How Often Should You Replace Running Shoes 5 Signs That It’s Time
47 million people in the US regularly go running or jogging.
And the vast majority will have a quality pair of shoes on their feet!
Whether youre jogging around a track or walking down to the park, running shoes can make a mighty difference. But ensuring theyre in good condition is essential if theyre to continue providing support, stability, cushioning, and comfort.
How often should you replace running shoes though? Allow us to share 5 tell-tale signs its time for a new pair.
Allow Your Shoe To Take The Flexibility Test
You have to test your work shoes flexibility from time to time. In this case, the cushion is one of the parts of the shoe that require a more extensive testing.
What you have to do is to hold your footwear with its laces up. Bend its toe back towards its heel. It is time to replace the shoe if you notice that the shoe folds so easily.
Newer Shoes Feel Better
Your overall comfort when running is important. Research suggests that wearing comfortable shoes helps runners maintain proper form and movement when running, which in turn helps minimize injury risk. If newer shoes just feel better than your old pair, consider switching.
Some experts recommend that runners rotate two pairs of running shoes. If you get a new pair of running shoes about half-way through the life of your old ones, they can serve as a reference to help you notice when your old ones are ready to be replaced. If you notice a big difference in the cushioning of the newer pair, then it’s probably time to retire the old ones.
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Tips For Extending The Life Of Your Running Shoes
To keep your shoes going strong for as long as possible, try these tips:
- Rotate two pairs of shoes: The benefit is greater if you use different shoes because your body gains a slight cross-training advantage as it adapts to subtle differences in shoe design. Shoe rotation also gives midsoles time to decompress and the entire shoe time to dry out.
- Remove your shoes properly: Using the other foot to rake down on the back of the heel to pry off a shoe is bad form. Unlace each one instead and slip it off with your hands. Your shoes will thank you by serving you longer.
- Use your shoes only for running: Wearing running shoes around the house or town might make you feel empowered , but it will also prematurely wear your shoes down. They were born to runnot run errands.
Shock Absorption Is Limited As Shoes Get Older
In a fairly old study, Cook, Kester, and Brunet at Tulane University examined the degradation in mechanical shock absorption in a variety of different shoes.1
First, using a running machine which simulated the impact associated with running hundreds of miles in a pair of shoes, the researchers tested in a controlled way how the shock absorption changed over time.
Then, they compared these artificially worn shoes to shoes worn by actual runners over an equivalent volume of running.
In the machine-simulated running, shoes had decreased to 75% of their initial cushion after only 50 miles this cushioning dropped to 67% after 150 miles and ultimately to 60% after 500 miles.
The shoes worn by the real runners also declined in cushioning, following the same pattern of rapid decrease in cushion initially, tapering off and nearly leveling out at 500 miles of running.
But when worn by real runners, the shoes only dropped to 80% of their initial cushioninggood news for shoe-shoppers.
Heres something you probably want to know:
The researchers found no significant difference in wear properties amongst many different brands.
The Nike shoes deteriorated just as much as the Adidas or Brooks shoes, despite each shoe boasting different cushioning technology.
So much for a superior brand!
Finally, Cook et al. tested the decompression theory, which many runners have likely heard of.
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How To Tell If Running Shoes Are Worn Out
Sometimes the eyeball test will tell you all you need to know about the age of your shoes, but other times worn out shoes might not be so obvious. If your shoes arent telling you theyre ready to be retired, your body might provide clues.
Here are some signs that your running shoes are ready for a slower life of mowing the lawn:
- Your shoes will feel flat. The bouncy midsole foam in a pair of new shoes will absorb impact associated with running, saving your feet and joints from taking a pounding. As your shoes age, though, the foam loses some of its ability to rebound, like if you put a brick on top of a marshmallow.
- Nagging aches and pains. Hard workouts or increased mileage can make you feel sore the next day, but if little pains persist even after a normal run, it might be time for a refresh.
