Good running shoes are incredibly important if you want to get the most out of your training and minimize the risk of injury.
Equally as important is keeping your running shoes in good condition, and knowing when it’s time to hang em’ up and replace them for new ones.
No one likes shelling out for new running shoes, trust me I certainly don’t, but the reality is that even a great pair will only last between 300-500 miles as a rule of thumb.
Still, that’s a lot of miles. Just take the best case scenario of 500 miles and divide it by $100 for a good pair. That means they are only costing you $.20 per mile. Not so bad when you look at it like that, is it?
If you’re looking at your shoes and wondering how much life they have left in them, I can help.
Here are 4 signs you need new running shoes sooner rather than later. If your shoes are ticking off 1 or more of the points below you’re probably risking injury at the worst, and discomfort at best, so it’s time to go shopping!
4 Signs You Need New Running Shoes
1. They Look Beat up and Worn Out
I’ll start off by stating the obvious, if your running shoes look all beat up, sorry for themselves, and worn, they are probably in need of replacing.
I still recommend reading the other points in this article however. See how many of these checkmarks they tick off because there is always the chance that they have some of their best miles ahead of them.
You can’t judge a book by its cover, neither can you judge how much life a pair of running shoes have by looking at them (in most cases).
2. The Tread Has Worn Out
Another obvious sign that shoes are in need of replacing is if the tread is badly worn. The sole of a shoe will typically last longer than the cushioning inside and outlive its ability to absorb shock, so a worn sole is a definite sign you need to write off those shoes.
Look for areas where the grip has worn so low it’s become smooth. Uneven patches of wear and tear, and even signs of damage such as cracking, tears, holes, or anything else that is compromising the grip you had when they were new.
This doesn’t mean you need to retire them completely if you’ve kept them in good condition otherwise. You can use them for dirty garden work or something similar where you wouldn’t want to ruin a good pair of shoes.
3. They Just Aren’t Comfortable Enough Any Longer
You remember how comfortable your shoes were when you first slipped them on I bet. Well, obviously shoes are going to get a little less comfortable as time goes on and they rack up the miles, but they shouldn’t get to the point of being UNcomfortable.
If you’re starting to get blisters, aches, and pains in your feet and ankles, and rubbing marks on your toes, these are all signs that you shouldn’t be ignoring.
Take a look at the padding in the inside of your shoes. I bet it’s looking worn and tatty, right? There is no patching up or making due from this point, it’s time to part ways and get yourself a new pair of running shoes.
4. You’re Losing the Battle against Bad Odors
I covered some useful tips and tricks to help combat odors in this article I wrote about properly airing shoes, but anyone who has been through a few pairs of shoes knows it becomes more difficult to keep them smelling fresh the older they are.
If your smelly shoes are in the 300-500 mile zone I’d suggest you stop buying all the anti-odor stuff and just trade them in. Just think about 300 plus miles of sweaty feet pounding the ground in those shoes, that’s some serious sweat that’s been working into the material for a long time.
What Causes Running Shoes to Wear out Fast?
If you’re getting through shoes faster than the average person, or the 300-500 mile mark I said shoes should last is a staggering number to you then there might be a few things you can do to help your shoes last a little longer.
I mean, it’s always nice to get value for money. We’d much prefer our shoes to last as long as possible. Plus, almost everyone will agree that as shoes age they feel better as we get used to them and it’s always a bit of a shock to our feet trading them in.
Here are a couple of things to consider:
Do You Run on Rough Terrains?
Running shoes are going to last longer running on smooth and even terrains like tarmacked pavements and roads over off-road bumpy terrains.
All the little sharp stones on trails runs will take a toll on the soles of shoes, often causing little splits and getting stuck in the gaps in the grip.
If you’re a trail runner it’s so different to normal running that I’m sure it’s a preference thing you don’t want to change. But if you don’t mind too much the terrain you run and happen to be running on bumpy or loose surfaces, I’d look into changing it up.
It might even be worth finding a running track at a local school or sports ground and running there if you don’t mind the monotony of going in a circle.
How Much Love Do You Show Them?
If you love your shoes they will love you back.
Well, that was a bit dramatic but I think you get what I mean when I’m saying that. The better you look after your shoes, the longer they are going to last.
Drying out shoes properly after running in the wet is one of the most important things. As well as brushing off mud, storing them somewhere where they can air and not get crushed by other things, and so on.
Work on Your Running Form
One of your goals should be to improve your form anyway, but it’s going to help the life of your shoes too.
So, think about not scuffing or dragging your feet, not stomping, applying pressure evenly, and so on. If you’ve been running for a few years I’m sure you’ll notice a correlation between your running form and how long those early pairs of shoes used to last, or at least look after a few months hitting the pavement.