The Heel Counter Is No Longer Firm
The heel counter is the firm part of the shoe that sits directly behind your heel. As the heel is the first part of the foot to come in contact with the ground during walking, it plays a big role in helping hold your heel firmly in place and increasing the stability of the foot in the shoe.
A good heel counter should not be able to be pushed inwards or downwards with your thumb from the back of the heel. If this is compromised, the heel can easily move into a suboptimal position that may lead to excess pressure on certain parts of the foot that can cause pain and injury.
Choosing The Perfect Shoe
Now that you know what type of foot you have and what type of shoe you should be looking for, you’re ready to find your perfect shoe.
If you shop at a quality running store, the employees often have extensive knowledge about shoes and can help you select a pair that supports your foot type. When you try on shoes, remember these five tips:
Replace your running shoes every 400 to 600 miles, because the shock absorption depletes with every passing mile. You shouldnt be able to see the white midsole material peeking through the outsole and the sole under your heel should not appear crushed.
Tip : Listen To Your Body
Pain is the bodys natural way of letting us know something is wrong. If walking causes pain in your hips, knees, or back, it may be a sign your shoes are worn out. Similarly, if running feels like its pounding your body…maybe consider getting new shoes.
In either case, pain is generally a sign that the shoes arent supporting your body like theyre supposed to.
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Signs Its Time To Replace Your Running Shoes
Over time, your running shoes lose shock absorption, cushioning, stability, and support. These four qualities are vital in running shoes to ensure decreased stress and impact on your legs and joints to help prevent overuse injuries. The best thing you can do to prevent such injuries is to replace your shoes at the right time. So, here are 5 signs its time to replace your running shoes:
Whether you run 5km or 50km, keeping track of your mileage helps you monitor the life of your running shoes. We recommend replacing your shoes every 400-600 kilometres however this varies depending on your running style, and running surface. Less frequent runners typically need to replace their shoes less often. Alternatively, those who run on rough surfaces will need to replace their shoes more frequently than someone who primarily runs on the treadmill. Nonetheless, our shoes take quite a beating when running as we land with nearly four times our body weight and strike the ground approximately 1,500 times in just 10 minutes of running. By knowing the mileage youve run in your shoes and replacing them at the recommended intervals, you can easily avoid a number of common running injuries.
PRO TIP: If you have trouble tracking the mileage of your shoes, write the date on the inside of the shoe when you buy them to roughly estimate when its time for new shoes.
4. Size and Fit
How Do You Know When Your Shoes Are Worn Out
Theyre your favorite pair of shoes. You wear them every single day come rain, snow, sleet, hail, or a blessed day of sunshine. Maybe you dont remember exactly when you got them sometime last year? but you havent managed to wear a hole in the upper so theyre fine, right? Not quite! Just because there are no glaringly obvious signs that your shoes are worn out doesnt mean that your shoes arent worn out. Shoes can cease to be functional long before they lose their looks entirely, so it can be tricky to figure out when your shoes are in desperate need of replacing. Luckily, we have a few insider tips to make sure that you always know exactly when you need a new pair of shoes.
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What Are The Best Insoles For Running Shoes
Now that you know what your shoe wear patterns are telling you, it’s time to add insoles to your running shoes to improve your alignment and efficiency. The best insoles for running shoes will provide the extra structure and support your feet need to handle the shock of running on concrete, asphalt or uneven trails.
When you’re comparing running shoe insoles, you want to find ones that:
- Fit Properly: Guarantee strong support and great comfort with a perfect fit. Look for insoles that come in multiple arch heights so you can find one that closely matches the contours of your feet.
- Have Firm Support: Road running in particular is hard and fast, so running insoles need to be durable and hold their shape. The structure of your insoles should be firm enough to take the abuse that high-mile runners dish out. Insoles that have minimal structure or are 100% foam just don’t have the strength to support proper foot alignment.
- Maintain Proper Biomechanics. Running shoe insoles need to correct your foot’s biomechanical irregularities. Firm support controls overpronation and helps relieve and prevent common running injuries like plantar fasciitis.
As you start shopping, you’ll need to determine your arch height. That will make sure you end up with insoles that fit your feet well. When you make your choice, remove the factory insert from your running shoes, add your running insoles, and gradually increase the amount of time you wear them each day.
