Your Shoes Are Showing Signs Of Shoe Death
Perhaps you chose the right running shoes once upon a time, but even good things come to an end. No matter how perfect your running shoes were when you first bought them, they will reach their maximum mileage sooner or later.
For most people, running shoes have optimal cushioning between 300 to 400 miles. Heres how to spot the signs of shoe death that tell you its time to replace your running shoes:
Health Problems That Can Plague You If You Dont Replace Your Sneakers
Shoes are meant to provide arch support, shock absorption and cushion, and over time these factors wear out quite easily with walking and exercise, Tulpule told HuffPost. Achy or sore feet can be a sign of poor shoe quality and can indicate a need for replacement.
Wearing sneakers past their prime can result in strain to the joints, ligaments and muscles of the feet and ankles and can certainly lead to injury and pain, she said. No one wants injury while trying to stay active!
Sung said regularly replacing sneakers can help prevent athletes foot. Plus, its useful to keep up with the technological advances of sneakers.
In short, safety is the top reason to replace your sneakers regularly.
Often the cushioning of the midsole, the area between the insole and the outsole , is the first to go. Its responsible for the overall cushioning and arch support, Hunter said. A decrease in cushioning leads to an increase in shock to the body, while wearing of the arch support leads to the ability of the arch to fall, thereby increasing demands of the bodys supportive structures, including bones, ligaments, tendons and muscle overuse.
You Have Black Toenails
Black toenails happen when the tip of the nail bed repeatedly interacts with the front wall or top of the shoe. That repeated impact causes bruising, which leads to blistering and the nail lifting off the bed and thats when you see that ugly purple color underneath.
However, if youre running a marathon or an ultramarathon, you can still get black toenails even when youre running in the right shoe.
So, it could be a sizing problem, but with longer distances, thats just how it goes, particularly if youre running downhill quite a bit.
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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.
Why Do We Need To Replace Running Shoes
Other than good running shoes being one of Brad Beers 5 Steps to Injury Free Running, your running shoes are a critical part of your running form.
While most of the visible wear to a shoe occurs on the upper fabric and the outsole, the hard rubber bottom of a running shoe, the wear that most affects biomechanics occurs inside the midsole.
The midsole is the thick layer of EVA foam that cushions impact and, in some cases, is designed to modulate your foot mechanics. Many shoes have a dual density midsole, denoted by a gray block of denser foam under the arch. This medial wedge, as it is called in the shoe industry, is designed to resist pronation.
While EVA foam is quite resilient, research shows that it still breaks down over the course of thousands of footstrikes.
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What Should I Do With My Old Running Shoes Can I Donate Or Recycle Them
There are a number of different ways in which you can reuse or dispose of your old shoes. The first of which is to get creative and repurpose them why not consider using them outside as a plant pot, herb garden or even as a bird-house? Click here for more inventive ideas.
If your shoes still have plenty of life left in them, we recommend giving them to charity, or better still, donating to ReRun Clothing, a community interest company aimed at prolonging the life of running clothes and equipment, founded and run by Team GB ultra-runner Dan Lawson and his wife and family Charlotte, Lilly and Ruby.
Recycling shoes and clothing will become a much easier task as we look towards a greener future. Retailers and brands worldwide are now moving towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly approach, creating clothing and equipment from ethically sourced and in most cases, fully recyclable materials.
How Many Miles Are Running Shoes Good For
Your running shoe mileage and these other signs of wear will help you know when its time to replace your old running shoes.
Who doesnt love the moment you open up a new pair of running shoes and see clean, new kicks wrapped in tissue paper and brimming with potential? A fresh pair of running shoes can inspire you to set new goals, crush your old PR, or increase your mileage.
But the novelty wears off over time and eventually youll need to replace them. Running shoe mileage is one way to determine how long your shoes will last. But there are other factors to consider when determining when to replace your running shoes.
How Many Miles Should Running Shoes Last?
There is no set rule when it comes to replacing your running shoes. An October 2011 review of 18 years worth of research published in Footwear Science suggests that high-quality running shoes can last for more than 600 miles.
But experts generally advise that you get new running shoes every 300 to 500 miles. Thats a pretty big range. Whats more, training volume varies substantially from one runner to the next, and you probably dont put a pedometer on your running shoes. So, how do you know when its time to go shopping again?
Heres a general guide to give you an idea of how long your running shoes may last based on different training volumes.
- Weekly mileage: Up to 10 miles
- Replace shoes: Every 7.5 to 12.5 months
Training for a 5K or 10K
Training for a Half Marathon
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How Often To Replace Running Shoes
Do you know how often to replace running shoes?
If your answer is no then youre about to learn all you need to know about running shoes lifespan as well as how to make sense of it.
Heres the truth.
Running shoes are an invaluable training asset.
They help protect and support your feet throughout the running gait, which, in turn, improves performance and prevents injury.
What not to like!
Besides finding a pair of shoes that suit your running style and needs, the next thing you need to do to make the most out of your running kicks is to replace them regularly.
But how long do running shoes last?
And how to tell its time for a new pair?