- Worn soles. The outsoles of your running shoes have tread just like the tires on your car, which helps cushion your landings and grip the pavement. But the ground is abrasive, especially if you primarily run on concrete and asphalt. If your soles sport bald patches and excessive wear, they wont serve you as well as a new pair.
- Uneven wear. If your worn soles are uneven, this can signal an even greater problem than just needing new shoes. It could mean you need different types of shoes, like a pair of the best stability shoes, to better support your feet. If that’s the case, take them with you when you go to get fitted for your next pair.
The Sole Is Wearing Thin In Spots
If your shoes are starting to have a decent amount of wear on the tread, you’re likely due for a new pair, says Dircksen. These tread patterns will also mark the way that you strike the ground with your foot, which can give you a good amount of information about your gait cycle, too.
“This can be super helpful if you’re experiencing anything that feels off or injury,” says Dircksen. “Showing a physical therapist your sneakers can give them some insight into how your body is working on the run. Maybe you’re pronating or supinating, or heel striking.”
Don’t just look at the forefoot. The heel cup is a great place to check out intense wear. When it’s past its prime, you’ll notice pilling and even holes in the inside heel of the shoe.
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Always Clean And Dry Your Running Shoes
Another important tip is to throughly clean and dry your running shoes after each and every run to help prevent odor and bacteria from forming. This is especially true for muddy or wet runs done in your trail running shoes.
If you got stuck in the rain or encountered a bit of water during your run, crumbled up newspaper stuffed inside your shoes makes quick work of absorbing excess moisture to help dry out wet shoes. You can even find cedar filled shoe inserts to help deodorize, refresh and dry out your wet, stinky running shoes.
If you hit a patch of sand or gravel during your run, make sure to brush off all loose debris before storing your shoes away until your next run. Also, if your insoles are removable, take them out to dry out between runs and shake out any sand or small bits of gravel that may have found their way inside your running shoes. There is nothing worse than starting your next run and getting a small pebble stuck between your toes.
Your footwear problems solved – meet your new running shoes! We carry the top brands of running shoes including Asics, Saucony, Brooks, Nike, New Balance, Skechers and more.
Theres Just No Springiness
Even if the outside of your shoes look great, you may need a new pair. The material of the sole can become compressed and lose its springiness and cushioning ability.
If youre unsure, bring your running shoes in! Were happy to take a look at them and tell you if its time for a new pair. We currently carry Brooks running shoes, and can help you find a size thats appropriate for you.
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Best Running Shoes For Women
Nike Revolution 3 Running Shoe: $80+ at AmazonThis bestselling Nike shoe continues to earn praise for its sock-like fit. The snug, low-profile design offers a secure, responsive fit that remains comfortable during longer runs.
Saucony Cohesion 10 Running Shoe: $44.90+ at AmazonMany runners rave about these well-constructed running shoes, which are considered ideal for outdoor running. Despite their rugged design, they’re flexible and breathable with mesh panels. Unfortunately, their rugged design makes them heavy at over 10 ounces per shoe.
New Balance Fresh Foam Arishi Trail V1 Running Shoe: $40.78+ at AmazonThese trail running shoes have a fresh, sporty appearance. They’re equipped with New Balance’s premium performance features, including an all-terrain dual lug outsole and foam cushioning. They have less padding than other shoes, so some runners felt a lack of support.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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The Miles Have Stacked Up
Distance covered is a particular metric of importance here.
The more miles you put underfoot, the sooner youll need new running shoes. Recommendations vary on the exact distance at which you should buy a replacement pair though.
However, somewhere between 300 and 500 miles is a good place to start.
Think about when you purchased your shoes and how much ground you cover in a typical week. Use those metrics to work out how many miles they have in them. If the numbers anywhere around 500 miles, then consider ordering a replacement.
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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.
Theyre Causing Pain Elsewhere Too
Worn out shoes can do more harm than good.
Getting a new pair every 300 miles might feel excessive- especially if youre thrifty by nature. However, leave it too long and those old shoes can cause serious physical problems.
