Why Do Shoes Disintegrate and Crumble? – You Should Need to Know

Have you ever noticed how your shoes disintegrate over time? The answer to this question is the materials used in their manufacture simply wear down and lose their appearance and functionality over time.

However, if it is a mystery that makes you confused about your footwear, we might have an answer. Let us read on and find the root cause and remedy of why do shoes disintegrate and crumble over time!

Why Do Shoes Disintegrate And Crumble?

why do shoes disintegrate and crumble

What causes shoes to crumble? There are lots of reasons behind that. What are they? Let’s jump right in and find out.  

The deterioration of the shoes can be attributed to the materials used to make them. Almost all of the shoes you see on the market get made of synthetic materials. Recycled PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) gets used to make the upper part of the shoe.

On the other hand, the material used to make the sole is a mixture of rubber and other ingredients, such as carbon black, plasticizers, and fillers such as sawdust. The problem is that the sole gets made of rubber, but the top surface is not.

So, when you wear the shoe, the concentrated pressure on the bottom of the shoe becomes a lot. The force is so strong that it pushes the rubber components through the surface. Ultimately it causes the shoes to disintegrate.

Despite having adhesive properties, when in contact with water and dirt, the surface of rubbers will become covered with dirt and diminish the adhesive properties of rubbers.

So, loss of adhesion also is one of the causes of why the shoes disintegrate and crumble over time. When you wear the shoes regularly, your shoes face a regular abrasion and friction. Ultimately your shoes are going to crumble gradually.

It also can happen that the shoes are not well made from the manufacturer’s end.

However, you can explain the shoe disintegration process by another scientific elaboration. The rubber soles will get degraded by hydrolysis and oxidation.

High-quality rubber shoes are generally composed of natural rubber and synthetic resins. All these materials are responsible for undergoing hydrolysis and oxidation process.

However, you may ask what hydrolysis is?

Simply put – hydrolysis will occur if water and salt (NaCl) come into contact with rubber. Salt is a good conductor of electricity and will accelerate the process of hydrolysis. So, from where do the salt and the water come in the touch of your shoes? It’s simple, from your sweat.

Now, the next question comes – what is oxidation in shoes mean?

Similarly, oxidation in shoes is the chemical change that occurs due to the mixture of shoe materials with oxygen. As we live in the air with a vast amount of oxygen, today or tomorrow, oxygen will oxidize (break down) the rubber, often making them yellow. However, disheartening; it’s a natural process beyond your control.

In summary, hydrolysis and oxidation are the two primary causes of your shoes’ disintegration.

How Do I Stop My Shoes From Crumbling?

How Do I Stop My Shoes From Crumbling

You can do a few things to help your shoes last longer. However, what are they? Let us jump right into it and find out.

1. Wear The Correct Size Shoes

Many people don’t wear the correct size shoes, leading to foot problems. Shoes that are too small can cause the toes to crumple. Shoes too large can cause the heel to slip out, resulting in ankle sprains. It is essential to wear the correct size shoes to prevent these problems.

If you are not sure what size shoe you should be wearing, it is best to go to a shoe store and have a professional measure your feet. You can also measure your shoes by giving a trial while in the shoe shop.

2. Avoid Wearing The Same Pair Every Day

Needless to say, it’s not the general public’s responsibility to know the ins and outs of shoe construction. But if you wear the same pair of shoes multiple days in a row, you’re doing it wrong.

Shoes, like clothes, need time to “rest” to maintain their appearance and condition. Wearing the same pair of shoes multiple days in a row will cause them to wear down more quickly, disintegrating and crumbling. Furthermore, they may even start to smell. Rotating through several different pairs of shoes will help them last longer.

3. Buy High-Quality Shoes

One of the main reasons people do not invest in high-quality shoes is that they are afraid that the shoes will not be comfortable and will start to crumble after a few months of use. Contrary to popular belief, though, high-quality shoes exist, and they are just as comfortable as your average pair of shoes.

However, a high-quality shoe certainly will last longer. As high-end shoes get constructed through high-quality materials, naturally, these shoes can defeat the hydrolysis and oxidation process to safeguard themselves.

