Hydrolysis of polyurethane soles -warning

bewsher500

Well-Known Member
Polyurethane moulded soles are quite common in a variety of shoes but increasingly in the flexible style walking or work boot.
they are distinct from other types of sole in that they are often spongey, moulded direct onto the leather upper often without a traditional stitched on welt

I have several pairs of these including a matched pair of Kodiak boots I bought in Canada approximately 5-6 years ago.
one pair I brought back here which have seen viscous abuse as combined work boot, general walkabout boot and sometime shooting/stalking boot.
the other pair I left in Canada with my inlaws for use when visiting them. I have used them probably 6-7 times in that time.
in the last 3.5 years I have not been back or seen them and they have been stored in a warm dry cupboard.

i planned to bring them back with me this trip.
when I got there this time when I went to put them on I noticed the bead between sole and upper had a few cracks, nothing major.
but on closer inspection it was soft and could be picked away.
closer still revealed a section of sole cracked away from the upper.

i bought some glue and did a quick repair ready for a fishing escapade the following day.

duly fixed I set off, thankfully not too far, a short drive, an even shorter walk and a spot under a bridge.
after about 45 mins of standing and occasional moving around the rocks I noticed on one boot the toe was gaping crocodile style
as I moved off the heel gave way on the other!

Calling it a night for fear of going barefoot I started back along the 200 yds of Tarmac back to the car.
within 20 yds one sole fell off
within 100 yds the other fell off!!


when I got back and examined the sole the foam polyurethane was completely perished and crumbled at the slightest touch.
the entire surface that was not exposed to the air was mush.



kodiak had this to say:

Hello,

According to the labels inside the boots, they were manufactured in February 2001. These boots are 14 years old.
These boots have polyurethane soles and the present state of these soles is due to aging. They have basically dried out in time. This usually happens after 5 years.
What is occurring is a common phenomenon in the footwear manufacturing industry known as "hydrolysis".
This refers to the natural breakdown and decomposition of the polyurethane compound of the mid and outsole.
It is not a manufacturing defect, but a natural process that occurs in time and which cannot be prevented, regardless if the footwear is worn or not and regardless of the brand of the footwear. Please note that hydrolysis does not affect rubber, therefore footwear with rubber outsoles would last longer(although it is a bit heavier than polyurethane).
The manufacturer's warranty is 6 months from the date of purchase and unfortunately your boots are no longer under warranty.

Best regards,

Adriana Canhoto
Bilingual Customer Service & Inside Sales Representative

KODIAK GROUP HOLDINGS INC
Phone: 519-620-4000 x 4022
Fax: 866-563-4252




Apparently despite being only 7 years old to me they had been made some years earlier, more concerning was the firm's expectation of a 5 year life span!!
Some time on Google shows me that this is a much bigger problem with a huge number of brands.

polyurethane hydrolysis soles - Google Search


they are now off to be repaired and have a nice pair of rubber soles fitted to the essentially untouched uppers!!

Buyer beware


 

Loki

Well-Known Member
Hiya

Similar with my neighbours Timberland boots - after a protracted communication saga he was eventually refunded 90£ by Timberland in the US towards a replacement pair.
This was an unworn pair that had been stored in the original box..............

L
 

bewsher500

Well-Known Member
just looked at the abused pair I have had here for the last few years
starting to go the same way

clearly a half life of degradation involved as they came from the same lot

odd that this is not a more widely know issue
 

Dalua

Well-Known Member
Moulded bits and glue are fine in boot/shoe manufacture as long as they're supported by proper structure and stitching.
I like traditionally-assembled boots, often Veldschoen-type construction, and with Commando soles and heels. Alfred Sargent and Hoggs are the makes that spring to mind - but I think Hoggs might actually be made by Loake, Cheaney, Trickers or some firm of that kind.

Fully-waterproof on the hill in January they are not - but army-surplus MVP oversocks sort that out.
 

bewsher500

Well-Known Member
Moulded bits and glue are fine in boot/shoe manufacture as long as they're supported by proper structure and stitching..

but that is the point
they are not
the material is known to naturally degrade over time
IMO a timescale that is not one you would be happy with if you have just dropped £200+ on a pair of boots....especially if the clock has been ticking in a wharehouse, shop, storeroom etc before you buy as was the case with mine
 

Alantoo

Well-Known Member
Seems to me to be a bit of a "Colin Chapman Lotus engineering philosophy" sort of trade off.

You can have the superb lightness and strength, or the longevity, but not both.

Interesting considering the move to polyurethane bushes by the off road fraternity.

I am wondering if this is the reason the army are flogging off "new" Extreme Cold Conditions boots at £60. They are unused, but maybe approaching their use by date…Have to do some research and see what Vibram soles are made from.

I bought a pair of Kodiak Boots when visiting friends in Canada in order to do some work around their farm. Must of been the late nineties. They were beautifully comfortable and I liked the styling. Gave them away at the end of my stay, I must ask and see if they are still in use.

Alan
 

patrickt

Well-Known Member
Polyurethane moulded soles are quite common in a variety of shoes but increasingly in the flexible style walking or work boot.
they are distinct from other types of sole in that they are often spongey, moulded direct onto the leather upper often without a traditional stitched on welt

I have several pairs of these including a matched pair of Kodiak boots I bought in Canada approximately 5-6 years ago.
one pair I brought back here which have seen viscous abuse as combined work boot, general walkabout boot and sometime shooting/stalking boot.
the other pair I left in Canada with my inlaws for use when visiting them. I have used them probably 6-7 times in that time.
in the last 3.5 years I have not been back or seen them and they have been stored in a warm dry cupboard.

i planned to bring them back with me this trip.
when I got there this time when I went to put them on I noticed the bead between sole and upper had a few cracks, nothing major.
but on closer inspection it was soft and could be picked away.
closer still revealed a section of sole cracked away from the upper.

i bought some glue and did a quick repair ready for a fishing escapade the following day.

duly fixed I set off, thankfully not too far, a short drive, an even shorter walk and a spot under a bridge.
after about 45 mins of standing and occasional moving around the rocks I noticed on one boot the toe was gaping crocodile style
as I moved off the heel gave way on the other!