If youre looking for answers to these questions, then youve come to the right place.
In todays post, Im explaining how long running shoes typically last as well as some of the warning signs that your shoes are past their time.
Lets lace up and dig in.
Why Change Your Running Shoes
In our running shoes, there is a midsole which has the function of providing us cushioning and support. When we run, we apply pressure and it is this midsole that absorbs this pressure. The midsole compresses and returns the energy to us as we begin our next stride. This is the bounce feel we often experience in our shoes when we run. After some time, this midsole loses its ability to absorb this stress and becomes dead. It no longer has this bounce feel, nor the cushioning and support it once had to offer. This can often lead to injuries.
Just like pickleball shoes or any other sports shoes you buy, getting the maximum support should be the guiding principle when determining the need for a replacement. The shoes must always give you maximum grip and comfort without putting you at risk of sliding or injuries.
But then there is the question of how often should you replace them? How often really depends on a number of factors your mileage, the terrain, and your bodyweight.
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How Can I Make My Running Shoes Last Longer
While no shoes will last forever, there are things you can do to extend the life of your shoes. For starters, only wear your running shoes for running. It’s tempting to wear them around the house or while shopping, but every step counts toward that expiration point. If you love the way your feet feel in them, get a separate pair and designate them for non-running activities.
A second pair of running-only shoes can also be useful in your training. If you rotate two different models of shoes, youll get the benefit of using your body slightly differently and will also give your shoes more time to dry out from each use, which extends their life.
Finally, take care of your shoes make sure you’re removing them properly by completely unlacing them before you take them off. Keep them clean, but never use the washing machine or dryer. Instead, use baby wipes or spot clean them with a brush. You can also extend their life by avoiding heat or direct sunlight since that can cause them to dry out.
Taking great care of your shoes can prolong their life, but keeping an eye on them and knowing when to replace them is essential to safe running.
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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.
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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:
When To Change Your Running Shoes The Mileage Guide
With all the different types, designs, brands and styles of running shoes, it can take hours of research and trying on multiple pairs before you finally decide on the right running shoes for you
then once youve bought your pristine new shoes, you want to make them last for as long as possible especially since quality running shoes can cost a pretty penny!
However, running in worn-out shoes can actually lead to a running injury so knowing when to swap out your old shoes for a new pair is very important.
After youve been running in your shoes for quite a while, theyll start to show signs of wear and tear.
These will be things like poor shock absorption, worn tread, theyll feel flat and you might experience pain while running.
If you start to notice these signs of wear, its time to start looking for a new pair of running shoes.
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Which Running Shoes Last The Longest
Will a more expensive shoe last longer? The answer is not really, as the cushioning in most road running shoes is good for about 300-500 miles. A more expensive shoe will just give you better cushioning/protection over those miles than a mid/entry level shoe. Whilst 500 miles sounds a lot, an average of 20 miles per week only gives you roughly 6 months of shoe life. The difficult part, unless you keep a mileage log, is knowing when a shoe is worn out and ready to be replaced. At 500 miles they can still look fine, but it is just the midsole where the cushioning sits that deteriorates, the upper and sole can still look like new. A common complaint from running in worn-out shoes is aching knees or hips, if you have not upped your mileage, but you are starting to feel pain in your knees, then it may be time for a new pair.
Are you feeling inspired to lace up your running shoes and hit the road? Check out some of our favourite winter running shoes in this guide, or discover a range of running routes, advice and inspiration over on our Running Hub. Need to get kitted up? Our Running Store has everything you need including Running Shoes, Clothes and Equipment.
How Long Do Running Shoes Last
OK, so they cant last forever. When should you downgrade your old kicks to dog-walking status?
As a general rule, replace your running shoes after 300 to 500 miles . But what if youve lost track or you want to be extra cautious about overuse?
There are some external signs to look for: the bottom or sides are visibly beaten up, the treads are worn out, or the midsole is wrinkling. These are indications its time to give your shoes the boot, but dont rely solely on what you can see.
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How To Make Your Running Shoes Last Longer
We know those kicks arent cheap, but there are ways to get a little bit more out of them.
To maximize your mileage per pair, it helps to have more than one shoe in your quiver, Metzler says. Not only does this allow the foam a longer break to bounce back between runs, but you can also better match the shoe to the kind of run youre doing. For instance, choose a thicker, more cushioned model for long runs, and lighter styles for shorter, faster workouts.
Ornelas says trail shoes will last longer when used off-road, while road shoes are a better fit for the pavement. And if you have super shoes with carbon fiber plates, save those for races or occasional speed workouts.
If you cant bring yourself to mix it up or cant afford to buy more than one pair at a time, consider purchasing replacements slightly before your current shoes are toast, Metzler says. Rotate them for a bit, and youll slightly extend the life of both.
Finally, take care of each pair. Untie them when you take them off to preserve the integrity of the counter. Clean your shoes by wiping them off or throwing them in the washing machine on the gentle cycle with a towel , Metzler saysbut never put them in the dryer. If you wash them or get them wet outside, put newspaper or tissue paper inside to dry them. And store them inside, safe from temperature swings and precipitation.
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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