Terra Spider Shoes 608115 Review

Thursday, August 8, 2013

It's very difficult to find a decent pair of work footwear these days.  I've tried many different styles and brands over the years and few, if any, make the cut.  Usually the first thing to go is the stitching on the sides at the ball of the foot.  Then it cracks and soon there's a hole.  Every pair I've owned have had this problem and from there it's an assortment of different aspects of wear, tear, and generally falling apart.  This pair of Terra Spiders have held up surprisingly well over the last year.  One thing I hate about most shoemakers is that when you find something you like and go back to get another pair, they've discontinued it.  Rather than improving on the footwear they have and making them better year after year, they instead focus on making a continuing array of new styles.  Good idea for trendy fashion attire, but not for work footwear.  When it comes to work, we want reliability, durability, and comfort -- we care not for style.

This is what one year of wear looks like
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These Terra Spider work shoes have lasted me one year; almost exactly one year, from July 30, 2012 to my new pair August 04, 2013.  Although, I would have purchased them a few weeks earlier if I had the time.

In the first week of wearing these the stitching under the ankle bone was really hurting me.  I cut two small pieces of carpet to put in there to keep it away from my ankle which I finally removed after the the break-in period, which was between 1 to 2 weeks.  With my new pair, I'm keeping the laces loose for the break-in period so that the stitching isn't touching my ankle.

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The first thing to wear out were the yellow coverings on the insoles.  It really didn't take very long for them to start peeling off at the heel and toe.  I became very annoyed at the feeling that there was something in my shoe when it was merely the material folding back, so I just peeled them right off.  Surprisingly, it was a much better insole that way.  The yellow top layer holds dirt and water and by taking it off the insole became resistant to dirt and water.  If any dirt got int here, I'd simply dump it out and put my show back on.  Also, I like the non-texture of the plain insole because my socks didn't cling to it but had the freedom to slide around a bit therefore reducing any rubbing between the bottoms of my feet and my socks.  I recommend smooth texture-free insoles.  I think I will peel the top layer off even before they start to peel on my new pair.

No cracking; stitching in excellent shape
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The reason I purchased these in the first place was because I needed a light flexible safety shoe as I do a variety of tasks in the field of home construction and landscaping, many of which require bending down repeatedly and most safety work footwear is neither light nor flexible at all.  I tried many hiking style safety boots and after awhile they become quite flexible, but fall apart easily.  These Terra Spiders need no break-in period for flexibility; they are flexible and comfortable and bend easily upon purchase.  Look at that, you can hardly tell where the shoe bends as the stitching is still in place and there are no holes or cracks; it really held up well in this regard; I've had other Terra footwear in the past and none have done well in this regard before: peeling, cracking, soles separating from the upper, etc. are all typical of every boot/shoe I've tried (even non-work footwear).

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I also purchased these because I was looking for metal-free footwear.  Where I live, it gets cold and wet in the winter for a good many months and I actually got frostbite on my toes due to my steel-toed footwear.  Metal-Free footwear is not only much lighter, more flexible, but also much warmer.

Do these have sole puncture protection (someone commented that they actually do -- well that would explain how I stepped on a nail and it didn't go through).  In the past I was dubious about metal-free shanks (that prevents nails and such from penetrating through the sole of the shoe, but it says nothing on the Terra website nor the box) as I've used metal shanks in the past and had to give them up due to my Frankenstein Walk and the very poor flexibility, but this new stuff actually works.  I've stepped on some nails etc. using shoes with metal-free-shanks and nothing went through.   Update: the new pair I bought now states that is has a "metal-free composite plate".

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The first thing of actual significance to actually wear out were the soles.  You can see the heel and toe of one shoe has much greater wear than the other.  I can explain the large chunk missing from the toe area.  It started as a very small piece that was missing due to my stepping on a raised nail-head; when I lifted my food, it popped a little chunk out about the size of 1cm-squared.  It seems that this missing initial piece allowed greater wear to occur in that area.  Or perhaps I just pivot etc. more on that foot.  I think if I didn't lose that initial piece, I could have worn these for another couple months, maybe, but as you can see, similar wear is happening on the other foot and the heel area is almost worn through as well.  The soles are very comfortable and flexible and this may by a trade-off when looking at more durable soles.  I was surprised to see that the parts of the sole that fold up onto the sides of the upper didn't peel off or anything; especially where the shoe bends at the ball of the foot.

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The toe-kick rubber started peeling off about a month before I got my new pair, but nothing some PL Premium couldn't fix.  The year-old ones pretty much look the same as the new ones, minus the dirt.

Overall, a very good shoe.  It has a 6 month warranty by Terra, and a 100 day warranty from the store I purchased them at.