What Does A Medial Wear Pattern On Running Shoes Mean
Medial wear on the bottom of your running shoe is caused by overpronation. Overpronation occurs when your foots natural inward cushioning roll is exaggerated, which can lead to:
- Foot, ankle, knee, and hip-related running injuries
- Arch collapse
If you’re training for a marathon or aiming for a PR 5k, overpronation can definitely get in your way. Experts agree that a runner who overpronates should be wearing motion control shoes.
Motion control running shoes help guide the foot and correct weight transfer. PodiatryToday says “a motion control running shoe differs from a neutral shoe in having the following features: a heel drop of over 10mm, a lateral heel or sole flare, a thermoplastic midfoot shank, and a dual-density midsole.” They also have harder midsoles than neutral shoes.
For runners who overpronate, the combination of motion control running shoes and firm arch support can be a game changer. The support that insoles provide control pronation while improving your body alignment and bio-mechanics.
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What If Only One Shoe Has Excessive Wear
Just as it is natural for runners to show variance in degree of pronation and supination, it is also typical for one leg to be slightly longer than the other.
Symmetry is remarkably uncommon in nature with some research suggesting that for most people anatomic leg-length inequality does not appear to be clinically significant until the magnitude reaches around 20mm.
If just one of your shoes is showing excessive wear along with an ongoing issue of injury and/or pain, it is worth having a full body gait analysis to see whether a significant structural leg length difference is the cause of inefficient mechanics at hip level.
It should also be mentioned that shoes do not always come from the factory identical, and relatively tiny changes in shoe structure can make a big difference to the way in which your feet land.
This is why it is so important to break new shoes in gently, even if they are exactly the same model as your old shoes.
Rotate them with your old shoes by starting with just a few miles in the new pair, listening to your body as you give it a chance to adjust to any potential differences.
If after a few test runs one shoe feels different, or even if both shoes feel different to the last pair, do not be afraid to take them back and ask for a replacement pair.
Are The Insoles Still Doing Their Job
The insole material of a shoe can only absorb so much shock before wearing out. Even arch supports are going to crumple with time, so do yourself a favor and really look at your insole. Does the cushion look as thick as it used to? How about the arch support? Has it held its shape? If your insoles have flattened out, they arent going to give you the cushioning and support that you want from them. Your shoes wont be as comfortable, and in fact might cause you pain.
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Key Areas To Spot Early Signs Of Wear
Running in spent trainers can increase the risk of picking up an injury, especially in the delicate joints of the ankles, knees, and hips. Losing the shock absorbency of the midsole can be serious, potentially leading to microfractures that take some eight weeks to heal.
Here are some of the main areas where excessive wear can suggest its time to replace your running shoes:
A: Excessive wear or balding in the toe area of the tread indicates an aggressive and powerful running style. Early wear in this area could indicate there may be damage to the midsole spring. Plus, losing grip in this area will affect your running efficiency.
B: Worn tread under the ball of the foot, especially when accompanied by similar wear across the heel, suggests a normal healthy gait, this means your weight is evenly distributed throughout your stride and there will be less obvious shoe damage to the sole. Dont be fooled by the evenly spread wear pattern, as this may be underplaying the damage to your midsole. Make sure you check for other signs of damage.
C: Excessive wear on the back of the heel suggests you may have a pronation issue, so ensure youre not using the wrong type of shoe, and check the midsole is still providing support.
A & B: If you notice creasing in the midsole materials in these areas, this would indicate your midsole has lost its ability to rebound sufficiently and is no longer providing the shock absorbancey it did when new.
How To Extend The Life Of Running Shoes
Even though running shoes will eventually wear out, you dont want to send them into an early retirement. Like making a sports bra last or preventing running injuries, youll get more miles out of your running shoes if you take care of them properly.
Here’s how you can extend the life of your trainers:
- Own multiple pairs of shoes. If you run in just one pair of shoes at a time, the pair shoulders all the weight of your running. But rotating multiple pairs of quality shoes distributes the stress you put them through, so they all last longer.
- Dry them out. You shoes will eventually get wet, whether it’s an unexpected downpour or you sweat until they’re soaked. After that happens, its important to dry your shoes out to keep them in top shape . Stuff some old newspaper in them to dry them quickly, or let them air out for a couple days before running again.
- Clean them up. Like running in the rain, your shoes will also probably encounter mud or dirt on your runs. Dirt can be abrasive to the shoes upper, causing it to wear out prematurely.
