This is what shoes look like when you've put 865+ miles on them. The soles look remarkably good, but the uppers are shredding slowly. There are at least two holes on the left shoe where I can stick my little finger through. The tread is still there, and I can read some of the writing on the soles (in the heel area) never wore down.
When I bought these back in June of 2009, the salesperson told me that they would last about 150 miles. This back at a time when I was still wearing Asics GT 2140s and still believing that I needed shoes to correct my overpronation (or whatever it was), and that shoes needed to be replaced not when they were incapable of being run in again, but when the interior structure wore down.
And then sometime in 2010, something magical happened. I wore out my GT 2140s and Asics stopped making them. My shoes became the 2140s became 2150s. They got bigger, bulkier and more cloddhopperish. Begrudgingly, I bought a pair.
And I was not impressed. They caused pain in the base of my knee post-run, and my shins never felt right running on them. And for good reason. The shoes were overbuilt, sit many millimeters off the ground, and obnoxiously heavy.
I was forced to do something. I dislike shopping for new running shoes because I see the purchase as an investment. If I can't run in them, the investment was poor and the shoes may be used for general knocking around. But most likely not, because the pain associated with running in the poor investment often translates to walking. So the whole thing becomes a waste of money.
And thus, in the summer of 2010, I did something. I started running in my flats, full time. And soon the miles rolled away. My steps got lighter and quicker because I was no longer burdened with clunky footwear. My form improved, and the phantom knee pain caused by the 2150s went away. Those shoes carried by through my first 50 mile ultra, and I certainly get some weird looks running in tiny shoes all the time. With any luck, they'll last a few hundred more miles and get me through my next 50K.
But my flats are dying. The holes in the uppers will get bigger and shred the mesh. My foot will no longer be neatly encased in them. Feet will slide and cause havoc. They are inching toward retirement, with every mile decreasing whatever distance remains. As of this post, I have run at least 900 miles in them. Who knows how long they will last.
When they are ultimately retired, may they rest in peace.