I work in an IT department, and I have been wearing the Treadsafe Executive model for several years now. I like them because they are comfortable, lightweight, flexible, and look more professional than sneakers. It also simplifies and expedites shopping; Since the style remains the same year after year, I don’t have to run all over trying to find the least ugly shoe that fits me comfortably. I can simply pull my size off the shelf, and be done with it! The problem is that during the past year or so, it appears that the manufacturer has been experimenting with cheaper materials, and the quality has suffered as a result. The sole has separated from the upper at the toe within two months of wear on two pairs in a row. Had the separation not occurred, the shoes would have been good for at least a couple more months of wear. The pair I recently purchased to replace these has a problem with the material used for the section of the upper covering the top and front of the foot. Within two months, the smooth surface (vinyl?) is cracking and peeling away from the substrate material, almost as if it was peeling from a sunburn, and it looks like a dog has been chewing on them. (No, we don’t have a dog). So far, the sections of material around the laces and heel have not exhibited the same problem, so they must have changed the material for just the toe section. Again, there is plenty of wear left on the tread, so I will probably use these for knock-around shoes (at least until the sole separates). If my shoes were exposed to abuse, chemicals, or harsh environments, I might expect some of this, but that is generally not the case. These premature failures are becoming a waste of my money. Another issue concerns the rivet in the center of the heel that they use to secure the soles; If it is not properly flattened, it can become uncomfortable after the heel padding begins to break down. I have found that a fairly thin pair of dense foam inserts can help alleviate this. I happened to come across a comparable alternative at Payless Shoe source under the “State Street” brand. This is the “Manager Oxford” from their “safeTstep” line. It is of the same style and appears to be constructed the same way, but the sole is a bit thicker, and probably stiffer. I did notice that they also have a rivet in the heel, but they provide a thicker and more comfortable insole (without those initially irritating bumps in the arch), so I don’t think it will be as much of an issue. I’m not crazy about the fat, round laces, as this style tends to come untied more easily, but I could swap them out easily enough if it proves to be an issue. I don’t yet know how they will compare to the Tredsafe brand in use, but they probably couldn’t do any worse, and judging from the reviews, I should expect them to last at last considerably longer.
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