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 Often Should You Replace Your Shoes
Your shoes are arguably the most important part of your running wardrobe, which is why runners spend so much time and money looking for just the right pair. Once you have found the perfect shoe, you should do your best to take care of them so they continue to provide the support you need throughout your training. This includes replacing them when theyre no longer in good condition. But how do you know when its time to replace your shoes, and why is it so important? We spoke with avid runner and podiatric medicine practitionerLaura Desjardins to find out.
Desjardins says on average, you should replace your shoes after about 800 kilometres. That being said, how long your shoes last depends on their structure and durability. Lightweight shoes with soft soles, such as a racing flat, will wear much faster than a sturdier shoe with firmer soles.
Aches and pains may also indicate that its time for a new pair of shoes. This is because the compressed soles are no longer providing the same level of shock absorption, which increases the stress on your muscles, bones and joints while you run.
Why is it so important to replace your shoes?
If you are trying to manage an injury or correct your running form, replacing your shoes is necessary for this reason. Even if you fall into neither of those categories, you should still avoid running in worn-out shoes to avoid injuries.
When To Replace Running Shoes Know The Signs Of Shoe Death
Originally published March 8, 2018 11:25 am, updated February 10, 2020
Finding the perfect running shoe can be a tough endeavour with hours of background research, consulting experts and trying on and trying out several pairs. So, when you finally do find the best running shoes for you, you want to hold on to them, right?
But, even if they feel irreplaceable and as valuable as diamonds, running shoes are not forever. Even the best of the best can only take so much, but how do you know when its time to replace your running shoes?
, an ultramarathoner and co-leader of November Project in New York City, has spent nearly 15 years working in the run specialty industry, fitting thousands of runners for their first or fiftieth pair of shoes. Heres her insight on when to replace running shoes.
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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.
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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How Long Are Running Shoes Supposed To Last
As a rule of thumb, running kicks should be replaced every 300 to 500 miles. If you average around 20 miles a week, you should replace your running shoes every four to six months.
However, its crucial to understand that different manufacturers designate running mileage for their shoes based on quality and use. For instance, Brooks recommends that clients replace their shoes every 250 to 300 miles.
Once a running shoe reaches its recommended miles, its midsole cushioning loses resilience, and its shock absorption capabilities plummet. The outsoles become thinner, thereby compromising your stability. This puts too much pressure on your muscles and joints and can lead to severe injuries.
However, a few factors may make your running shoes wear out faster and fail to follow the manufacturers mileage guidelines.
Do You Need To Retire Your Running Shoes
Heavier people will get fewer miles than lighter people, regardless of shoe type. If you wear your running shoes casually, those miles also count toward the total. Dirt on your shoes is no big deal, but if you see significant wear and tear, it may be time to retire your shoes. Keep an eye out for heel damage, worn soles and rips and tears.
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Get A Separate Pair For Different Activities
To extend the life of a good pair of shoes, use them for runningand only running. If youre going to the gym for strength workouts or kickboxing classes, get a cross-training shoe thats more appropriate for lateral-movement activities. Henry takes it a step further and has a few separate pairs to suit different types of runs.
Consistently rotating the shoes I run independing on the terrain, distance, and type of workouthelps increase their longevity, Henry said. When I used to run in the same pair every day, they needed to be replaced often. Now that I keep my shoes in steady rotation, they last much longer.
Not only will this keep your footwear fresher for longer, the habit of rotating out different pairs has been proven to help prevent running-related injuries in athletes.
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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.
Do Running Shoes Have A Shelf Life
Asics and New Balance do not recommend buying shoes in advance before using themI reached out to them directly and was told to only buy shoes in the month that I plan to use them.
I think, personally, that this is excessive, but I do a breakdown of some of the components of a running shoe and their shelf life in my article here. You can get a better idea of how long you can store running shoes without using them, there.
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How Often Should I Replace My Running Shoes
When it comes to equipment, running is a simple sportregardless
of whether youre training for a 5K, a half marathon, or a full marathon . Generally all thats needed are the right clothes and, more importantly, a good pair of running shoes. But just how long does a quality pair of running kicks last, and how do you know when its time to swap in a brand-new pair? . We dive into the science to ensure your feet stay looking their best.
Tough And Compact Midsole
Typically, midsoles are designed to be soft and spongy. When you press your thumb against the midsole, and it feels tough, this means that the cushioning has compressed and isnt offering adequate support.
