No matter how expensive your running shoes are, they’ll need to be replaced sooner or later. The speed at which running shoes wear out varies depending on how often you train, mileage, weight, and terrain. Pushing your shoe lifespan too far can actually lead to injuries, but by following these guidelines, you can better determine when its time for some fresh new kicks.
A good running shoe should last between 300 and 500 miles, depending on the terrain. For example, if you train 100 miles a month, start to pay attention to the shoe’s tread around the three month mark. Writing the purchase date on your shoe with a Sharpie, or using a training log are both useful tips to help you keep track.
For trail runners, your shoes might be new, but running on rooty, rocky and muddy trails may deteriorate your shoes faster if you don’t care for them well. If they get wet from multiple stream crossings, take the insert out and stuff the shoe with newspaper to quicken the drying process. If aggressive terrain attracts you, look for shoes with technical fabric and rubber, along with ACR (All Condition Running) styles to add extra protection and durability. When the tread starts to look like a worn down tire and your big toe starts to puncture through the upper mesh, it’s time to replace your shoe.
The most important thing to pay attention to is your body. If you suddenly start to get nagging aches and pains, it might be a reminder to check the timeline on your shoes. Sore arches, shin splints and achy knees are all symptoms of old shoes. The older the shoes, the less cushion and support your body is getting. If you ignore these little pains, over time they will turn into larger problem and possible long-term injuries.
Look and Feel
If your legs start to feel heavy and they lose their usual pep, your old shoes could be to blame. Examine the look and feel of your shoe with the following questions adapted from Eastern Mountain Sports:
How they look:
Are the outsoles smooth like a bald tire?
Do they no longer sit flat when you put them on the floor?
Are there any tears or other signs of wear in the uppers?
Are the midsoles starting to show?
Do the shoes twist with little resistance?
How they feel:
Do the shoes no longer feel snug on your foot, even when laced properly?
Are you experiencing out-of-the-ordinary aches and pains in your feet, legs, knees, or hips during or after your run?
Before you decide to toss your shoes in the trash, consider bringing them into your nearest Running Center location. We collect used shoes to donate to various charities who would be happy to find a new home for your shoe donations.