How To Tell When Your Sneakers Are Toast
Even if youre not tracking miles, there are physical signs that indicate its time to buy a new pair of sneakers. Excessive flexibility is one of them.
Running shoes are designed to be flexible in the forefoot because thats where your bones are flexing, so if youre seeing flexibility in the forefoot, thats not a super big concern, Brittany Gleaton, associate footwear product line manager at Brooks Running, told HuffPost. But if it starts to flex in the midfoot and heel, thats a really good sign that you need a new shoe because shoes are not designed to be flexible in those parts of the foot.
Not sure if your shoes have too much flex to them? Dr. Wenjay Sung, a podiatrist at Methodist Hospital of Southern California in Arcadia, California, recommends taking each shoe in your hands and twisting it.
If the shoe feels weak, as if a simple turn of the wrist can bend it out of alignment, then its time to replace your sneakers, Sung said. Even if one shoe is still strong while the other is weak, it is prudent to replace both sneakers.
Excessive wear on the outsole of the shoe is another red flag. This can take the form of the tread wearing down or even disappearing in some parts.
Typically, the midsole will break down before the outsole. If you are seeing wear in the leather or even the foam on the outside of the shoe, thats a good sign that the midsole is probably already broken down, Gleaton said.
Work Out What Works For You
As youll be able to tell by now, extending the lifespan of your running shoes requires you to pay attention to a lot of things that you may never have heard of before. But there isnt a one-size-fits-all solution for keeping your shoes in optimal condition while you push the boundaries of your performance levels.
You need to know your goals you need to know which surfaces you prefer to run on you need to consider how you store your shoes when theyre not in use you have to consider the weather conditions. You have to clean them properly!
And once youve made your mind up, you now have all of the knowledge you need to tailor the perfect plan for yourself. But you need to plan your running shoes maintenance if youre going to get it right.
So, the best advice I can give is just to be aware of the running conditions as well as your running habits, monitor how many miles youre running, and make a plan to ensure that youre getting the most out of your running shoes and make sure to change them when theyve reached the end of their lifespan.
Dry Your Shoes Thoroughly And Quickly
And, if you have been running through wet trails, during or after a rainstorm, you need to ensure that you dry your shoes properly. Allowing your shoes to soak not only makes them smell bad, but theyll also start to feel uncomfortable. And, worse yet, the drying out process, if not handled properly, could lead to deterioration of the materials in your shoes.
To dry your shoes out, remove the insoles and fill your shoes with a paper towel or newspaper. Set them aside so that they dry properly and the moisture is absorbed into the paper. Let them dry for a few hours or overnight, remove the paper, and theyre ready for use again.
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Heres How Often Experts Say You Should Replace Your Workout Sneakers
A fresh pair of workout shoes is a wonderful thing. Whether youre a runner, a HIIT enthusiast or someone who likes to mix things up, theres comfort in feeling supported by a solid set of sneakers.
But as your shoes absorb the impact of your sprints, squats and skips, they wear down over time and need to be replaced once theyre no longer properly protecting your feet. Ideally, you want to replace sneakers before this happens to avoid injury.
Technically, running shoes are meant for running and cross trainers are meant for HIIT workouts, but the reality is that most people usually wear the same pair of sneakers for all their athletic endeavors . So for the purposes of this article, were referring to the sneakers you wear for the bulk of your movement.
Paul Hunter, a personal trainer and the owner of Grayton Beach Fitness in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, put it succinctly: Shoe bills are less than doctor bills and time off.
But how often do you need to replace running shoes or workout sneakers? We tapped some experts to get answers.
Trail Running Shoes Vs Road Running Shoes
While the distinction might seem obvious, its good to mention some points that differentiate a trail running shoe from a road one.
- Trail-specific outsoles: the bottom of a trail running shoe usually has a layer of very grippy rubber to avoid slipping over ice, rocks or wet pavement. The shoe will often present aggressively designed lugs to maintain traction in grass, mud or gravel.
- Rock plates: some trail shoes ahve rigid inserts that protect the foot from sharp rocks or stone bruises. This makes the shoe stiffer, but this protection is mandatory on certain kind of terrain
- Protective toe bumper: similar to the rock plate, most trail shoes have hardened toe areas to protect your toes from the damage caused by, for example, kicking a rock
- Weather resistant uppers: very often trail running shoes have water resistant upper, higher collars or special lacing systems that help keeping water, mud or small rocks outside of the shoe.
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How To Care For Hiking Boots
Once you picked out boots or trail shoes with longevity in their genes, its up to you to keep them healthy. But that doesnt mean avoiding puddles and laying a drop cloth at the campsite. You just need to care for your footwear after the adventure.
