Running shoes are everything. They don’t have to be super expensive or fancy, but they’ve got to fit you correctly (How to Buy the Perfect Running Shoes). The right shoe prevents extra soreness and wards off injury.
But even the perfect shoe has an expiration date. Over time, the cushioning and tread is broken down, rendering the shoes less effective. I used to think this was a little marketing ploy designed to convince you to buy new shoes – but it’s totally true! Running in ‘shot shoes’ increases stress and pressure on your joints, potentially causing injuries in your ankles, knees, legs, hips… even your back!
So, when do you need to replace running shoes?
Have you heard the recommendation to replace them every XX number of miles? I’ve seen a variety of numbers, ranging from 300 – 600. The recommendations vary so much that I’m suspicious of the mile method. I’ve also heard people cite the six month mark, but I’ve always been wary of just going by the calendar. What if I only run 10 miles a week? Or what if I run 30 miles a week?! Big difference.
Another recommendation is to check the tread. If the tread is wearing away, it’s definitely time to replace the shoes. But I feel like this is too late! If my tread is gone, the cushion is probably long since disappeared.
At what point your shoes go kaput strongly depends on your particular style of running. A smaller runner who mostly works out on soft trails, for example, won’t blow through their shoes as quickly as a heavier runner who normally runs on concrete. Plus – some of us are ‘harder’ runners and others are lighter on their feet (I, for one, am one of those people who stomp all over my house, so I’m probably a heavy runner, too).
I know it’s time to replace my shoes when my body says so. My feet start to hurt first, and then my knees start to protest. When my lower back starts to complain after workouts, it is SO time to purchase new shoes. Truthfully, this is probably ‘too late’ as I’m skirting dangerous injury territory if my body is already aching!
I always keep two shoes in my closet and tend to switch back and forth between the paris. I started doing this two years ago, and I really like it. I feel like it gives me an extra layer of protection against injury because my foot is cushioned in a slightly different way and I’m striking the ground in a different pattern with every workout.
When do you replace your shoes? Do you rotate shoes?