You can also do the twist test to confirm whether they offer adequate support. Holding each end, try to twist the shoe and feel if theres some resistance. If it bends easily, the shoe doesnt offer adequate support. If it feels firm, you still have some miles of action remaining. However, this test is only practical for sturdy pairs that heavily rely on support.
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Youve Done Over 500+ Miles In The Same Shoes
Running shoes are designed to provide a specific mileage based on the manufacturers recommendations.
Typically, minimalist shoes come with less cushioning and are usually last up to 300 miles. Maximum cushioned shoes last up to the 500-mile mark.
When your shoe reaches its recommended mileage, it starts to deteriorate and wear out. So, whether you can see the damage or not if your pair of running shoes has done over 500+ miles, its time to replace it.
Remember, you need to consider the terrain when deciding how long you can stay with a shoe. You should replace running shoes used on rough roads sooner than those used for treadmill running.
If you cant remember the day you bought your pair of shoes, write the date of purchase on the inside part. When you have a rough estimate of how many miles you do per day, you can use the data to calculate how many miles youve covered.
What Science Says
Youve probably heard that worn out running shoes lead to injury. That might be true, but it just as well may not be true. The evidence is inconclusive.
An article published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine examined how running injuries have changed in the last 40 years, what the relationship between shoes and running injuries is, other factors that may influence running injuries, movement, and what they call the comfort filter.
The researchers conclude that one of the most important aspects of choosing or replacing your running shoes is your own comfort. They found, in fact, that if you run in a shoe that you find comfortable, youre automatically at a lower risk of injury.
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What To Look For
The first few times you wear a pair of running shoes, its common to notice hotspots or blisters on your feet. Theyll go away as your feet toughen up, assuming youre wearing the right size, and have coughed up a few bucks for proper running socks. But if that same pair of shoes is giving you blisters or other, inexplicable aches and pains half a year later, its likely that the cushioning on your shoe is completely worn down. Its essentially a new shoe, and one that isnt equipped to soften the blow of repeated thwacks against the pavement.
Practice inspecting your shoes for signs of wear. First, and most obviously, are there are any tears or holes in the toe box? In the back, is the heel still sturdy, or has it collapsed inward? How about the outsole? Has its rubber traction system faded away? For that final question, take advantage of whatever design the shoe manufacturer used for the outsole usually a mix of contrasting colored-lines. If theyre almost indiscernible , youve got your answer. One last eye-test: place your shoes on the ground and look at them from the back. Are they symmetrical? Does one appear to be shaved a bit on its side?
When Should I Replace My Running And Walking Shoes
Finding the right shoes can feel like an endless journey. So once you find a comfortable pair of running or walking shoes, it is extremely hard to part ways. Rule of thumb is most running shoes last between 300 to 500 miles and should be replaced every three to six months. So, is it time to replace my running and walking shoes?If your exercise routine consists of walking 30 minutes a day, or an average of 3 to 4 hours a week, consider replacing your shoes every six months. If you are walking 60 minutes a day or an average of 7 hours a week, consider replacing your shoes every three months. After three to six months, shoes lose support and shock absorption, which may leave you prone to injury.
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Signs You Should Retire Your Shoes
Many people wait way too long before they decide to retire their shoes and by the time they do, they are worn out. It is recommended to examine your shoes when they have reached their first three months of usage.When examining your shoes, ignore the mud and dirt. This just means you have been using your shoes. However, you should be concerned with the shoes general tear and wear. As you examine your shoes, look for signs such as:
- Worn-out soles on pressure points.
- Stretched out heels or worn more one side than the other.
- Molded foot imprints in the insole of the shoe.
- Display noticeable creasing in the side or bottom of the sole.
- Uppers are broken down around the ankle.
- Shows signs of unevenness when placed on flat surface.
Dont ignore any of these signs, as they are all signs of excessive wear. But also keep in mind a shoes lifespan can vary depending on the type of shoes, the shoe usage, surfaces on which shoes are used on, and our weight. Not all shoes are created equal, so shoes with an EVA midsole tend to wear down faster than shoes with a polyurethane midsole. Running on pavement wears down shoes faster than a track, a trail or gravel. A heavy runner will usually wear down their shoes faster than a lighter runner.
What Happens As Running Shoes Wear Out
Focus on how your shoes feel and pay attention to changes over time. If your once-trusty pair leaves your legs or feet noticeably tired after each run , it may be that the cushioning has lost shock absorption.
If your shoes start to fit differently than they did out of the box, thats also a sign theyre ready for retirement. The materials have likely stretched or worn down. And dont discount a vague sense that the ride feels different. Thats grounds for replacement, too.
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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.