How Long Should My Dress Shoe Last?

How long should my shoe last?

After more than hundreds of customers and even more enquiries,

This is the most common question i get. 

And also the most subjective question of all time.

There are all sorts of expectations when it comes to dress shoe shelf lives.

There are  so many factors that must be taken into account just to give you a rough estimate.

Factors like:

  • How many steps you take a day
  • What surface do you walk on
  • What polish you use
  • How long were they in contact with the rain
  • How do you walk
  • How many hours do you wear your shoes a day
  • And a billion more factors

Even if i somehow considered every single of the billion factors and say "at least a year"

You could just have easily soak them in the rain the next day, not dry them

And then knock against something sharp and make a tear in them.

No hard answer to leather shoe longevity

Quite frankly, whenever one of my customers ask me this question,

I cannot in good conscience give a definite answer.

But it seems somehow they just want a number.

I feel people are misinformed to what buying a quality leather dress shoe means.

Without further ado, let's get down to the lowdown on shoes longevity.

These are from personal experience as well as technical knowledge from being in the shoe industry.  


Leather dress shoes Less than $150 SGD

Bata Factory

Bata Factory

Firstly, anything in this price range is barely considered a dress shoe.

It is not meant to last.

It is meant to cover your feet, break down shortly

Then you got to buy a new one.

It is very likely not made out of leather, completely cemented

And pumped out thousands in a day with bare minimum quality control.

Rough Estimation Of Leather Shoe Shelf Life

The time is dependent but you're most likely looking at 6 months

And that is how long until you cannot physically wear them anymore.

They would probably look quite bad after the first few wears (or right from the start)


Leather dress shoes Between $150 to $250 SGD

This is the spectrum where you're likely to find either bad overpriced shoes

or a decent entry level shoes.

This depends on how much research you're willing to do over this price range.

It is possible for shoes to be made out of genuine leather (likely corrected grain or top grain) at this range

But don't expect top quality full grain calf leather.

Also, it is also very likely for shoes to be cemented with rubber soles.

Maybe Blake stitched if its on Mega Clearance sale or something.

Rough Estimation Of Leather Shoe Shelf Life


If it is cemented with rubber soles,

And you somehow manage to avoid the rain all year round, they could decently last up to 6 months to a year.

If you somehow managed a steal, blake stitched with leather soles, 

You can look towards one or two years of use. 

Leather dress shoes From $250 to $450 SGD

Now this is where quality can be found.

There could still be cemented shoes at this range too

But you can expect blake stitching or goodyear welting.  

At this range, dress/formal leather shoes would likely be made out of leather soles, giving them more lasting power.

Also, the upper leather would be higher in quality and durability.

With more breathability from the leather,

it would make your inner lining last longer due to less sweating from your feet.

For example, my CustomMade shoes which falls under this range is made out of full grain leather, for maximum breathability

And a blake stitched construction for durability. 

Rough Estimation Of Leather Shoe Shelf Life

You can expect 1 to 5 years out of them.

Blake stitched/Goodyear welted shoes tend to be more durable compared to cemented shoes.

Also, it is likely that it is made out of full leather soles

Which wears out more slowly compared to rubber soles.

Then again, this is greatly dependent on

  • how often you wear them,
  • do you rotate your shoes,
  • do you use shoe horn
  • do you polish your shoes, etc.

If it is a designer brand (Zara, Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, etc), it wouldn't last as long.

These brands are not build with shoe technicalities in mind, but with brand design.

Such designer brands are also likely to use corrected grain leather,

which is a poorer quality leather, affecting breathability and durability.

Key Note

It is likely the soles would wear out before the shoes. 

Either you get them resoled ($160+++)

Or you have to get a new pair.

Typically, soles wear out within the year if you wear them every day.

You can add a half rubber to extend the sole life and replace the rubber once it wears out.

Leather Dress shoes Above $500 SGD

While i run a shoe brand that does beautiful handcrafted full leather custom dress shoes....

I've never owned a pair of shoes more than $500 SGD.

So i can't speak from personally wearing them.

If you're buying a designer brand (Hugo Boss, Feragamo, Luis Vutton, etc),

it would probably last as long as the earlier range of $250 to $500.

However if you're going for English brands with a long heritage like Church's, C&J, etc,

You can look for them to last between 2 to 10 years, assuming you treat them right.

This depends on shopping right and how you treat them.

Key Note

If you wear a shoe regularly and not maintain them, 

There is no way a shoe can last more than 2 years, no matter how expensive or how high in quality. 

You have to bring it to the cobbler to resole it or touch up at least once in 6 months. 


KEY TAKEAWAY: It is better to invest in a quality dress shoe.

You not just save on money over the long run,

it saves you the time and effort of shopping around each time your shoe breaks down after 6 months.

And you look better.  



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