In 2010, I switched from boots to trail runners (essentially sneakers with mesh tops and extra support) and have never looked back. They have been great for my feet. In fact, they solved all the foot problems I previously had on hikes, which made us conclude that the underlying cause of all the issues was that my feet were too hot.
Anyway, even in shoes my feet like, there comes a time to make a change. I knew I was sort of pushing the time limit of the pair I'd been wearing, but there were still no holes in the tops. They just didn't feel quite as good as they had. It seemed like my heels were getting a bit sore, but walking on hardened surfaces will do that.
On the big Ohio hike this year, we had to trim a flap of loose rubber off the bottom of one shoe, and we bought Shoe Goo (highly recommended) to fill in the gap. I wore that off before the end of the trip. So I decided to look for a new pair. This is always a challenge for me.
But on the way home I spent a night with Chuck and Sylvia
(they claim to like me!), and Sylvia and I took a quick trip into Grand Rapids to do some errands. A sporting goods store had a sign by the road about a huge clearance sale. It was pretty early in the season for shoe sales, but I said "let's stop," and Sylvia, who was driving, executed a fast turn and found a parking spot.
"It won't take long," I said. "They'll either have something I can wear or not." There are never many choices in small sizes for fussy feet for a girl who won't wear pink or purple. Lo and behold, they had my brand and my size in an acceptable color. One pair. Marked down from $115 to $45. Can you believe it? It came home with me.
So, we finally get to the point of this story. Look at the heels of the old pair and the new. They've changed the tread design, but these are basically the same shoe in the same brand. No wonder it didn't feel like there was much padding there.
Side view. Look how much that outer layer had worn down. They wore pretty evenly, so I hadn't realized how bad they were.
And I had the good sense to replace them before we had a real trail crisis. One pair, I had to drill holes in the rubber with my knife and tie the sole back on with nylon cord for the last two days of the hike!
I'm loving my new hiking shoes. They feel great!