How often should we change our running shoes?

July 12, 2022

I find myself starting into writing about how often we should change our running shoes knowing full well I have a pair of Asics Kayano, and Mizuno Wave Inspires from 2013 in my shed. They gave me some great races, and great miles, and great memories. I have other pairs in my parents house, in my uncles, and god knows where else. Each pair has done more than their fair share of miles, but I find it hard to say "Goodbye" as for some reason. I think they will be there for one last run if I need them. Am I a hoarder? No, I'm a keeper of memories!! I'd like to say that this phenomenon is just for my runners, but sadly not, as my race tee's going back to 2005 will clearly show. Ya, ok, I'm a hoarder... 

That being said, I think it's fair to say many of us develop a sort of bond with our shoes, telling other runners why our shoes have better technology. We get converted from Asics to other brands like Nike (honourable mention to Pat Daly who has converted half of our running group as a Nike evangelist). We slowly become shoe nerds.

So, let's get into it, how often should we change our running shoes?

The average running shoe is going to last between 450km - 800km (300 miles to 500 miles in old money). The difference between the two distances may seem large, but it comes down to how hard we strike the ground with each stride. The heavier we pound the concrete or roads, the faster our runners will degrade.

In terms of time, if you're doing a 5k 3/4 times a week, your shoes will last you between 5 months and 9 months. This is compared to if you're doing longer runs for a marathon (70-100k per week), you're probably looking at having a few pairs you're running in, and buying a new pair every 3 months or so.

One thing I tend to look at is the wear pattern on the bottom of my runners. This will not only tell you when they're gone past their sell by date, but will also give you really good information when it comes to getting your next pair. If you're like me and you over pronate, your outer heel and inner toe get the most wear. Knowing this means when you go to a running shop to buy your next pair, you know what kind of support you need from your pair of runners.

The key is not to run in runners which are overused. Runners are designed to give optimal support over a designated window. Once you go outside that, your runners will stop offering you that support, and this will lead to injuries down the line.

There are 5 things you should look out for when you ask how often should we change our running shoes?

  1. Threads look more like slicks
    Much like Formula 1, our runners need thread dept to offer us support. The soles of our runners are designed to outlast the comfort and padding. If you have a smooth sole on your runner, its time to chuck them out (or store them for safe keeping if you're like me) and get a new pair for doing your runs.
  2. Poor shock absorption
    Comfort for runners is everything. The first 5 minutes usually don't matter, we could run in a pair flats if we had to. But the more you get into a run, the more you need that padding. You need that cushioning to save the impact on your joints and muscles, so if you're feeling every step, its time to invest in a new pair
  3. Pain when running
    I'm very conscious about including this, as to be honest, pain can be down to any number of biomechanical issues. Our team of physios will talk about this with much more authority. Typically if you've had your shoes for a while and have new aches or pains, might be an opportunity to cast them aside. I would recommend chatting to a physio before investing in a new pair, as there may be other underlying issues.
  4. Uneven wear
    Like I mentioned earlier, my wear pattern was usually outer heal to inner toe. When I noticed this wear, I knew I had to speak with a show expert. They helped me by doing a simple gait analysis, and understanding my stride pattern. By doing this, I have had much more comfort with my current shoes compared to old ones.
  5. New shoes feel like running on a cloud
    At this stage, you've invested, and have your new shoes. If they feel like night and day in terms of comfort and bounce, you really kept your old shoes far too long.

Another good thing to do is to use Strava to measure how many miles you have on each pair of shoes. This is way better than using gut feel. It will help you prevent injury and stay running, but let's face it, who doesn't want to buy a new pair of running shoes!!

I hope this was helpful. Leave a comment below with your thoughts or questions!!

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