It’s Easy To Get Attached But There’s A Mileage Number You Probably Shouldn’t Cross On A Single Pair Of Shoes
According to Strava, Ive run about 950 miles since the pandemic started. Ive worn seven or eight different running shoes over the last 18 months, but the overwhelming majority of that mileage was logged on my Saucony Endorphin Pro 1s, a highly-cushioned, carbon-plated running shoe that I will recommend to just about anyone who will listen.
I really love those shoes. Theyve been everywhere from Prospect Park to Death Valley. But at this point, theyre absolutely donezo. The traction is gone, the fit is too tight and even the colorway once a crisp racing white is now more of a pukey beige.
Why did I let them get this far? For all the usual reasons that casual runners hang on to their running shoes too long; I felt comfortable in them, I was wary of breaking in a new pair, and even with GPS tools at my disposal, I legitimately didnt realize how long Id been wearing them. The official count: more than 700 miles and nearly 100 hours of running.
Its massively important for your health and happiness as a runner, though, to be able to recognize exactly when a shoe is ready to be replaced. The old prescription for most runners swap em out once a year may sound reasonable, but there are a variety of more relevant factors and pertinent clues that should actually influence that timeline. Heres what you need to know.
What Do Research And Experts Say
Heres the main thing I want you to take away from this article: Theres no evidence that wear patterns mean anything. No studies have come out that associate certain wear patterns with certain injuries. Looking at outsole patterns isnt a valid or reliable method for diagnosing or assessing problems. Doing so is like trying to look through a window from a half-mile-long yard to see whats going on inside a house. You might be able to see the window, but you really have no idea whats happening in the house.
The only valid and reliable ways to assess someones injury risk or whether they have a certain pathology is to assess how they move , test the area theyre complaining about, test their strength, test their range of motion, test their mobility, take a thorough history, ask about their training, and actually look at the person! Only then will you have an idea of whats truly going on and be able to make some conclusions.
Again, no wear pattern has ever been linked to a pathology. Even those who argue that certain wear patterns mean you pronate or supinate havent figured out that those terms define normal motion and, based on clinical research, have been shown to protect against many types of bone stress injuries.
Three Types Of Running Shoes
Now that you know your foot type, its time to find the right shoe. Shoes are generally placed into three categories. These categories are not always clearly labeled on the shoe or box, so be sure to ask a salesperson or do your research online. Most brands have this information on their website.
Stability shoes are best for runners with normalarches and only mild control problems. The extra stability these shoes offer comes from extra arch-side supports and high-density foam. Stability shoes are typically built with a gentle arch from front to back that provides rear-foot stability and forefoot flexibility.
Motion Control Shoe
Motion control shoes are great for flat–footed and heavy runners who tend to overpronate. These shoes typically have rigid devices made out of plastic, fiberglass, or high density foam. The arch area on motion control shoes is filled in for increased stability which is why there is a different color at the midsole. The extra rigidity in these shoes prevents the heel from turning out and the foot from overpronating.
Cushioning shoes support people with higharches and rigidfeet who tend to underpronate. This highly flexible shoe is built on a curve and made of lightweight materials that provide minimal rigidity with optimal cushioning.
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Your Running Shoe Wear Pattern Analysis
Take your running sneakers, flip them over and examine the sole. Even if you have excellent biomechanics, you’ll see wear on the underside of your shoe in a specific area. While wear patterns on running shoes are totally normal, they tell you quite a bit about yourself and can be an indicator of your running biomechanics.
As Lower Extremity Magazine points out, “pronation is a necessary component of normal running biomechanics, facilitating shock absorption and stabilization. But abnormal levels of pronation, whether restricted or excessive, can alter gait patterns in ways that can potentially increase the risk of running-related injuries.”
That’s why understanding how you pronate is so important. Because once you know which category you fall into, you can get sneakers made to help you control your pronation and find the best arch support inserts for your running biomechanics.
As you examine the bottom of your running shoes, you’ll probably be able to match them up to one of the three most common wear patterns – medial wear, neutral wear and lateral wear.;
How Do I Determine My Foot Type
Choosing the right shoes for your foot and gait type is key for the most comfortable fit, Levine said. A podiatrist can evaluate your feet to determine your arch height and gait, or you can take your old running shoes to almost any athletic shoe store and their in-house experts can help you determine the best fit.
While you’re distancing, you can also get this information yourself by looking at your well-loved pair.
People with flat feet tend to be pronators, Cunha said, which means that their feet roll inward when running or walking. If you notice that your shoes are most worn on the top inner edge you likely have this type of foot. If that’s the case, you should look for shoes with motion control or stability, to keep your feet in proper alignment with your legs, he said.
