Last week, Kathee asked a significant question: "If you are running THAT many miles, how often are you changing shoes??"
Short answer: I'm not changing my shoes. AT ALL.
I've been running in my current pair of Brooks Adrenalines for more than 1,000 miles. Holes are literally wearing through the tread. But...I think they still have some life in 'em.
LOOOOOOOONG answer: I no longer buy into what shoe companies have long led me to believe about how I should change my shoes every 300 miles. And, in that vein, I'm not really sure there's any benefit, at all, to wearing "running" shoes. Yes, I've gone hippie in my thinking. Kinda.
For the longest time, I made fun of my beloved runner friends who decided to ditch their shoes, either for minimalist shoes, Vibrams, or for full-out barefoot. I dismissed barefoot or minimalist running as a trend, and often joked that for each pair of Vibrams, they should sell a vial of patchouli.
Then I read Christopher McDougall's "Born to Run" and I had to admit: He had a well-reasoned argument against running shoes, especially the typical stability shoe that most of us run in. So, I went experimenting. Earlier this year, I tried two different minimalist shoes: Brooks PureConnects and New Balance's Minimus. I feel a gave each one a fair shake, but in the end, neither really worked for me. I pretty much flat out hated the PureConnects, and while I think the Minimus are comfy for everyday walking around and some light running, ultimately, they felt too flat to me.
So I went back to the pair of Brooks Adrenalines (my stability shoe, brand and model, that I'd been wearing for years), and it was like slipping back into a pair of comfy sweat pants: Ahhhhhh!
Arguably, there are MANY other pairs of minimalist shoes out there that I could test out, and there are always the Vibrams and the totally barefoot approaches, but here's what I think about that: Nah. Why keep testing new shoes when I have shoes that I like and that work well for me? Same with barefoot running. I love to scamper through grass barefoot as much as anyone, but I couldn't imagine setting out for a 6 miler on the suburban sidewalks where I run without any shoes.
And here's the lowdown for me: I haven't had any running-related injury in more than 6 years, and when I did experience injury (ITBS), I attribute that more to inconsistent/inadequate training than I do to any shoe failure.
But, all that being said, I return to what I said before: I don't necessarily think I need to frequently replace my shoes; I think they can hold out much longer than what shoe companies prescribe (clearly, their motives are questionable in this debate). And, I can't say that "running" shoes work well for every runner.
So the long and short about how I feel about shoes? Wear what works, for as long or as short a duration as they work. Only time and experience allow us each to find what works best for each runner.