When To Replace Running Shoes

Natalie Cecconi
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Body Type

Running is not just a sport. It’s a way of life for many. In fact, more Americans run today than ever before. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated twenty-two million Americans ran at least once in 2016.

So now that you’re ready to do some running, you’re faced with a decision about which pair of shoes to buy. But the important question you must answer is when do you need to replace them?

Try to wear the same shoe for 300-500 miles. That is when you need to buy new ones. Even though it may be tempting to try a new shoe every couple weeks, change your shoes only when they need replacement.

This is because shoe mileage is affected by other variables too, such as differences in the shoe itself, your running pace, gait, foot anatomy, and weight. So, the lifespan of any running shoe tends to vary with body type and the person running in it.

Your habitual running style can also have an impact on the expiry date of your shoes. For instance, if you’re an over-pronator, you wear out your shoes faster.

An under-pronator wears shoes out slower. However, a neutral runner will wear shoes out at the same rate as the average person.

Running Mechanics

The only constant in training is change. Even elite athletes make minor changes to their training regimens all the time based on their goals for the season, their training facility, and their overall fitness level. This is because there’s no single perfect training program that works for everyone.

Every runner’s body is different and responds differently when exposed to the same workout. While this can sometimes make it difficult to reach your training objectives, it also means that it’s possible for every runner to get fitter, faster, and stronger.

For this reason, it’s not a good idea to take your fitness or training regime for granted. And by the same token, you don’t want to keep using the same pair of shoes for your runs forever.

Sure, they will support you, strengthen your arches, and provide you with adequate protection when you start out running. But if you keep using the same shoes without any regard to your fitness levels or injuries, you’re only going to get hurt in the long run. This is why you’ll need to replace your running shoes before you reach the end of their useful life.

Check the Shoes

The shoes should not show any sign of wear or tear in the soles, uppers or heel area.

Anything from very minor surface abrasions to holes or tears are signs that you need a replacement.

A small scratch or a small crack in the sole is not an indication of wear. But anything deeper than that or any hole or crack should prompt you to take action.

The Best Shoes for You

You can replace your shoes when you get a tear in the uppers.

The shoe material can be either mesh or synthetic leather. While mesh tends to be more breathable and flexible, leather is more durable and tends to last longer.

So, if you want your running shoes to last longer, get a shoe with synthetic leather.

Look for shoes with an ample amount of support and cushioning.

Either opt for a flat sole shoe or get a few raised areas with the balls of your feet with the secondary support being in the heels.

If you are not planning to run on long distances, then a flat shoe is more than adequate.

On the other hand, if you run long distances, get a shoe with more support in the forefoot.

How do you track mileage on shoes?

While knowing the proper time to replace running shoes might depend on more than one factor, experts (and runners) recommend that you replace them after about 400-500 miles of running. This is the time when runners are likely to start experiencing more foot problems.

If you have a forefoot strike pattern, with high arches, strong toes and/or high coronal plane, you might experience pain before you reach the 400-mile mark.

Instead, if you have a heel strike pattern, with low arches, flexible toes and/or low coronal plane, you would be better off replacing running shoes after about 600-800 miles.

As mentioned, there are more than just mileage numbers to track when it comes to your shoes, and other variables can influence when it’s time for a new pair.

For example, if you’re running on hard surfaces (roads, concrete) more often, you might need to replace shoes more often than if you’re avoiding them as part of your running routine.

Another important factor to watch out for is how you care for your running shoes. They will serve you longer if you allow them the take a break from time to time and let them recover. By never stopping and taking breaks you may cause permanent damage to your shoes by wearing out the soles prematurely.

Running Shoe Wear Check

Running shoes don’t last forever. After 300-500 miles, they start to lose their effectiveness and their tread.

Now, you might ask yourself, why can’t I just make my shoes last longer? 50 more miles? 100 more miles?

Well, you can do that, but I recommend that you don’t. And here is why:

Running shoes start to lose support, cushioning, and propulsion as soon as you hit that 300-500 mile marker.

If you start running after that, you are putting yourself at risk for an injury.

You will also be wasting your time in the long run. Running shoes work much better when used at their fullest effectiveness.

