When to Replace your Running Shoes

Running shoes are the most important piece of gear for runners. They provide a buffer of protection between your foot and the ground. They absorb some of the impact of the concrete so your knees and ankles are protected. Running shoes affect your gait and stride. When wearing the right type of running shoe, they also help decrease your risk of sports injury. With running shoes being the most important piece of gear that runners rely on to participate in their sport, how do you know when to replace them?  Here are a few simple tricks to use when deciding if you need to replace your running shoes:

  1. Keep track of your mileage. Most running shoes are designed to last between two and three hundred miles. If your running shoes have between two and three hundred miles on them, it’s time to replace them. The cushion and strike plate within the shoe starts to break down between two and three hundred miles. Running on shoes with too many miles on them increases your risk for preventable sports injuries.
  2. Look at your wear patterns. If there is no tread left on the bottoms of your shoes, it’s time to replace them, even if you have less than three hundred miles on them. The tread is your indicator of the breakdown of the protective foam that cushions your steps and protects your joints.  You would never drive your car with bald tires.  The same goes for running shoes – if the tread is gone, it’s time to replace them.
  3. Check your toenails. Toenails can tell you a lot about your running shoes. If you are missing toenails, the chances are high that you are not wearing the right size or right type of running shoe. Toenails will go missing if your running shoe is too tight or the toe box is too narrow. Feet expand when you run.  Your running shoe should be an entire whole size larger than your regular daytime shoe size. Running downhill also puts pressure on the toes against the toe box.  If the toe box is too narrow or the shoe itself is too small, the constant pressure against the toenails will cause them to separate. Unless you are an ultra-runner, competing in ultra-distances, your toenails should all be intact.

These are just a few tips on when to replace your running shoes. Most runners have more than one pair of shoes that they alternate from in their rotation of shoes so that they are able to get a longer life out of their running shoes. If you have never been professionally fitted for running shoes, bring your old running shoes when you go so that the staff can examine your natural wear patterns to make sure you are getting the best shoe for your running goals.

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