wondering if anyone has any techniques for lightweight modifications that could enhance the long term durability of trail runners? For example, putting some kind of coating (normal super-glue?) over stiching lines to help them to repel water/increase long term strength, etc. Or glueing on some nylon patches over mesh areas that you know aren't going to last a long distance. I've considered this many times when I've bought trail runners for bushwalking in Aus. There are times when I wish I had done it, especially on the mesh toe boxes...they pour in dirt and in some bushwacking, particularly spinifex country, my toes cop a lot of abuse from spines.
Maybe Ryan could try some of these things, as well as a bunch of BPL'ers, and collate experiences for an article? It seems shoes such as the Altra 1.5 are probably a very good candidate for such pre-emptive treatment; they have relatively limited durability, yet due to their other features are very popular and just keep getting bought and used over and over again and again.
Probably not much that can be done DIY to reduce sole wear, but upper issues are relatively easily solved. Ryan's suggestion of drilling drainage holes for example (people have long done this for wet environments).