Gently brushing off dirt and mud after your hikes, or gently cleaning the upper with a piece of cloth and some warm water, will all help extend the longevity of the materials, Gerritse told us.
At the very least, you should kick and scrub off any caked-on mud and filth. Moisture, salt, and muck will dry out materials and deplete the footwears life if left untended. For synthetic materials, use a stiff brush or warm, damp cloth to clean debris.
For leather boots, both Gerritse and Haddad recommended leather cleaners and conditioners. Brands like Danner offer an array of gels and sprays to clean and protect leather boots.
Haddad also advises leather owners to practice the mantra clean, condition, and protect.
After getting all the muck off, conditioning the leather keeps it from drying out and cracking over time. Finally, apply a leather protector for an added barrier against the elements, he told us.
When Should You Really Replace Your Running Shoes
If you ask the big shoe brands how often you should replace your running kicks, theyre going to give you a mileage estimate. Brooks, for example, comes right out and suggests every 250 to 500 miles, depending on the shoe. The problem is, theres little in the way of hard evidence to back the need for such frequent replacement, and running coaches recommendations to clients vary dramatically.
I dont follow the guidelines you typically see from the shoe companies, says Kyle Kranz, a competitive runner and coach. My rules are easier to follow and much more economical: If the shoes fall apart or you wear through the bottom, its time for a new pair. Kranz practices what he preaches, usually racking up between 800 and 1,500 miles per pair.
The Myth of Mileage
If a shoes expected mileage lies somewhere between Brooks Runnings suggested 250 miles and Kranzs 1,500 miles, it becomes evident pretty quickly that a shoes lifespan really just depends on the runner. Debbie Woodruff, a running coach based in California, points out that bigger men generally go through shoes faster than smaller men, since extra poundage compresses the shoes internal EVA foam more quickly. Likewise, dudes with less-efficient form who pound the pavement with each step tend to wear out shoes faster than those who are light on their feet. And of course, environment makes a difference: Rough terrain or loose asphalt tears up shoes faster than grass or well-kempt trails.
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What Is Arch Support And Why It Matters
We have done a meta-analysis of more than 150 studies about arch support, where we interview doctors of physical therapy, podiatric surgeons, coaches, and podiatrists.
The conclusion is that arch support cannot make a huge difference to injury risk or the performance for runners unless you have a special foot condition, in which case you should seek a specialist. A few rough guidelines:
- If you dont know anything particular about your feet, buy neutral running shoes.
- If you have a high arch, consider cushioned running shoes / neutral running shoes.
- If you have a moderate arch, buy stability running shoes.
- If you have a moderate arch and neutral pronation, buy neutral running shoes.
neutral shoe vs. stability shoe vs. motion control shoe
To determine pronation, look at your used footwear – do you wear them evenly? If theyve been worn more on the outer sides, youre underpronating. If theyve been worn more on the inner sides, youre overpronating. Even wear means neutral pronation.
Finding Your Level Of Support
Once you’ve decided what kind of ride youd like to experience from your shoes, depending on your biomechanics, you can find a level of support in your shoes to bolster your gait. There are three categories of running shoe support: neutral, stability and motion control .
- They can work for mild pronators but are best for neutral runners or people who supinate .
- They typically do not have motion control features such as medial posts that reinforce the arch side of each midsole.
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Find A Shoe For Everyday Runs
Mixing speed runs like fartleks, tempos, or repeats into your training regimen requires the right shoes. Speedwork improves your cardiovascular health and helps you sustain a faster pace longer to get you ready for race day, or maybe even a personal record.
On the Road
- Nike Pegasus: This shoe is a workhorse with wings. Its reconstructed upper features a softer layered mesh, expanded toe box, and improved midfoot lockdown that combines with springy Nike React foam and Zoom Air units in the forefoot for durable performance.
- Nike Zoom Fly: Faster training runs lead to better race times. A Nike React midsole and carbon fiber plate supply a durable and fast ride to hit those training goals. And the upper combines a comfortable sock-like fit and stable lockdown across the midfoot for chasing those times down. High energy return and durability mean you can train faster and more often.
On the Trail
- Nike Kiger: Lighter than the Wildhorse, the Kiger has a great bounce to it. It offers lightweight, responsive and rugged traction for speed to weave through the trails. Nke React foam and a forefoot Air Zoom unit are an ideal balance of speed and comfort. Multi-directional lugs improve stability even on technical terrain.
