If you've ever ridden in an antique car with solid rubber tires you'll appreciate the shock absorbtion of the 28 psi of air in a modern tire.
It's the same with the foam in running shoes. All those little air pockets combined with the elasticity of the foam provide a cushy ride.
Well, your tires need air once in a while - and so do shoes. But the air in the shoe is encapsulated in the foam and after a while the foam breaks down and there ain't no valve stem. So you're stuck. That's why you need new shoes every 500 miles or so.
Tread-wise, my shoes wear so evenly that they show almost no wear when, after the same number of miles, my buddy's look like candidates for the dumpster. But he starts having knee problems long before that so he buys shoes because of tread wear and not foam breakdown.
Lastly, do companies believe in planned obsolescence? You betcha. Is this one of those cases. I don't think so. For the average consumer, running shoes are way over-engineered given the fact that most folks will never wear out a pair.
But even for a "serious" runner, figure 50 miles a week, that's 2500 miles a year, that's 5 pair of shoes, times $80 bucks is $400 a year. That's still a damn cheap hobby in my book.
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