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The Midsole: How To Check If Your Running Shoes Need Replacing
The midsole of your shoe is classically made of Ethylene Vinyl Acetate a foam material. The midsole as previously mentioned is designed to be shock absorbing as well as controlling of excessive foot motion in some shoes. Over time this EVA will compress and then will not shock absorb and rebound as well as the material did when new, also when worn the midsole will fail to control excessive foot motion and sometimes may compress and deform unevenly as it breaks down over hundreds of miles. A shoes midsole may well be worn out before the outsole shows any signs of wear. Some tips for identifying midsole wear include:
- As your running shoes wear out the midsole material can become more flexible and rather than flexing at the ball of the foot towards the front of the shoe the sole may continue being able to flex further back in the mid foot towards the middle of the shoe. If your shoes are able to flex further up the shoe not just towards the toe area then this makes it difficult for the foot to form the rigid structure it needs for propulsion.
To test for this take your old shoes to the shops and compare your old shoe to a new model of the same shoe. You can try bending your shoe in half and try twisting the shoe . Also try checking the forefoot stiffness because as the midsole material breaks down you will be able to compress the width at the front of the shoe squeezing sole to sole, with a new shoe you will generally find yourself unable to compress the shoe in this way.
Have You Been Noticing Any Weird Joint Pain Or Aches Recently
Your shoes can have a dramatic effect on your bodys natural biomechanics. Worn heels can throw off your stability and alter your stride, insoles that have lost their cushioning and support can cause your feet to sit unnaturally in your shoes, and any number of other footwear wear and tear issues can throw your whole body out of alignment. Obviously, if youve got a sudden onset of terrible pain in your body you need to consult your physician, but if youre noticing new minor aches and pains you might just need to replace your worn out shoes.
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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 Do You Know When Running Shoes Are Worn Out
Tracking apps like Strava allow you to record which shoes youve worn for each run, so even if youre using more than one pair you know how many miles each one has done.
Top tip: write the date you bought your shoes on the inside and use that as a guide.
However, if you dont know how long youve had your shoes or how far youve gone, here are some signs that it might be time for a new pair:
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Signs Your Running Shoes Need To Be Replaced
Running in old or worn-out shoes can lead to discomfort and injuries. Over time, your running shoes lose shock absorption, cushioning, and stability. When you run in worn-out shoes, it increases stress and impact on your legs and joints, which can cause overuse injuries as well as just general aches and pains. One of the best things you can do to prevent running injuries is to replace your shoes at the right time.
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
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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.
The Heel Counter: How To Check If Your Running Shoes Need Replacing
The heel counter helps prevent excessive heel motion when your shoes are in need of replacing this is one of the areas to break down and become a potential risk of injury:
- When broken down the heel counter will feel flexible when compressed side to side.
- The heel counter may appear to deviate towards one side when looking at the shoe from behind.
- If you apply firm pressure half way up the back of the heel and it collapses under your thumb pressure this indicates the heel counter is worn out.
Break down of any of these areas in a shoe can at the very least impact running performance if not put a runner at risk of injury. So it is always a good idea to learn how to check if your running shoes need replacing before injury lets you know their time was up.
Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products mentioned. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance on;How To Check If Your Running Shoes Need Replacing should consult his or her general practitioner, podiatrist, physiotherapist or otherwise appropriately skilled practitioner.
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Signs You Need To Replace Your Running Shoes
If you track your runs with a fitness watch or other GPS device, you’ll know when you hit that 300- to 500-mile mark. If you don’t, it’s much harder to know when the time comes for a new pair of trainers. Looking out for these five signs can help:
1. You have new aches and pains. If you notice that your ankles, knees or hips get more achy after a run, it might be time to get a new pair of shoes. New, unexplained aches and pains can mean that the cushioning in your shoes is worn down.;
2. Your feet get extra sore after a run. When you start to notice soreness and stiffness in the bottoms of your feet, especially your arches, it might mean that your shoes have worn down to a shape that no longer fits your feet properly.
3.The treads are worn out. The treads, or flex grooves, on your shoes are an important part of their anatomy. If they’re worn out, your shoes won’t roll in sync with the natural stride of your feet.;
4. The midsole feels tough. This is a telltale sign that you need new running shoes: If you press your thumb into the midsole and it feels tough rather than slightly spongy, it means the cushioning has compressed and no longer offers proper support.
5. You keep getting blisters or brush burn. If your once-trusty shoes rub your skin the wrong way, it probably means they’ve altered shape during your many miles — time for a new pair.
How Worn Are The Soles Under Your Heels Specifically
When youre walking, the outside edge of your heels tends to be the first part of your foot to strike the ground. This heavy strike tends to cause faster wear on the sole, and can even lead to the soles of your shoes becoming slanted if the wear is bad enough. The slant can cause stability issues, so you absolutely need to replace a shoe with this level of heel wear. Much like worn away treads, extreme wear on the heel is usually easy to spot. If youre having trouble judging whether the shoes have begun to slant, however, theres an easy test. Take your shoes off your feet and set them side by side on a level surface. Get down so your eyes are level with the surface and check to see if theres a visible slant to the soles at the heels. If there is, youve got a worn out pair of shoes on your hands.
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