My experience with these cheap boots is a personal example of the problems with fast fashion, but it’s not the end of the road for them.

I wanted a pair of versatile, black boots that I could wear with just about anything. I didn’t have the money to invest in a quality pair, and I succumbed to their cheap price. This was a long time ago and they have been sitting in my closet, never worn until a few weeks ago.

When I pulled them out of the box they still looked brand new. However, after wearing them for literally an hour, this happened:

I know I can’t expect a pair of cheap boots to last for a long time like other quality boots I’ve bought. However, the fact that the materials broke down almost immediately after putting them on just goes to show that these are designed not to last, regardless of how much (or little) wear you put them through. How many of these same boots ended up in the trash within a few weeks? That’s the root of the problem with fast fashion trends – frequently replacing apparel after a short time, and the old items contribute to the tons of fashion waste generated every year.

I tried to return them, but without the original receipt, the store manager made it very clear that she wouldn’t even entertain the idea. Even if she had accepted them, I’m sure they would have just been tossed.

It’s frustrating because the rest of the boot appears to be in good shape. Since they’ve only been worn an hour, the sole, laces, and zipper all look like new. Instead of tossing them in the garbage, I plan to refinish them using decoupage techniques so I can continue to wear them. I know they won’t last forever, but these can be another example of how to alter items to get more life out of them before they end up in the trash. Stay tuned!

This experience also reinforces the tips I mentioned in this earlier blog post that can apply to shoes too:

  1. Do you really need a new pair of shoes? If so, spend a bit more when you can to get higher quality that will last. Also check out thrift and second hand stores where you can find gently used, high quality, and sometimes very cool shoes.
  2. When they do start to wear out, look at ways they can be repaired or altered to extend their life before throwing them out.
  3. If you’re done with the shoes but they still look good, consider donating them.  Local women’s, homeless or crisis shelters are great options because this is often where items can go directly to the people that need them the most.

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