- Run on the proper surface. Road running shoes were made to run on pavement, and trail running shoes were meant for the trail. Your road shoes wont hold up to the abuses of the trail, and the lugs on your trail shoes will get worn down more quickly on rough concrete.
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Not Identifying Your Running Needs
You should always choose or change shoes depending on your running environment and what you expect from your shoe.
For example, if you typically run on a treadmill at a gym, then you need shoes that are designed for this type of running. If you run outside on concrete or asphalt surfaces then your shoe needs may vary depending on what type of surface youre running on.
Choosing the right shoes for your needs is important. So its best to choose running shoes based on what you need and what kind of running environments you typically run in.
Signs To Look Out For
When assessing your running footwear for wear and tear, try to gauge whether:
- The outer sole has worn through to the midsole
- The tread of the sole is worn to the point of offering much less or very little grip
- There is noticeably less cushioning in the sole when running on hard surfaces
- You can feel uneven ground, such as stones, on the underside of the foot
- The midsole looks very creased and there is little spring left in the foam
- There is uneven and excessive wear on the sole, for example the outer edge
- The uppers have holes or are coming away from stitching or the soles
- The uppers are not offering good support for your foot anymore
- The lacing system has gone beyond repair
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How To Preserve Your Running Shoes For Longer
We all have our favourite running shoes, and it can be a sad day when your loyal and only constant companion over hundreds of miles of sweat and pain is dropped in the bin.
So finding ways to extend the life of your cushion-soled buddies will help delay that sorry day, and make it easier on your bank account in the process.
Here are some of our top tips to keep your shoes fighting fit for a little bit longer:
- Keep your shoes dry
After a run in the wet, make sure you sufficiently dry your running shoes, and that doesnt mean kicking them off near the radiator in the hall. Fully loosen the laces, remove the insoles, and let them dry naturally at room temperature. Exposure to the extremes of hot and cold will wreak havoc with that essential midsole spring and the shape of the upper. If you need them to dry quickly for training the next day, scrunch-up some newspaper and place it inside. This will absorb the moisture much faster. Alternatively, use two pairs
- Clean your shoes
If possible, remove the sockliner or insole and wash separately in warm water and detergent. Remove excess mud with an old tooth brush then scrub with hot water and detergent, before rinsing thoroughly and leaving to air-dry.
- Undo your laces
Yes, every time. Undo your laces fully and slide your foot out, using your hand not your foot to anchor the shoe while youre doing it. Lace up your shoes properly when you put them back on again.
- Make sure you have the right lace pattern
- Rotate your running shoes
Key Signs You Need To Replace Your Shoes
- As your shoes wear out, you may find that your feet and legs are feeling more tired than usual. This is usually a subtle change over time and not apparent unless you try on a newer pair of shoes.
- Older shoes often make a thud sound when they hit the ground, as opposed to a quieter and smoother contact.
- The Dead Shoe Test involves bending the front half of the shoe in half, downwards towards the sole. In old and worn out shoes there will be little resistance and lesser recoil. This would suggest that the shock absorbing ability of the shoe is fading.
- Look at the shoes from behind if they are tilting excessively inwards or outwards this may suggest that the shoes need to be replaced.
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How To Make Your Running Shoes Last Longer
The damage that your running shoes accumulate over time depends on how you abuse them. But whether you use them for short runs to lose a couple pounds, or regular training for marathons and triathlons, extending the life of your shoe counts. For one, it will save you from spending your hard-earned money on a new pair of running shoes.
One Purpose and One Purpose Only
As mentioned, most running shoes today are fashionable and stylish, not to mention super-comfy. But wearing them outside of your running workouts accounts for more wear and tear. Keep your good running shoes for running.
Say NO to the Dryer
Yes, the dryer will dry your shoes quickly after a wet run, but it will also break down your shoes materials. Keep your kicks clean by rinsing them off, brushing them lightly to get the grit off, and then toweling dry and stuffing them with newspaper or paper towel.
Rotation Is the Key
If you are putting in a lot of miles, consider rotating two pairs of running shoes. Shoes need to recover, too. Each run you go on compresses the midsole foam a bit, and it takes time to spring back. Allowing each pair of shoes a couple full days between runs allows them time to recover, extending their life in return.
Proper Storage Is a Must
Running shoes or any other type of shoes for that matter when exposed to extreme elements such as cold and heat can suffer from a serious strain. Store your shoes in between runs in a cool, dry location.