There are many different brands of high-quality shoes available on the market; our suggestion is to purchase one best quality shoes so that they can last long, defeating the crumbling automatically.

4. Take Care of Your Shoes

Shoes are an essential part of our daily lives. They protect your feet and make you look good. But what happens when your shoes start to crumble? Shoes are a significant investment, and no one wants them to fall apart.

There are a few things that you can do to take care of your shoes and stop them from crumbling. The most important thing is to make sure that you clean them regularly. You also can polish your shoes regularly. If you take care of your shoes, they will last much longer.

5. How To Fix Crumbling Shoes?

There are a few ways that you can fix crumbling shoes. You can try to glue the pieces back together or use a sealant to prevent the crumbling from happening again. If the shoes are damaged, you might need to replace them.

Gluing The Pieces Back Together of Your Crumbled Shoes

Gluing The Pieces Back Together of Your Crumbled Shoes

With a little bit of glue (or super glue), you can easily fix them and wear them for a few more months. All you need is a strong adhesive, some patience, and a steady hand.

Apply a small amount of glue to the shoe’s surface that is peeling off. Let it dry for a few minutes. Apply another layer of glue and let it dry. Repeat if needed.

Apply pressure to the glued area for a few minutes to help it adhere to the shoe. You can fix your crumbled shoes with glue when the heel or sole has come off. It is a temporary fix, but it will get you through until you can buy a new pair of shoes.

Use A Sealant To Fix Crumbling Shoes

Use A Sealant To Fix Crumbling Shoes

A sealant is a material used to prevent the passage of liquids and gasses through the surface of a material. Shoes are often subject to wear and tear, which can cause them to crumble over time.

A sealant can fix this problem and restore the shoes to their original condition. This will help keep the shoe together and prevent it from crumbling any further.

To apply a sealant to a shoe, first, make sure that the surface is clean and dry. Then, using a brush or your fingers, apply a thin layer of sealant to the shoe. Let the sealant dry completely before using the shoe.

How To Take Care Of Your Shoes?

There’s a lot that goes into making a great pair of shoes. It’s a lot more complicated from the materials used to the construction process than most people think. That’s why it’s essential to know how to take care of your shoes if you want them to last.

Here are a few tips for taking care of your shoes:

  • Clean them regularly with a shoe brush and some warm water.
  • Let them air dry after cleaning, and never put them in the dryer.
  • Avoid getting them wet as much as possible.
  • Store them in a cool, dry place.

Why Do Deadstock Shoes Crumble?

Deadstock shoes are kept in a warehouse for a long time under high pressure. Besides this, most often, they are made with poor-quality ingredients. Therefore, these shoes become crumble after just a few wears. They are not made to be of good quality. This is the main reason behind deadstock shoes crumbling.

The company uses low-grade materials to make this type of shoe. Also, they are old shoes. So, it is common to encounter old shoes that have been out of production for a long time. The leather gets brittle, and the glue used to hold the shoe together breaks down.


  • Why do shoes crumble if you don’t wear them? 

The answer to this question is that shoes do not crumble if you don’t wear them. You can store them away in a closet or shoebox, and they will be just fine. However, shoes get made to be worn, and when they’re not, they tend to lose their shape and eventually fall apart. However, if you don’t wear rubber shoes, they will eventually crumble because the rubber will break down.

  • How to stop hydrolysis in shoes?

The first way is to make sure that you purchase shoes made from high-quality materials. You should also buy shoes that are made to be water-resistant. If your shoes do get wet, make sure to dry them off as soon as possible. You can also spray your shoes with a water repellent spray to help keep them dry.


It is a question that you have been knocking on the internet for years: Why do shoes disintegrate and crumble?

After extensive, painstaking research (and a lot of shoe-related puns), we have finally concluded that shoes disintegrate and crumble because of a combination of factors: the material they get made from, how often they are worn, and the environment they are in.

So, there you have it. Shoes disintegrate and crumble because of science and you. Don’t believe us? Check out the full article once, and know what we are talking about!

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