Are Your Running Shoes Walking Dead? How To Tell When Your Running Shoes Should RIP

It’s almost Halloween, and I’ve seen a lot of walking dead out there, and I don’t mean walkers or zombies, I mean running shoes.

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Runners tend to wear their running shoes well into their afterlife, and that can lead to a scary ending, an injury. When you wear your running shoes past their natural life, you don’t get the same support that they once provided when they were new. In this blog post, I’ll tell you how to determine when it’s time to replace your running shoes and some practical tips to extend their wear.

 It is not always this obvious when it’s time to replace your running shoes

It is not always this obvious when it’s time to replace your running shoes

ARE YOU RUNNING SHOES WALKING DEAD? HOW TO TELL WHEN YOUR RUNNING SHOES SHOULD REST IN PEACE.

SHOES TEND TO DIE BETWEEN 300-500 MILES

Running shoes are meant to last from approximately 300-500 miles. If you run an average of 20 miles per week, that’s about every six months.

The amount of miles you get out them depends on the construction of the shoe, your running mechanics, the surfaces you run, your weight, and the activities you do in them. A small-framed person running on the track or a treadmill will get more life out of shoe than a heavier person, running on the trails, and showing off their kicks around town.

To get the most of your shoes, track the mileage you run in them and don’t wear them for any other activities except for running. If you walk around the mall or wear your running shoes to work, those miles count towards the total lifespan.

THE TREAD FADES AWAY LIKE A GHOST IN THE NIGHT

Just like the tires on your car, the tread on the bottom of your shoe wears down with use. If you can visually see that the tread is smoothing out, it is likely time to change your shoes. The clearest sign you need to replace your shoes is when the bottoms are as smooth as a gravestone.

THE MIDSOLES LOSE THEIR LIFE

The midsole is the part of the shoe between the outsole and the insole and provides shock absorption. You may notice that when you put on new shoes the insides feel springy. After repeated wear and compression, the midsoles lose their shock absorbing qualities. Using your thumb press down on the midsole, if it is hard and flat, rather than springy, that may be a sign your running shoes are dying.

If you run every day, you can extend the life of your shoes by allowing the midsoles to decompress after each wear, by alternating the running shoes you wear each day.

YOUR BODY SCREAMS FOR MERCY

If you want to know when it’s time to replace your running shoes, your body will usually tell you. When my coaching clients complain of new aches or pains out of nowhere, the first question I ask them is how long they’ve been running in their current shoes. Low and behold, new aches and pains usually stem from worn out shoes.

When I talk about replacing running shoes, there is always that guy on social media who tells me he’s been running in the same pair since 1986 and he’s fine. Great.

I’m not suggesting you toss out your shoes after 300 miles for no other reason than the mileage, instead weigh all the factors and make the best decision for you. You may not need to replace your shoes after precisely 500 miles if you are still feeling great, and your shoes seem to be holding up. Every runner is individual and has different needs.

Pay attention to the number of miles on your shoes, how they look and feel, and how your body feels. We often wear out our shoes, not because we didn’t want to buy new shoes, but only because we weren’t paying attention to the subtle breakdown of the shoe day after day until it is too late.

As for me, I don’t usually need an excuse to run out and buy a new pair of shoes. I’m happy to visit my local running store for a shopping spree. What about you? Do you wear them to death or replace on a regular schedule?

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