A RHYL pensioner’s shoes literally fell apart while walking.

Nick Gausden was on his way to the doctors when he felt what he thought was just his sole coming lose from his Clarks Active Air shoe while driving.

The 75-year-old didn’t think much of it and thought he would take a closer look when he got to the doctors, a short distance away.

But he didn’t even make it that far as his shoes just fell apart.

Mr Gausden, who said the shoes should have been like new after rarely wearing them in the year or so he had owned them, said: “I thought my shoe was just faulty and the glue had come unstuck, meaning the sole was just flipping about.

“I thought I’d get into the doctors and then see what it is but I took a couple of steps and they both just fell apart.”

“I’ve had the shoes for about 12 to 18 months but they are like new. I’ve only worn them three or four times.

He added: “It’s terrible. I had to get the doctor to bandage my shoe to my foot to get home again.”

Mr Gausden said he had used Clarks shoes in the past owning up to five or six pairs over a number of years, even having a similar pair which lasted him for nearly 10 years.

This pair of Clarks shoe – the Active Air – had cost Mr Gausden about £70.

But upon contacting Clarks he was simply offered a £10 voucher from his nearest store if he brought the shoes in to proved the damage.

He said: “What can I buy at Clarks for £10 beside maybe a few pairs of shoe laces?”

He said he had seen on a TV program this was not an isolated case and it had happened to people all over the UK.

A Clarks spokesperson, in a statement issued to the Journal, said the shoes had experienced what is called hydrolysis – a chemical breakdown of a particular type of polyurethane (PU) material, used in footwear, mainly in soling materials.

They said: “Clarks puts all of its shoes through robust testing before they reach consumers. If customers experience any issues, we offer a full refund or exchange within 28 days.

“The issues raised are consistent with a well reported and acknowledged problem in the industry with polyurethane shoes, known as hydrolysis.

"The term hydrolysis refers to the chemical breakdown of the polymer used when making shoes with Polyurethane soles and occurs over several years, resulting in soles ‘disintegrating’ when stored in certain conditions for long periods of time.

“Clarks began phasing out the use of this material around ten years ago and now uses materials which are far less likely to degrade over long periods of storage.

"Since 2012 instances of hydrolysis reported to us have declined by 63%.

“As both a manufacturer and a retailer, we carefully follow the guide lines set down by Trading Standards.

"As such, we give consideration to complaints on adult’s footwear up to six years after purchase, the period that Trading Standards deems reasonable for manufacturers to be held responsible for the breakdown or deterioration of products materials.

"However in this case, to ensure that we treat all of our customers fairly, we took the decision to offer a courtesy voucher to any customer who returns a product experiencing this issue regardless of the time that has passed since purchase and the absence of proof of purchase.”