So, the best way to keep yourself injury free while running is to be prepared for this wear and to replace your shoes as needed.

Wear isn’t the only factor that can make your shoes less effective, though.

They will also be less effective if you expose them to heat, cold, or moisture at unexpected times.

It doesn’t really matter what you are doing to your shoes. The point is that you need to keep them away from heat and moisture.

Types of Running Shoes

There are different types of running shoes to choose from depending on your needs. Generally, you want a shoe that helps you run faster, farther, and more comfortably.

Here are some of the more common types of running shoes:

Athletic shoes: Desirable features are shock absorption, support, and cushioning. This type of shoe is excellent for training and is ideal for people who do a lot of jumping or running on harsh or uneven terrain.

Utility running shoes: Desirable features are versatility, flex, and grip. This type of shoe is ideal for trail running, road running, and cross country running.

Cushioned running shoes: Desirable features are shock absorption, support, and cushioning. This type of shoe is best for running medium distances, road running, treadmills, and cross training exercises. It is best for those with high arches, flat feet, or a heavy heel strike.

Natural running shoes: Desirable features are a flexible sole, shock absorption, and great ground contact. This type of shoe is best for people with very flexible feet, pronounced varus and valgus, and those who need customized motion control or pronation support. They are also popular among barefoot or minimalist runners. This type of shoe is also ideally suited for people with supination.

Common Questions

How do you know if your shoes need to be replaced? There is no rule of thumb for this but as a general rule, many athletes replace their shoes every 500 miles, or 6-8 months. While this isn’t always the case, this is a great rule to follow if you aren’t sure how much mileage you have on your shoes.

How important is it to replace my running shoes with a new pair?

For many runners, sticking to one pair of shoes for a couple of seasons is just as much of a tradition as racing on the same day of the week as peak training for a big race.

This isn’t a bad thing if you are well aware that most running shoes have limited wear and tear before they need to be replaced.

But, I don’t doubt that if you are coming from a more fashion-led perspective, and you like throwing your money away, you have no idea when a shoe has worn down and need replacing.

So, when do you really need to say goodbye to your trusty old running shoes?

When do you really need to say goodbye to your trusty old running shoes?

CHAPTER 6: Fitness

The Art of Fitness

There are many things in life that cannot be taught and fitness is one of them. Nobody can tell you how to become fit because it is an art.

The importance of art and fitness together cannot be overstated because most of the fitness models on the planet have been able to achieve the aesthetic fitness they possess because of the art.

Before you have the physical fitness, you have the mental fitness. If you want your body to perform better, you need to be mentally tuned to the task.

What happens if I don’t change my running shoes?

The most common issues associated with running in the wrong running shoes are soreness and injury. If you don’t fit the shoe well, you will feel parts of your body that are not used to working so hard. If you are running for a long time at this stage, you will get a severe soreness which can take even weeks or months to go away.

Secondly if you are running on a surface which is not compatible with your shoes, e.g. running barefoot on hard pavement, you are likely to hurt your feet.

Another issue with shoes is that they wear out. While running shoes are meant to last for quite a while, they will eventually lose their shock absorption and form. You can check for this by running on the grass. If you are feeling a lot more shock, they will need to be replaced.

Is there a way to prolong the life of my running shoes?

The life expectancy of a running shoe depends on a few factors:

The type of running that you do running surface, the kind of terrain you run on the weight you put on them.

All these factors need to be considered while determining the shelf life of a running shoe.

Different running shoes have different living ages. There is no single number to define how long running shoes would last, but there are a few basic rules to live by to preserve your running shoes.

Here is how long to expect your running shoes to last:

A neutral running shoe, such as the Nike’s Pegasus would probably last a good 400 to 500 miles. In case of distance running shoes the number goes up by a few hundred miles (600 to 700 miles).

Wash off any mud or other residues as soon as possible after the run. Doing so can keep your running shoes longer.

Keep your running shoes away from hot places, such as near the heater. The heat can shorten your running shoes’ life.

Condition your running shoes regularly. This makes them last longer.

Avoid wearing an uncomfortable pair of running shoes for a long time. Switch to an alternate pair.

Check the manufacturer’s suggested replace time.