched the soles and a piece sort of crumbled off! I felt some more and it was like this in other places too. Before the house lights went down I looked at them and sure enough my soles were disintegrating with every step! Even in the car I found bits of degrated rubber between brake and gas. UGH. I told lori at the end of the evening what was happening and we just couldn't belive it.

 

I started to suspect counterfeit product but this is not a common shoe company nor would their be much money in making fakes.

 

I wrote the seller and explained my unbelievable story. There was really nothing he could do nor was he really at fault. They were new and never worn!

 

So I tracked down the US distributor and with some trepidation made a call to the head honcho for this brands line. Within a few minutes he told me what had happened... Hydrolysis

My boots though brand spaning new had actually been stored in a closet for a period of time which began the process of degration. He said not using them actually caused chemical reaction in the polyurathane. If they had been worn it would have not occured.

I told him I didn't have a receipt as I purchased them second hand on ebay. He said no problem we'll send you another pair!

 

With one more phone call I had another top man explain more details and said this happens to less than 1% of world wide production, took my name and address and is sending them out.

 

Take a look at this.

IMG_8817.jpg

IMG_8815.jpg

 

I was really worried I would be stuck with dud boots due to my second hand purchase but the company came through for me without any questions asked. :thumbsup: Also 2 phone calls made this happen, had I sent a email back to Austraila who knows how long or if anything would have resulted.

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bakerzdosen

Always good to hear about good customer service.

 

Hydrolysis. Weird.

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Gary in Aus

Blundstone are an Australian company and provide a good quality product. They are a major player in the "work boot" industry . I have a couple of pairs that I wear usually at the farm.

 

I have not heard of this happening before and I am confident that contact with the manufacturer in Australia would have delivered a similar result.

 

Even though our warranty laws may not apply outside Australia , companies generally respond positively without referal to legal or warranty "threats".

 

If you want some lifetime boots try RM Williams , I have just had my favourite pair returned from the shoe repairer , they needed new elastic sides, new pull tabs at the back and while they were there I had them put on new soles and heels.{$120}

 

They are 34 years old and have had numerous soles and heels but this is the first set of elastics and tabs.

 

The leather in the upper is so soft they are like wearing silk socks. It would take another 34 years to get a new pair this comfortable.

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Twisties

Speaking as a chemist, I am a little baffled by parts of the explanation. I especially don't buy the idea that storage in a closet in a temperature controlled environment (home) for a few weeks had anything to with it. Certainly, wearing them some and storing them and wearing and storing would not have prevented it.

 

I suspect that either the shoes were really quite old, several years, and the soles were subject to ozone damage, or there was a manufacturing defect in that batch of soles.

 

In any event, glad the company has stood up and replaced them.

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Tony_K

Jan, I concur. Date stamp is 2001. They did say that this is a problem for less than 1% of manufacture. So bad batch sure.

I am positive they were stored for years. When one of the guys mentioned wearing would have prevented the hydrolysis it was more like as they wear down it would be more natural than the totoal degration issue from the word go.

 

Gary, Yup Blundstones are tops! This was just a crazy fluke. I was really concerned about contacting AU since we are so far apart. So I am glad there was a US contact. US distribution is relatively new compared to the 100+ years for AU!

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Albert

Shouldn't you be out walking around, protecting your investment? :rofl:

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Unhofliche_Gesundheit

well i'm not surprised.

 

when i bought my Blundstones in Cairns i was told very clearly that the soles were hard waring but were subject to degradation and crumbling. i seem to recall was cited a lifespan of 4 years.

so dont know if i got an unusually knowledgeable salesman or if the limited lifespan is well known.

 

now lets talk about akubra - now that's a hat!

coober pedy for me

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AZKomet

I bought mine in OZ in 2005 and they are the best boots I've ever worn. Still intact and I would wear them everyday if possible.

 

Good news about he CS from them. Enjoy those boots cuz they are fabulous!!!

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Selden

Almost the exact same thing happened to me, but not with new boots. About 6 years ago I bought a pair of hiking boots that were made for REI by Raichle. There were always kind of stiff, and I didn't wear them often, so the soles were barely worn.

 

Last fall, I took them out of my closet, put them on, and a few minutes later noticed that they were shedding black crumbs. Upon closer inspection, I saw that the soles were de-laminating from the uppers; I gave a little bit of a tug, and the entire sole pulled away. The inner foam layer was brittle and crumbling.

 

I took them back to REI, and was told that this can happen when boots are stored for a long time, but not worn. Although REI has a really good lifetime replacement policy (which I have taken advantage of in the past), in this case, I had owned these boots for so long that there was no record of the purchase in their computer system.

 

So, the rule with hiking boots seems to be use 'em or lose 'em.

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Couchrocket

Me too! Bought a pair of Ecco dress "wing tip" type shoes. Very comfy, but not worn often. Fast forward about 3 years.... wore them to a conference and kept finding large black "crumbs" in the foot well of the rental car. Finally realized that the soles were literally falling to pieces.

 

Ecco was indifferent to my problem. I was able to have them resoled for another $75. Ouch.

 

 

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Tony_K

My replacement boots arrived yesterday from the US dristributor :clap:

Hydroysis is such a problem with polyurethane soles that Blundstone now document it in the hang tags on the shoes. Direct quote;

 

"Hydrolysis (derterioration through moisture) can occur when PU is stored or used in warm climatic conditions. Stock should be rotated regularly and, if stocked for a extended period, should be stored in air conditiond premises

 

Faliure to observe these precautions can lead to premature deterioration. The date of manufacture in marked on the end of the box."

 

Only a few models use PU other use Thermo polyurethane TPU which has a much higher resistance to the problem.

 

PU soles are lightweight, long wearing with superior comfort just don't store them for years!!!

 

 

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Satguy

I read somewhere that this "Hydrolysis" was actually built into the soles so that they decompose when discarded.

 

I'm not sure how this is really good for the environment, but might be good for the boot makers bank account?

 

I had a pair of Terra work boots that did the same thing. The soles just came apart in chunks.

 

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RodB

I wonder how many BMW final drives were "Hydrolysis-ised"?

 

Probably about the same as these boots - less than 1%.

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Selden

These reports remind me of another thread where there has been great disagreement recently about the value of accelerated age testing helmets to determine replacement intervals. As several of us have reported here, some polymers will begin to disintegrate even while sitting unused in a dark place.

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