Ever wonder when it is time to retire each variety of running shoe, whether they are lightweight, racing flats, support or trail running shoes? With so many options it can be hard to remember how long each type lasts and when it is time to visit your local running store to buy a new pair.
We hear this question all the time from runers, so we sat down with the Brooks biomechanics experts Stacy Steffen and Eric Rohr and got answers to all your shoe replacement questions, including how you can make your shoes last longer.
How many miles can a pair of running shoes take before they should be replaced?
A standard performance running shoe, such as the Trance or Adrenaline GTS, will typically last between 300-500 miles, whereas lightweight and minimal shoes, such as the PureProject collection, are built to last around 250-300 miles. However, it is important to remember that this is a rough estimate. Every person is going to vary on things such as: running style, type of terrain you run on, frequency, weight, duration, pace, and climate. All of these things can cause a shoe to wear out at a different rate then the numbers provided above.
What should a runner look for to know when to replace his/her shoes?
This is a challenging question because there are external signs one can look for to see if a shoe is worn out, but this method is not fool proof. Some worn out shoes look almost out-of-the-box new at 500 miles, others look destroyed. It should really come down to the runner and how they feel in their ride.
Getting past the visible signs of a shoe wearing out, some of the questions to think about would be: Does the shoe feel “dead”? Are your legs more noticeably tired? Is the tiredness due to overtraining or a loss in shock absorption because the cushioning is breaking down? Is your foot sliding around on the midsole? Signs of just feeling different may be an indication to replace your shoes.
Can injuries indicate the need for new shoes?
There is no scientific basis that clearly connects specific injuries to worn down shoes alone. But, it is important to listen to your body. If things feel different think about how long you have had the shoe and if that could be part of the problem, or have you added miles, speed, etc. Because these training factors can result in the same symptoms of a shoe wearing, it is challenging to know if it is the shoe or the training. The best solution is to get a new shoe and try it out, if pain and discomfort goes away, then transition your old shoes to yard shoes, if pain doesn’t go away rotate your old shoes with your new shoes (this will make both pairs last longer) and think about training etc.
Do you have any advice on how to make running shoes last longer?
Purchasing running shoes regularly can be quite expensive, but if your budget can permit it, rotating between a couple pairs of shoes can be quite beneficial. By doing so you allow the shoes to decompress and dry out between workouts. Running in the same shoe day after day without allowing the shoe to return to its current state, will wear out the midsole cushioning faster. Also, only using your shoes for running and not all exercise will also delay the breakdown of the cushioning and other materials. Shoes are built for linear movements, doing different exercises will put shear forces on shoe that it was not designed for.
Thanks to Stacy and Eric for their guidance on when to retire a pair of running shoes. Holes through the bottom? Slower pace? How do you know when it is time to buy new running shoes?