What Affects The Life Of Running Shoes
When it comes to determining how long running shoes should last, three main factors need to be considered to help you determine their lifespan.
1. Run terrain
Where you run on the road, trail, track, inside or a mix, is one of the biggest factors that will determine how long your pair of running shoes lasts. Most running shoes tell you what the ideal terrain for that pair is, and for those that dont, road running is usually standard. In reality, most runners have some cross over with where they run even the city has rocky and dirt-covered parks that vary the kind of environment the sole of your shoes are exposed to. The main thing is making sure that the majority of runs you do match the terrain the shoe was made for, or else that shoe may not be the best choice for a long life of use.
2. Run style
The kind of foot strike you have also plays in to the life of a running shoe. If you are unsure of your impact zone when you run, take a look at the bottom of a well-used pair of your running shoes and see what part has the most wear: front, middle or heel. Knowing this arms you with more information when it comes to looking for a better suited running shoe, and choosing one built to sustain your style.
Remember, there is no right style necessarily when it comes to where your impact zone lies. Understanding and knowing which kind of runner you are is simply the first step in being able to better find the right shoe for you.
3. Runners build
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Hiking Boot Shelf Life
Hopefully, youve found a pair of hiking boots youve cared for during many adventures. But no matter how well built and maintained your hiking boots are, they will someday reach retirement.
So, when will that be? Obviously, many factors will contribute to this, including terrain conditions and your own feet.
But, according to the experts, hiking boots of solid construction will carry you for at least 600700 miles, generally maxing out at 1,000.
What about the fast and light crowd? Well, trail-running shoes go through similar abuse. And many times they step up to do a hiking boots job.
Lightweight-type products like trail running would be on the lower end of the spectrum, at about 400500 miles, said Haddad.
Gerritse agreed. As a rough guide with KEENs hiking line, he told us, For fast, lightweight products, expect around 400450 miles.
And for all you step-trackers, that translates to 1 to 2 million steps for trail shoes and boots, respectively.
So hit the trail and treat your kicks with some love. If you do, theyll be sure to take you on many adventures.
Adam Ruggiero is the editor-in-chief of GearJunkie and a fan of virtually all sports and activities. From biking, running, and surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming if it’s outside, it’s worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.
Saucony Endorphin Speed Conclusion
Saucony Endorphin Speed Closeup
Again, I have a hard time not just gushing over this shoe. It is not perfect. There are flaws. But those flaws are the type I can get over.
The biggest flaw to me is the grip on wet surfaces. I was still able to run on a rainy day, but it was not the most fun experience in the world.
The next thing is learning to run in them. These shoes need you to run in a certain form, and I found that it took me a few runs, not to break them in but, to learn how to run in these shoes.
If you shuffle run, or run with low foot clearance, youll need to focus on a high knee drive and push off the ground. The transition from your strike to toe off to knee drive and repeat just locks you in.
Once I got my form down, the shoes locked in and pushed me forward at paces I havent seen since before my Achilles injury.
However, when I say they want to go fast, I do not mean that all of the sudden a 10:00/mi runner will be pulling off 6:00/mi.
These help push you to YOUR fast. When I compare these to the last shoe I tested, the Reebok Floatride Energy 2, it was night and day.
The Engerys were good shoes and very responsive, however, I averaged 9:30-9:40 miles in them. During my 80+ miles in the Speeds, my average mile was 9:05 with the same effort.
When I wanted to up the pace, I easily maintained a tempo run in the Speeds at 7:15/mi pace.
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Use Your Running Shoes For Running
This tip comes from Fleet feet: Finally, you should only use your running shoes for the surfaces they were designed for, and you shouldnt use them for anything besides running. One way to lose track of your mileage is to be wearing your shoes at other times, which will contribute further towards their deterioration. And if youre using track shoes for road-running, they simply wont last as long because they werent designed for that surface.
So if youre looking to get the most miles out of your shoes, these simple tricks dont require much effort and will make life a lot easier for you while also saving you some money in the long term.
Major Wear And Tear Signs
- Worn upper: If the sole is fine but the sides have worn through you might need larger shoes, stretch laces or shoes with a reinforced upper
- Fraying inside the heel: this might indicate the wrong size shoe as the friction from your ankle could wear it down while you run. This could be helped by tying shoelaces more securely to prevent your foot from leaving the shoe.
- Midsole feels too soft: if it doesnt spring back and collapses under pressure its time to replace the shoe. You might be able to spot creases, particularly in the impact zones.
- The shoes dont stand straight when on a flat surface
- Heel counter becomes less supportive, even mobile
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