When to Replace Running Shoes

Posted on 28 February 2013

The general rule of thumb is to replace your shoes after logging between 350-500 miles or 563-805 km. But first and foremost, make sure the shoes you wear for running are actually made for serious running.

If you are serious about your running activity, and your running health, a proper fit and ‘run specific’ shoe should be top priority. The proper shoe will help prevent injury, give you proper comfort, and it will last longer – which means you can run longer.

In brief, there are three types of running shoes catering to different types of runner’s feet, gait and style -style not being ‘fashion’. They are:

-Neutral
-Stability
-Motion Control

Your gait will determine the type of shoe to wear. You are either a:

-Neutral runner
-Overpronate
-Supinate

You can determine this on your own but the best way is to go to a run specific store, have them watch your gait, then fit you with several different shoes that fit your need. The price tag does not mean a better shoe. But on average, expect to pay $90 (US) for the newest style of run specific shoes. Older styles based on season can be found at a discounted price. But most important is the fit, comfort and type of shoe that fits your running style/gait.

That being said, when do you replace your running shoes?

Most serious runners will have, at a minimum, two pairs of shoes. This gives each pair time to ‘recover’ from a run, which in turn gives them more life. If you alternate or rotate shoes after each run, your shoes will last longer.

Serious runners log their runs. They log distance, type of run, and the terrain: from street, to trail, to cross training and/or a run on the treadmill. Getting an idea of your distance is the key to gauging the life of your shoe. So track your mileage.

The general rule of thumb is to replace your shoes between 350-500 miles (563-805 km). This seems quite the distance traveled; yet some runners achieve these distances in just a couple of months.

If you run consistently, are you a longer runner or a shorter distance runner? Those who train for longer distances will put more wear and tear on their shoes and will more likely change shoes on the lower end (<350 miles or <563 km). Those who run shorter distances and run less often can make their shoes last for 500 miles/805 km!

Although mileage is a good indicator of shoe replacement, the wear and tear of the sole, as well as the comfort of the shoe, is as important.

If you are feeling discomfort with your pair do not ignore it. This could lead to serious injury. If the sole of the shoe shows significant wear, replace the shoes as this can also lead to the discomfort and eventual injury.

On a personal note, I do not like running more than 250 miles/402 km on a pair of shoes and my goals are 15-25+ miles or 24-40+ km a week. I rotate 3-4 pairs of shoes, but I also put my shoes through all sorts of tests: rain, extreme heat, tough terrain, and races. Plus, I love shoes and 250 miles/402 km is a great excuse to buy a new pair.

Follow the indicators provided: mileage, wear and tear on the sole, and overall comfort, and you will lower the risk of injuries and your ‘running life’ will be a pleasurable one.

The following is ‘my’ gauge on how runners can determine when to replace their running shoes.

For runners who run:

-5-25 miles a week. / 8-40 km a week
Replace shoes every 250-500 miles or 402/805 km (based on the indicators provided above)

-25-30 miles a week / 40-48 km a week
Replace shoes every 3-4 months. That’s approximately 300-480 miles or 483-772 km

-30-50 miles a week / 48-80 km a week
Replace shoes every 2-2.5 months. That’s approximately 248-500 miles or 399-805 km

Anything more than 50 miles/80 km a week and you better have a nice bank account.

Remember, this is all based on the comfort and wear and tear of the shoes; which is different from runner to runner.

Longer distances on a daily run from a heavier runner will put more wear and tear on their shoes than longer distances for a lighter runner.

Shorter distances on a rugged trail run will put more wear and tear on shoes over the same distance on a treadmill.

Once the shoe loses shock absorption capability and stability, a runner is at risk for injury.

The most important issue is the running style/gait and the proper shoe and fit for that style. Taking your shoes to the maximum distance in miles may be perfectly fine if wear and tear and the comfort of the shoes remain. Many factors will come into play but the most important ones are comfort, proper fit, and the correct style- and I reiterate – not ‘fashion style’.

So hit the pavement and run like the wind! Don’t ever stop!

“There is no finish line!” Nike

Related Article: “Pick the right Running Shoe

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