When to replace your running shoes

When to Replace Your Running Shoes

How do you know when to switch out your running shoes?

First of all, congratulations–if you’re asking this question, it means you’ve racked up enough miles to truly call yourself a runner.

But when should you replace your trusty old running shoes? It’s understandable that you might become attached to them, they’ve been with you through so much. They’ve protected you from broken glass, rocks, and concrete. They’ve supported you during tough hill climbs. But, eventually, you must learn to say goodbye. The health of your body depends on it.

There are a few telltale signs that your running shoes should be replaced. Here’s when I suggest replacing your running shoes.

When They’ve Racked Up High Mileage

Measuring the amount of miles you run in your shoes is a good way to determine their lifespan. Additionally, the life expectancy of your running shoes is shortened if you primarily use them on rough roads or trails, which cause more damage than smooth roads.

If you don’t have a tracker to measure the distance, knowing the date you bought them helps, too. That way, you can guess how much you’ve used them to a fair extent.

How Many Miles do Running Shoes Last?

There are a few guidelines to use if you’re unsure about how long a good pair of running shoes lasts, but it depends on your running style.

In good weather conditions, running shoes should last somewhere between 310 and 465 miles or (500 to 750 kilometers) before you need new ones. 

The lifespan of your running shoes is measured by distance rather than time, so experienced runners who use them on a daily basis have to switch them out more often than a casual runner.

When to Replace Running Shoes

When your running shoes feel uneven

If your shoes begin to show signs of age, remind them that it’s a natural part of life that happens to all of us. But, when your running shoes start to feel different, consult your local running shoe store. They may be able to advise you on what to do to fix it.

  • If your shoes are wearing down in the front, it’s a sign of overpronation, which means you turn your feet inward too far with each step.
  • If there are signs of wear and tear on the outer side of your running shoes, it’s a sign of supination, or shifting your weight outward with each step.

Pay attention to how your shoes wear so you can replace them before they wear out completely and separate so much they start to look like flip-flops. But on the bright side, they might make great beach shoes.

If You’re Having Running pains

Believe it or not, it doesn’t take long for worn-out shoes to affect your body. Muscle fatigue, shin splints, and joint pain (most notably in your knees) can all be side effects of wearing old running shoes. If you begin to feel pain in your knees, it’s a clear sign that you should probably buy a new pair ASAP.

But, if your shoes are new and you still experience running pains, visit your local running shoe store to see if there’s a better option for you.

The longer you run in the wrong shoes, the more likely damage can accumulate into something worse than simple aches and pains.

If They Have Worn-out Soles

The biggest telltale sign that you need a fresh new pair of running shoes is in the soles. With each run, the impact from your foot wears them down. If you one day find that your soles are smooth, it’s time to replace your running shoes.

Whether or not you have to buy entirely new shoes depends on if the soles are removable. If the soles of your running shoes are not removable, taking them out would damage the shoes further, so it’s best to buy a new pair.

Tips to Help Your Running Shoes Last:

  • Run on the right terrain: Using your shoes on the type of terrain they are made for prolongs their life.
  • Only wear them for running: People often wear running shoes to go grocery shopping, around town, or around the house. Wearing your shoes for daily activities adds extra mileage in the end.
  • Become a more efficient runner: Learning to run light on your feet greatly reduces the amount of pressure on your shoes, and decreases the amount of damage they receive.

The Finish Line

You reached the end! We hope this guide has helped you learn how to tell if you need to buy a new pair of running shoes. Overall, some of these tips may be very simple, but we often overlook the easy things.

When you find your new pair, make sure it’s the right type for you, and remember to keep track of how many miles you run in them. 

Randy Brangman

Randy Brangman is a Licensed Physical Therapist and Exercise Therapist and a former long distance runner. He is the founder and Lead Exercise Instructor at Trinity of Wellness. Spending more time in running shoes than flip flops, he travels the world while going through pair after pair. He is currently writing a book about joint therapy.