Some typical questions among runners include: How often should I replace my running shoes? Are my running shoes too worn out? Can I get injured wearing running shoes that are too old? We all have these questions when it comes to our shoes and the truth of the matter is, most runners wait too long to replace their shoes.
It would be great if there was one standard for measuring whether or not it was time to replace your running shoes, but unfortunately that is not the case. While there is a suggested mileage of 300 to 500 miles for each pair of shoes, this should not be your sole deciding factor. The durability of your shoe can depend on a number of different things: how you run, where you run, how often you run in the same pair of shoes and the type of shoe you wear.
The 300 to 500 miles standard can be a great baseline when judging if it might be time to invest in a new pair of shoes but there are a few other factors that should be considered as well. First and foremost, listen to your body. If you are suddenly starting to feel aches and pains while running, take a look at your shoes. Your run may be starting to feel different because they are wearing down. To assess the condition of your shoes, flip them over. Is the rubber on the bottom starting to wear? This is typically the first area to wear on your running shoes, and if the mid-sole starts to appear through the rubber bottom, it’s time to replace them.
Next, try the twist test. If your shoe is extremely flexible and can twist in any which way, it’s likely time to look for a new pair. The last area to really examine when trying to consider if it’s time to retire your shoes is the mid-sole. If the foam of the mid-sole is starting to discolor, has little cracks and stretch lines, it has become too compacted and can no longer absorb shock as well as it once could. Any of these changes to your shoes can impact both your run and your body. You do not want your shoe to be falling apart before you replace it, so look for these changes regularly.
Another question you might have is when to replace your shoes before a big race. Again, you know your body better than anyone else, listen to it. We all know grabbing a new pair of shoes off the shelf and running a marathon the next day is not your best bet. While a long break-in period is not typically needed, a good measure of thumb is about 30 miles. This should give your body time to make any adjustments and ensure you are comfortable before your big race.
All in all, the most important factor is how you feel. We all run differently and each shoe is different. Examine how you feel and how your shoes look after each run. If things start to feel off, it may be time to treat yourself to a new pair of shoes!
If you have questions about your current shoes or finding the right pair to replace them, visit a Gazelle Sports store and talk to one of our trained staff members.