View Full Version : Largely unworn shoes unglue after 7 years. I want a replacement, but maker says No.

10-17-2005, 05:55 PM
7 years ago I bought a pair of Sperry beach shoes which are, essentially, sneakers you wear in the water. I wore them between one or two dozen times soon after I bought them, rinsing them in fresh water after each outing to the beach. This year I pulled them out from the back of my closet only to find that about a third of the seam that attaches the uppers to the soles had come entirely unglued on one shoe, and was beginning to unglue on the second.

I asked for a replacement from Sperry, but they claimed it was age, not a manufacturer's defect, that caused the problem, and refused my request.

Now this is nothing that is going to keep me up nights, but I think Sperry is full of crap. IMO, a pair of shoes -- sneakers or beach shoes included -- should be able to survive 7 idle years without literally falling apart. (Hell, I was still ocassionally wearing the dress shoes I wore to my HS prom until about a year ago -- at which point, admittedly, they literally self-destructed. I had no argument there, given that they had survived over 25 years, countless wearings and probably 5 times their initial cost in re-solings and re-heelings.)

So, what do you people think? Am I just an old fart who can't accept the realities of our ultra-disposable society, or a righteous and justified consumer who just got screwed-over by the corporate man?

10-17-2005, 06:02 PM
You got 25 years out of a pair of shoes?!
And now you want to return a pair of 7 year old shoes? Hmm...you are a thrifty one, aren't you. Out of curiosity, do you still have the sales receipt? And how much did they cost?

Personally, I think seven years, mostly stuck in a closet, is a lot to ask for a pair of shoes that hangs together with glue. Maybe the lack of use was a factor in them coming undone?

At any rate, putting on my Judge Judy robe, I have to say 7 years is a fair amount of time for a pair of shoes. I think the Kelly Blue Book on shoes would rate the current value as $0.00 and that is about it. Verdict for the Defendent.

10-17-2005, 08:42 PM
Seven years or a dozen uses of glued beach shoes is enough. You have both. Can they be reglued at a shoe repair shop?

Next time buy your shoes from LL Bean. They never wear out. But if you had them fifty years and wore them every day and they began to get a little "rustic," LL Bean would replace them.

10-17-2005, 09:23 PM
Oddly enough, when I read the title, I thought "Sperry would replace them". I used to work at the Stride-Rite (who owns Sperry) headquarters here in Boston. I also did training at their call-center in Indiana which is probably where your call went. I heard lots of customer stories like yours and they were still replacing them for free while I was there (2001). I do think I remember something about them cracking down on a little. It is just a small group of people that handles those calls and they tend to be generous but I am sure they can't overrule any new company policies.

Even though I think your attempt is ridiculous, I think it is a bad idea for them to turn down your request. Those legendary replacement warranties are great advertising and only a select few special people like yourself actually try to get it honored after years of ownership.

10-17-2005, 09:29 PM
You may have had better luck if you had one of Sperry's leather boat shoes. Sperry is the guy that invented those and they sold them with a lifetime warranty for many years. A couple of the Sperry reps (probably one of the ones you talked to) told me about men returning 15 and 20 year old shoes. They were amused but they still did it. In any case, I know for a fact that your request was far from unique.

Gary T
10-18-2005, 12:23 AM
I see a world of difference between dress shoes made of sewn together leather and beach shoes made of glued together rubber and rubber/cloth/leather/whatever. It doesn't surprise me that the glue would degrade over time. I don't think the company is being unreasonable. This is a case where time can be significant factor, independent of mileage.

10-18-2005, 12:38 AM
Next time buy your shoes from LL Bean. They never wear out. But if you had them fifty years and wore them every day and they began to get a little "rustic," LL Bean would replace them.

Times have changed. They wanted $17 to replace the plastic clip that clips the strap to my campus bag. So much for their famed replacement policies.

10-18-2005, 06:57 AM
Times have changed. They wanted $17 to replace the plastic clip that clips the strap to my campus bag. So much for their famed replacement policies.

Clarks England still has great ones. My dad had a pair as old as I am that he wore once or twice a year (he had another pair for most use); fifteen years after they stopped making that model, he wore out his first pair and started on the second, to find that the rubber had gone gummy in the meantime. That was back in... mid-late 2003. He wrote to them about it; a couple weeks later they sent back a note that if he could send the gummy ones back to them, they'd be more than happy to replace them with a current equivalent, no charge.

And they're comfortable. Once I accidentally grabbed my Clarks instead of sneakers on the way out the door and ran hundred-meter hurdles in gym class; I didn't notice the difference until the teacher commented.

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