Calling it a night for fear of going barefoot I started back along the 200 yds of Tarmac back to the car.
within 20 yds one sole fell off
within 100 yds the other fell off!!


when I got back and examined the sole the foam polyurethane was completely perished and crumbled at the slightest touch.
the entire surface that was not exposed to the air was mush.



kodiak had this to say:

Hello,

According to the labels inside the boots, they were manufactured in February 2001. These boots are 14 years old.
These boots have polyurethane soles and the present state of these soles is due to aging. They have basically dried out in time. This usually happens after 5 years.
What is occurring is a common phenomenon in the footwear manufacturing industry known as "hydrolysis".
This refers to the natural breakdown and decomposition of the polyurethane compound of the mid and outsole.
It is not a manufacturing defect, but a natural process that occurs in time and which cannot be prevented, regardless if the footwear is worn or not and regardless of the brand of the footwear. Please note that hydrolysis does not affect rubber, therefore footwear with rubber outsoles would last longer(although it is a bit heavier than polyurethane).
The manufacturer's warranty is 6 months from the date of purchase and unfortunately your boots are no longer under warranty.

Best regards,

Adriana Canhoto
Bilingual Customer Service & Inside Sales Representative

KODIAK GROUP HOLDINGS INC
Phone: 519-620-4000 x 4022
Fax: 866-563-4252




Apparently despite being only 7 years old to me they had been made some years earlier, more concerning was the firm's expectation of a 5 year life span!!
Some time on Google shows me that this is a much bigger problem with a huge number of brands.

polyurethane hydrolysis soles - Google Search


they are now off to be repaired and have a nice pair of rubber soles fitted to the essentially untouched uppers!!

Buyer beware


That was...... some..... curry
 

Tkydon

New Member
Under UK Consumer Protection Law, regardless of stated warranty, goods have to be made using Suitable Materials for the Purpose, and therefore, the soles are clearly not Suitable Materials for Purpose!
 

ChesterP

Well-Known Member
Seems to me to be a bit of a "Colin Chapman Lotus engineering philosophy" sort of trade off.

You can have the superb lightness and strength, or the longevity, but not both.

Interesting considering the move to polyurethane bushes by the off road fraternity.

I am wondering if this is the reason the army are flogging off "new" Extreme Cold Conditions boots at £60. They are unused, but maybe approaching their use by date…Have to do some research and see what Vibram soles are made from.

I bought a pair of Kodiak Boots when visiting friends in Canada in order to do some work around their farm. Must of been the late nineties. They were beautifully comfortable and I liked the styling. Gave them away at the end of my stay, I must ask and see if they are still in use.

Alan

Thankfully, Vibram is a trade name for a type of rubber, not PU. You can have strength, rigidity and reasonable lightness and get the durability. I'm on my 2nd pair of Altbergs now, the first lasting many many years. We don't expect tyres to last more than a year or two, mileage depending, and I know that each of my 4x4 tyres is way more expensive than a pair of walking boots, but we don't bat an eyelid at that because we expect them to wear, plus tyres that don't see the mileage still need replacing every 5 years or so as the synthetic compounds degrade. It's all a matter of shaping expectations. Basic boot construction using hard commando soles may last half a lifetime but having owned boots like that in the past, they're not the most comfortable and don't do much for my feet or spine, so I gladly forgo ultimate longevity for performance and comfort.

I must check my (not inexpensive) Altberg Tethera boots as these has some sort of spongy insole and at more than a few hundred a pair, I'd be gutted if these let go within 5 years but at least when you buy Alterberg, they have a proper re-soling service offered.

In terms of Consumer Protection, the manufacturers can reasonably argue that 5 years is a reasonable length of time to expect a working boot (walking boot or other) to last. Whilst I have some boots older than this, most of my regular boots need at least re-soling within 5 years of regular abuse. Just because PU may not last longer than 5 years does not make it unsuitable for use in boots where it's mould-able nature and shock absorbency do make it ideally suited to midsole use. I have to wear custom made insoles to correct a spinal issue which otherwise causes rotation of the pelvis and damage of the Achilles tendons. They're £56 a pair to have made and I don't expect those to last more than 2 years per pair.
 
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John Gryphon

Well-Known Member
Vibram? Try Vibram when crossing stony river rock/pebbled creeks wearing Vibram,any rock that has the slightest bit of algae growth on it results in an arse up for the unwary.
Any slime on a rock and the Vibram soles are slipperier than two eels shaggin` in a bucket of snot.
 

Tartan_Terrier

Well-Known Member
I had the same with a pair of Danish issue hot weather boots (made by Le Bock). Great condition otherwise, but they just started crumbling away suddenly. I've got another pair that I was issued in 2011, and they're still okay.
 

Klenchblaize

Well-Known Member
I posted a picture of just such a malady in a pair of Meindl a couple of years ago. Cost £50 to have replacement soles fitted and of a different material.

Here is the contact if you still have the boots:-

Bramwell International Ltd
Hincaster Hall - Milnthorpe LA7 7ND - UK (Registered No: 7198286)
T:015395-60214 F: 015395-61744 E: hilda@bramwell-int.com W: www.bramwell-int.com

K
 
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