“Hey, neat shoes,” I said to my daughter-in-law Julie.
“Yeah, I just got ‘em,” she replied jutting out one foot and examining it. “They’re AVIAs.”
I tried to think which of her friends was named Avia.
Julie noted my expression. “You know … the brand?
“No, I don’t know athletic shoe brands. I buy a pair once every four or five years,” I confessed. I kicked out one leg, offering a wrecked Reebok™ for inspection. “I think I got these back in 2004, when I went to Disney World with you guys.”
“Mom!” my son the competitive runner chimed in. “Don’t you know you’re supposed to replace your running shoes every six months?”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because you break them down, wear ‘em out.”
“Only if you do something strenuous in them, like actually run,” I clarified.
“No,” he insisted, “even if you’re just walking in them.”
“But I’m mostly walking indoors, on carpet,” I explained. To damage soles, I figured I’d need to be doing something athletic—like maybe cleaning out the garage.
According to what I’ve since verified from a Google search, my shoes could have aged before I ever bought them. It’s possible I’ve had a sort of “dead shoe walking,” if you will. One website suggested that the glue could have already been drying out and the air pockets dissipating before my footwear ever left the store shelf!
I had to admit the only thing I wanted to find deflated about my sneakers was the price.
The article I was reading suggested asking the sales clerk how long the sports shoes had been in the store. But given the current environment, I suspect it would be difficult to find a salesman who’s been on the job longer than the merchandise has been on sale.
One report I checked said that running (or in my case, shuffling) shoes should be replaced every 500 miles. I did the math. I walk about 15 miles per week—when I get motivated. That happens only when the outdoor temperatures climb above 50 degrees or I’ve eaten a platter full of pasta.
By my calculations, I should be able to go 9 months before wearing out a pair of sneakers. At a cost of roughly $60 a pair, if I follow the 500-mile replacement rule, by the time I’ve walked 50,000 miles I will have spent $6,000 on athletic shoes.
So my question is simply this; if a set of auto tires that cost $600 will carry me 50,000 miles powered by a gasoline engine then why the heck should I pay 10 times that much for tread to help me walk the same distance?
Even after factoring in fuel cost, it’s cheaper to drive than use my own two legs.
Excuse #964: With shoe prices at current levels, I simply can’t afford to exercise.
Diana Estill is the author of Deedee Divine’s Totally Skewed Guide to Life. This book has been nominated as a ForeWord Magazine 2008 Book of the Year. For more information, visit: www.TotallySkewed.com.