Minimalist Shoes, Maximum Durability

I have reached about the 1,000-mile mark of wearing minimalist shoes. I spent a good deal of time transitioning towards minimalist footwear, which I think was vital to making the switch without getting injured.

The reason I mention the 1,000-mile mark is because I have recently become curious about shoe durability. Kyle, at Revolution Natural Running, mentioned that he thought it would be cool to be able to reference the number of miles that certain shoes last.

Immediately intrigued, I thought to myself, “Why do people replace shoes?” I think the number-one reason is because the midsole cushioning in the shoe wears out. The next thing to go would probably be the tread. And then there are probably some folks who wear a shoe until they literally wear a hole through it.

With the minimalist approach, you can basically scratch the first reason for replacing a shoe, given that the whole point of minimalist footwear is eliminating the cushioning to allow the natural motion of the foot to absorb the impact. Since a thick cushion would destroy this process, minimalist shoes do not have midsole cushioning—meaning there's no midsole to wear out. I guessed that my Inov-8 F-Lite 230s and Inov-8 Road X-Lite 155s would rack up a ton more miles than, say, an average cushioned trainer.

Why does this all really matter? Well, all runners can agree that shoes are not cheap. If you follow the general rule of thumb that many running shoe companies have put out, we should only run 400 to 600 miles on a pair of shoes before replacing them. I believe lots of people think of these numbers and turn away from minimalist shoes, because they can be expensive. However, if we can get double or even triple the miles out of them, the shoe budget decreases.

 I don’t want you to have to take my word for it, so I listed the stats and some pictures showing how my minimalist shoes are holding up. Even after hundreds of miles, they're in really good shape. I should be able to easily get another 800 miles out of the 230s, and another 500 from the 155s.

Inov-8 X-Lite 230s: 461 miles (including two races: WS100 and IA50)

Inov-8 Road X-Lite 155: 417 miles