In Part 1 we discussed when to keep or throw out sneakers and heels. Part 2 will address when to chuck your sandals, dress shoes, and boots.


Out of all shoes, sandals and flip-flops are the flimsiest and have the shortest shelf life. They usually last one summer season (that’s about 3-4 months) and need to be replaced frequently. If you live in a warm area, you should also be careful not to wear sandals or flip-flops on a daily basis. They lack the support your feet and ankles need and can lead to back pain, foot pain and pain in the knees among other things. Also the lack of coverage can lead to sunburn, dry skin, blisters, warts, etc. Make sure your flip-flop straps are intact when you are wearing them. If they are even a little loose, you should replace them.

Dress Shoes

Dress shoes (for men) that are well made and of high quality can last 10-15 years. You still have to maintain them by re-soling or re-heeling when the shoe starts to wear down, however unlike high heels, unless there is significant damage to the toe area or there is hardened leather due to lack of maintenance, you don’t have to worry about the structure of the shoe falling apart so easily. If your shoes have tears or cracks, it’s time to find a new pair.


Boots come in many forms; high heeled, flat, short, mid-thigh, leather, suede, winter, hiking, rain, etc. Boots that serve a specific purpose (such as rain, hiking, snow) can be used year after year if you make sure to maintain them properly. Rain boots need to be fully wiped down and dry before being put back in the closet; hiking boots should have mud cleaned off and can be worn until the tread wears down; and snow boots should be fully dried and salt free before storing for the summer.

Boots that are more fashionable have the same rule as dress shoes. Although suede is less durable than leather, you can resole or re-heel your boots until the actual base structure starts to fall apart, they have cracks or holes or feel loose on your feet.

Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm of Clifton Foot & Ankle Center has been treating patients for over seventeen years. If you have any questions call our Centreville, VA office at 703-996-3000 or make an appointment here.

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