Nothing ruins the high of a good run than the low of aches associated with running in bad shoes. Running in older shoes can negatively impact your running form and cause real damage to your body.
Although getting new shoes is an easy solution, the problem can be tricky to identify if you don't know how to evaluate it.
It’s important to note that there’s no exact formula for when to replace your shoes, because every stride, shoe, and situation is unique — but here are some tips to help you get ahead of the pain and replace your shoes at the right time.
The general rule of thumb is that a good running shoe should last you around 325 miles. Obviously, this depends on how you’re using the shoe and the type of running you’re doing. We find that 325 miles is generally accurate for most runners. In some cases, you might get 350 or even 375 miles out of them.
At this rate, if you’re running 15-20 miles per week, your shoes should last you about four months. Make sure to pay attention to how your body feels after a run. If you start to notice new aches and pains, your shoes may be coming to the end of their life.
As we’ve mentioned, it’s really important to listen to your body. If you’re going through your normal routine but feeling abnormal pain, your shoes could be the cause of that. To help make sure that the issue is your shoes (and not just general wear and tear that comes with running), there are some visual cues and tests to put your shoes through.
First, by just looking at them, you should be able to get a general understanding of their condition — we’re not talking about their cleanliness or lack of smell (we’ve all been there with smelly shoes!), but the physical condition of the shoe. Do they look worn down, especially around the heel or ball of your foot? Are there any visible tears? These would all be signs that the physical integrity of the shoe isn’t holding up and they can no longer do their job of supporting you.
Next, there’s the popular press test to help determine existing cushioning and support. You press your thumb from the outside of the shoe upward into the midsole. With new shoes, you’ll see that the midsole has integrity and resistance. As the shoes get older and more weathered, the press test will reveal less and less compression, meaning there’s little or no cushioning left--they may also feel extremely "marshmallow like." That lack of cushioning/intergrity can lead to injuries, and means it’s time to replace your shoes.
These tests, combined with keeping track of your mileage or how long you’ve had your shoes, will help you know when you need to get a new shoe. It’s best to be on the safe and conservative side, and get a new pair before pain crops up.
Your shoes are a tool, so you want to make sure they are in good shape!
Take care of your shoes, and they’ll take care of you! Caring for your shoes directly impacts their lifespan, and you can make your shoes (and investment) last longer with a little effort.
As we’ve noted above, mileage directly impacts the lifespan of your shoes. The less miles you’re putting on them, the longer they’ll serve you. No, we’re not advocating for you to run less! But we are saying that you should reserve your running shoes for exactly that – running. Reserve your shoes for running and use other footwear for daily tasks and commutes, and this will make sure the shoe lasts longer.
After each run, you should make sure to get your shoes properly dried and stored. Making sure they’re stored in a dry place where they won’t be compacted or stepped on will help reduce wear and exposure to elements that could hurt them.
Additionally, when you take your shoes off, do it with care. Don’t just kick them off or slide the heel out with your other foot — taking your shoes off properly by unlacing them and removing them by hand will maintain the structural integrity of the shoe, and allow you to use it for its full life.
Another popular and common technique is to rotate multiple pairs of shoes. This can be expensive and isn’t for everyone, but if you’re running to the amount where your shoes frequently don’t get 24 hours of rest before the next run, you’ll want to consider it. Not giving your shoes proper rest can cause a lot of stress on the foam and supports without letting it recover and reform.
One big no-no is putting your shoes in the clothes washer or dryer — this abuse will quickly add wear to them. The washer will expose them to chemicals that can break them down. The dryer subjects shoes to abnormal heat, making it more likely that they fall apart quicker. Stick with air drying and storing in a safe place to preserve the well-being of your shoes. Dirty shoes are a badge of honor anyway, aren’t they?
By following these guidelines and timetables, you’ll make sure that your shoes last to their fullest and are replaced when they need to be. Bad shoes lead to pain and less-than-stellar performance. By taking care of your running shoes, you’ll let them do what they do best: protecting your body and propelling you to great runs.