My running shoes are still "only" at 900 miles. They're starting to show some wear on the sole. More wear than my shoes usually have when I retire them. In the past my shoes have tended to look almost brand new when they get retired - even after 600 miles, my standard retirement age. I'm wearing a pair right now that has 600 miles on them. They look great. They even smell great! So now I'm thinking should I ransack my closet and bring those shoes out of retirement? Put another 400 miles on all my old runners. Why don't I just buy a new pair of shoes? Am I a cheap bastard? Or do I just not want to buy another god damn product from over seas. New Balance has several models that are made here in the USofA. But I don't want to buy those either – yet. Not when I potentially have a few thousand useful miles left just sitting around in my closet. How do you decide when the time is right to retire your shoes?
I'm more concerned with long distance transportation of those shoes (eco impact) then who makes them. It seems like with something as basic to our lives as shoes, though, that every region should be making their own and supporting local economies. Although, I do like your idea of fair trade shoes. I'm still planning to get to 1000 on the current shoes. Then I'm going to do some shoe-surgery and get them ready for the next 1000. I'm going to take off that plastic plate on the arch of the sole and see what happens. I think that thing is just getting in the way. Hope we can run together soon.