I am a believer in not letting anything go to waste. If there is food in my kitchen it all gets eaten. If I have extra clothes or items of any sort that I do not use for the most part I donate them or try to find them a home with someone who will or can use them. Same with running shoes. If there are miles left in a pair I wear them. Not to the point where they fall apart or get ratty and nasty, rather to the point where the support I feel I need in a shoe is all but broken down and it just isn’t a good idea to run in them any longer. By the same token, I am a value consumer. I generally don’t purchase items on impulse and am fine with spending more for something that I believe has value, especially in terms of durability.
Running 100 miles in a shoe has always been something of an exception- my rule of thumb has been one pair of shoes per 100 miler. There is no need to detail the obvious wear and tear that breaks down a pair of shoes when running a 100 mile race. So much so that after running 100 miles a pair of shoes could have plenty of life left but perhaps not enough to sufficiently and comfortably convey a runner through another 100 miler. Most shoes have a way of never fully coming back after a 100; the demand on them is too great. This coming from a guy who doesn’t change shoes during a 100 mile race, by the way. Much less even sit down. In fact, to date I have yet to sit down once during a 100 mile race. In 2010 I wore the same pair of Asics at Wasatch that I ran with earlier in the summer at Western States. It was a rookie mistake and my feet were not happy with me over it.
My outlook on this has now changed after wearing the same pair of Salomon XT S-lab 5s at Grindstone and Pinhoti. I broke in the pair several times, including wearing them during my Old Rag run, so they would be somewhat loose and ready for battle come Grindstone. Anyone who knows much about the S-labs understands these puppies are solidly built shoes. They offer appropriate traction. They offer support. And anyone who knows much about Grindstone understands the course is a minefield of steep, technical terrain. The S-labs held up extremely well at Grindstone. Prior to Pinhoti I considered what shoe might be good for the course and I looked over the same pair of S-labs that I wore at Grindstone. Aside from the dirt they were in amazing shape. They held up just as well at Pinhoti and even after Pinhoti they still looked good, felt good and hardy displayed the breakdown characteristics in a shoe that often follows a 100 miler. Also, in either race I never had to adjust the laces because the shoe’s Quicklace systems holds really strong.
So if you’re like me, waste conscious, value conscious, gear reliant and deciding on and buying a new pair of shoes is no small thing- and you have more than one 100 coming up- consider giving the S-labs a try.