The shoe Review #5: The Final Breakdown

we’ve reached the end. Surprisingly the tops show little wear while the insides and soles are beaten down. well maybe not so surprisingly as I don’t walk on the tps of my feet…

Technically speaking, this post should have been posted earlier in the month because that’s when I switched out my walking shoes for a new pair. In case you had forgotten the shoes in question were the above pictured New Balance #574.

The reason I held off posting is that I was trying to find more official information on the length of time a pair of sneakers should last. Figuring companies would best know about their own product, I sent New Balance an e-mail. I never heard back. Well, that’s not entirely true. I was sent a form e-mail thanking me for my interest and telling me that my opinion was important to them. Then I heard nothing.

So I branched out.

I currently have several e-mail inquiries asking about the duration of time a pair of sneakers should be worn (or milage as that sounds more like something they would test for). Thus far, no responses. But I remain hopeful that someone will get back to me with somewhat of an answer. To be honest, if they do, I will probably buy their shoes next just out of respect for the fact that they bothered to answer my question. Or at least attempted to do so.

So without any official information I am left with the tidbit I found in a fitness article that stated sneakers should be replaced every 300-500 miles of wear. As you know I was doubtful my sneakers were going to make it that long. They were shy of the 300 mile mark when they started showing really worn spots on the soles of the shoes. But they didn’t hurt my feet so I kept wearing them. The worn spots gradually got more and more worn.

But again, my feet showed no signs of discomfort. And the soles retained their integrity. So I kept wearing them.

Finally, I felt a sore spot on my pinky toe that usually heralds the beginning of a blister if I don’t stop what I am doing. I decided this was a good point to stop wearing the sneakers instead of wearing them until I actually got the blister.

Surprisingly, the part hurting my toe was not due to the sole wearing away, but the the interior foam of the insole breaking up in little chunks. There was a small chunk of the interior foam missing under the spot where my pinky toe hit. For about a week prior I was seeing little bits of stuff attach to my socks and thought nothing of it. Apparently this was the insole giving up the ghost. While I couldn’t get a decent picture of it, the worn spot where the foam is missing on the heel looks much the same as the spot under my pinky toe.

So I watched the slowly melting away sole only to be undone by the insole.

I’m sure there is a metaphorical lesson in that, but we’ll leave it and move on to mileage.

On the day I decided I was not going to wear the shoes any more, I checked my charts and added up the mileage. The final total of usage clocked in at 538.6 miles. This was calculated using both the treadmill and a pedometer so there may be a little bit of wiggle room in the numbers but I am confident it is pretty close to accurate.

If the 300-500 mile gage is also accurate it means that my New Balance exceeded expectations. As I didn’t expect them to even meet the 300 mile mark, I am both pleased and astounded. Time wise I am a little put out as the shoes only lasted three and a half months and I was hoping it would be more, but I can’t really blame the shoes for that. I’m the one who walked that many miles in that short a time span. Of course, I am kind of proud of that as well so its not really a complaint. I was just hoping I would only have to buy new sneakers every six months instead of every three.

But I’ll live.

Expecting a longer life though meant that I didn’t look up a new pair of sneakers to try for the next round. I simply re-ordered another pair of New Balance #574s. I will be looking into trying out a new pair afterwards though and I have three months in which to find them. Perhaps someone from one of the companies will get back to me and I will have an idea what to choose.

At the moment I have none.

Although I think it might be interesting to see how my weight affects the duration of my shoe usage. Perhaps as I get lighter, the shoes will last longer. Who knows? I certainly don’t, but I think it will be fun to find out.

If any of you out there have any recommendations for sneakers used primarily for walking, let me know in the comments. I’d like to have multiple options to look into trying. After all, if I am doing the walking I might as well see how different shoes hold up during my not so scientific tests.

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