When to replace your shoes

When should you replace your shoes? Many of us have heard every 400-500 miles, but what if they were all treadmill miles, or still look good, or other factors that might extend or shorten the life?

Coach Laura answers your questions in today’s daily podcast


Audio Transcript

Coach Laura: Hey everyone. Welcome to the Extra Kick podcast brought to you by Runners Connect. I am Coach Laura, and today we’ll be talking about shoes. Our question comes from Dawson.

Dawson: I am a fairly new runner here. I just started in July, and I’ve been putting in about 15 to 20 miles a week for the past few months. I was wondering how do I know when to replace my shoes?

I’ve read in various places that 300 – 500 miles is a pretty standard lifespan to [seal 00:00:35] off a pair of shoes, give or take. I am currently at 400 miles though, and my shoes still look and feel pretty much brand new.

That said, all of my running is taking place on a treadmill and I literally only take my running shoes out of the closet for those two to three hours a week when I am knocking out the miles.

Should I keep going with them till I start seeing some wear or deterioration on the tread. Or [smooch 00:00:56] over onto my new pair of shoes fairly soon? Thanks.

Coach Laura: Well Dawson, everyone and every shoe is different, and they already act differently. Things like your size and weight, the surface that you run on, your gait and the make and model of the shoe go into its lifespan.

I personally usually only get about 350 miles out of my shoes but I wear lightweight shoes, and I am pretty hard on them.

I know some people who take their shoes upwards of 800 miles. Now maybe that’s extreme, but it goes to show that the 300 – 500 average doesn’t mean much.

What all shoes have in common is that as they accumulate more and more mileage, the cushioning becomes thinner and stiffer.

They deteriorate more at the start of their lifespan than towards the end. So take note of how your shoes are feeling after a few hundred miles.

This is more important than how they feel when you try them on in the store because this is what they’ll feel like, as you’re running with them towards the end of their lifespan.

You want a shoe that is comfortable too when they’re in the middle of their life. If you’re already at 400 miles and the shoes are still good, and have some cushioning and life left, I say keep them going.

What you can do is get your next pair now and start rotating them in – the old pair one day, the new pair the next.

A lot of people think you do this to increase the decompression time of the shoe, which helps at maintaining the cushioning.

This has actually been debunked.

The reason I like to rotate shoes in is when your one pair is finally done, you won’t be going from absolutely destroyed cushioning to brand new cushioning. You’ll always have a broken pair on the go.

How do you tell when a shoe needs replacing? You can usually see on the bottom of the shoe its wear pattern – from where your shoe lands and where it pushes off on each step of your run.

The upper – mesh part of the shoe – will also start to deteriorate and sometimes rip. And most importantly, the feel of the shoe will be different.

It’ll start to feel like you’re running just barefoot on concrete, or treadmill, or whatever surface it is that you’re doing your running on.

As you get more experienced as a runner, and use the same type of shoe over and over again, you’ll find that you’ll be able to know when that particular make or model needs replacing.

You’ll know that this particular shoe that I use for the majority of my mileage or long run usually lasts about say, 550 miles.

Or this other shoe that I use for racing or speed work tends to last for 350 miles. You’ll be able to keep an eye on it and plan and rotate in accordingly.

As for different types of shoes, all the brands are really about created equal. They don’t want you to think that they all have some fancy bell and whistle that the other one doesn’t have.

But really, the cushioning and the design of the shoe are all similar enough and go under the same rigorous testing and production. That what matters most is how it feels to you and to your foot and your stride.

Dawson I did love this question, and want to welcome you to the running community. I am really happy for you.

For those listening, if you want to have your question answered by one of our RunnersConnect coaches, head on over to runnersconnect.net/daily, and click the record button, or send a message.

I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. If you haven’t already, consider heading on over to iTunes, or your favorite podcast directory and subscribing, or leaving a review. It would help us reach more runners like you and get more excellent questions like Dawson’s. Have a great run today.

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