How long does lightweight footware last? That's a question I've pondered over many times. It's such an important consideration when route planning that I now keep track of the millage I get from all my footwear.
Inov-8 Terroc's are my standard hiking shoe and have been for some time. They are not the lightest shoes at 760g/pr (UK 9.5) but they fit me perfectly and have a good service life. I've also recently tried Inov-8's Roclite 315 and 290 but unfortunately they just don't last me as long.
Getting replacement footware on a thru-hike isn't always easy as most small trail towns don't stock them. If you're fussy about what you wear on your feet (and you should be) then you will need to send a pair ahead to the nearest local post office. If you know the expected life of your footwear then planning becomes easier. Also, when on a budget, its important to allow for the cost of replacement footware. You really cannot skimp on footwear.
I've read some other reports about the lifespan of Inov-8 Terroc's and they vary widely from 300 km up to 3000 km! Why the difference??? Terrain covered plays a big part in how long footware lasts but also your hiking style. Dragging your feet is not good for long life and should be avoided. I also have doubts over how accurately some users guesstimate the millage they have covered! 3000 km? Really??
I find that Terroc's consistently last me 1300 km IF I apply protective seamgrip on all the stitching from new, and this is particularly important on the toe area that flexes with every step. Without seamgrip the stitching will start to fail after only around 800 km. The pair shown here are the ones I used on my Arizona Trail thru-hike in 2010. They covered 1400 km of rough hiking over 6 weeks and are very close to being worn out. I guess they have around another 100 km left for emergency hiking. The tread is very worn in places and what you can't see is that the sole under the heel on one shoe had started to separate 75 km earlier. I always carry a small tube of superglue in my repair kit for situations like that. The uppers are in surprisingly good condition with only a few small holes around the toe and heel area. Price is another consideration and without discount Terroc's cost £85 and with a service life of 6 weeks you can see how the cost adds up on a long hike. That is the only reason why I've started to look at cheaper alternatives for future hikes.