For example, ankle, knee, hip and back pain are all common complaints from people who refuse to change their shoes. Theres just not enough cushioning left to soften the impact involved.
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Can You Make Your Running Shoes Last Longer
Eventually, even the best shoes wear out, and youll have to call it quits. But you can prolong the magic by taking good care of them while youre together.
First, use your running shoes only for running. Walking or standing for long periods, gym training, and other activities involving lateral motion create an unusual wear pattern which breaks down the shoes faster. Performance running shoes are designed for one thing, and theyll have the longest life if thats all they do.
Also, while we dont generally recommend dishonesty, we do suggest cheating on your favorite trainers. Keep two pairs in rotation, and alternate so you never do consecutive runs in the same shoes. Youll allow time for each pair to completely dry and the cushion to reset between runs.
And on the note of drying: make sure you give your shoes some TLC after a rainy day. If you run in a downpour, through puddles, or in some other condition that soaks or submerges your shoes, take a few minutes to stuff them with newspaper and leave them in a warm place overnight. Avoid heat , as it can ruin the synthetic materials in the upper.
Try not to soak them, and just clean the surface. Stuff shoes with newspaper and allow to air dry. Voila. Squeaky clean .
Try not to soak them, and just clean the surface. Stuff shoes with newspaper and allow to air dry. Voila. Squeaky clean . Learn more about cleaning your shoes here.
Take it for a 90-day trial run. If youre not happy, were not happy.
Your Running Shoes Lack Fit And Feel
Maybe youre reading this and thinking Duh! Who picks running shoes based on color?
Okay so youre not one of those people. Perhaps you are one of the people who put a fair amount of time and energy into finding the best possible running shoes, doing your research meticulously and trying on and out several pairs.
Despite all that hard work, you may still find yourself face to face with the fact that your awesome running shoes just dont feel right.
Even if your shoes are still in good shape and its not that long ago since you bought them, you may want to consider replacing them if:
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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
How To Tell When Its Time To Replace Your Running Shoes
Since shoes dont wilt, disappear, or come with a sell-by date, how do you know when its time to retire them? You can look for clues on your run or on the shoes themselves, and supplement with some tracking over time.
Chances are, youll be able to sense that your shoes have broken down before you can see that anythings amiss.
If you start to feel as though youre not getting the performance that you had before, or if youre starting to get new aches and pains, it might be time for a new pair, Dr. Conenello says. Anything from soreness in your heels to knee pain could signal the end of your sneakers blisters or chafing in new places could also be a sign. Many runners notice they have a type of ache that only appears when their shoes are close to their demise, whether thats shin splints or hip soreness, Metzler says.
Finally, you might also just notice that running feelsdifferent. When you get a new shoe, it feels light and lively and bouncy, Metzler says. Older pairs, meanwhile, lack the same spark or pizzazz. The shoe feels dead. And thats coming from that foam being worn out or compressed to the point that it cant be rejuvenated. As a result, your pace may slow even if youre expending the same amount of effort, making running more laborious and less, well, fun.
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When To Replace Running Shoes
No matter how much you spend on quality running shoes, they eventually wear out and youll need to replace them.
Replacing footwear, especially running shoes, isnt just a matter of keeping up appearances its important for health reasons. Over time, running shoes deteriorate in cushioning and shock absorption. Once the shoes are completely worn out, they lack the orthopedic support needed for a safe run.
Thats why its important to examine your running shoes on a regular basis. In this guide, well share tips on how to determine when its time to buy a new pair.
So How Long Should Running Shoes Last
Estimations on how long running shoes should last vary, but as a guide, in the right conditions shoes should last between 500 and 750km before they are compromized. Obviously if youre a seasoned runner or professional that heads out on a long run each day, then this can mean youre in need of a new pair of shoes much more frequently than someone who runs for fun or casually. Every shoe and runner is different, so below weve highlighted the major things that can affect the lifecycle of a running shoe, and signs to look out for when deciding if its time to say goodbye to your trusty run companion.
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