Reasons to buy:

  • durable
  • light
  • warm (metal free)
  • flexible
  • comfortable

Areas of improvement needed:

  • smooth insole without stick-on fabric top layer
  • Made In Canada
  • more durable sole (unless hiders flexibility/comfort)
  • animal-product free
I also hate when shoes are marketed as being "Water Resistant" or "Water Proof" when all they do it spray on some water-repellent that washes off in the first rain.  Stop that - they're not water resistant or water proof unless they are rubber boots.

It would be nice if companies made shoes that were 'resolable'.  I have a great pair of Redwing shoes, and they are 'resolable'.  They are made as work shoes, but I use them casually and 9 years later, I'm still using them (and I abuse the hell out of them).  I'd love to see that same quality in the Terra shoe, and I'd also love to see the Terra show Made In Canada as I bought that pair of Redwing shoes specifically because they were Made In the U.S.A. (most of their shoes are not made in the U.S.A. now, only a select few).  I remember when Terra boots were made in Canada; I wonder if they also have a selection that still are.

Update: Second Pair: 2014 October:  my second pair of these shoes have lasted longer as I didn't step on a nail-head popping a piece of rubber out of the sole.  Although the sole has worn under the large toes on both shoes in the form of crack-shaped holes -- water was seeping in through there (similar to the cracks/holes seen on my right-foot shoe above), but I filled the holes/cracks with PL Premium and that solved that (I also used PL Premium to fill a hole in the bottom of my waterproof boot heel that was letting water in and two winters later, they're still good!!  As with my first pair, the yellow fabric coverings on the insoles started to come off almost right away -- this time I just peeled them both off -- they're useless anyway... when they get wet, it takes longer to dry than without them.  I should add that if you use these shoes in wet conditions, you should make sure to use waterproofing spray regularly -- otherwise, the shoes take a long time to dry.  If I put them in the summer sun, not so long but if there is no sun... then what?  I bought a pair of in-shoe/boot dryers -- I got the maxxdry brand, but that's only because I had no choice of other brands.  Takes about a day to dry these shoes with said dryers when they're soaked.  I imagine that non-leather shoes would dry much more quickly.  The laces wore out after about 6 months, so you might as well buy a pair of sturdy tough laces at the same time as buying these shoes.

Still a good pair of shoes -- just bought a third pair Oct. 2014 and probably won't start wearing them for awhile as the old ones are still hanging in there, longer than last year's pair.

Update: 2014 October: There is a new Terra shoe/boot called that VENOM that is pretty much the same as the SPIDER, but with a few upgrades:

• TERRA FIRMA-FLEX Metal Free composite toe cap and puncture resistant plate
• Removable shock absorbing PU FOOTBED®
• Heel pull-on loop 

2016 October:  Yes, I'm am still continuing to use the Terra Spider shoes.  I now change the laces to hockey laces (Canadian Tire).  Just buy the shortest ones in whatever colour you like, and after you've cut them to length, the ends melt very nicely to be able to form an aglet with your fingers.  Why?  The laces which come with the shoes are too short, not durable enough, and do not stay tied well - for my liking.


Yoshi. said...

Nice write up. I'm a carpenter and I was researching this shoes and have come here.
On Marks website it says "composite toe, composite plate" so the sole is protected.

They're on sale there till 9/29. $110. I'll get them.

Scocasso! said...

Thanks Yoshi! I grabbed another pair on sale. There's a new one out now based upon the Spider called Venom. I might try that next year.

Paul said...

I know it's been a few years, but are you still wearing Terra shoes?

I've been bugging Terra to tell us the exact weight in ounces (or grams) of their shoes, as I am particularly senstive to shoe weight. They like the throw out ball-park numbers of "2-3lbs" and "5-7lbs" for their low and mid-cut athletic safety shoes, but I can guess that nearly every low cut safety shoe on the market will be between 2-3lbs. KEEN, by comparison, lists the weight of every shoe in ounces/grams.

Do you happen to have a pair of Spiders (or Venoms) that you could weigh with an accurate scale?

Scocasso! said...

Yes, I am still wearing them. Just started a new pair last month. My last pair lasted me nearly two full years compared to the usual 1 year. Guess that was due to working more indoors than out compared to previous years. Only the sole was affected; they had started to crack and split and fall apart. They are a more comfortable foamy sole than other work footwear, so not surprising they are the first to go, but other shoes I tired in the past, the uppers fell apart far before the soles did. If I was working indoors without any chance of stepping in water, I could keep wearing them a while longer.

The more information, the better, Paul. Most running shoes have their weight listed, but why not construction shoes/boots? We are walking around in them all day long. Unfortunately, I do not have an accurate scale at home. I would make a guess at one Spider shoe being around 550g.

I do not really like the laces as they tend to be a bit on the short side and wear out far before the shoes do. I have discovered that using hockey laces works very well. They can be both colour matched and have their length easily changed by cutting, and melting the ends to form a nice aglet is a nice touch.

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