Knowing when to replace my running shoes is always a mystery to me. Should I base my decision on kilometers logged? Holes in the toes? Worn tread? After some research, here are my suggestions.
A general rule of thumb is to change your shoes approximately every 500 km (which is just over 300 miles). Now this distance depends on a few variables. The first is the weight of the runner – the heavier you are, the quicker you will wear out your sneakers. Next consider the efficiency of your stride. If you land hard on your heels with each step, for example, you’re going to wear through shoes more quickly than someone with a lighter technique. Finally, consider the cushioning of the shoes. A minimalist shoe that begins with less padding will wear out quicker than a more supportive shoe.
If you’re not sold on miles logged as an indicator of when you’ll need to replace your runners, there are some other variables to consider. The surface and terrain have a huge impact on the longevity of your shoes. A treadmill trainer will be able to rack up more miles than a concrete runner due to the cushioning of the terrain. Another red flag is worm tread on the soles. If it’s basically flat along bottom of the shoe and the tread is worn out— it’s time. Some runners may notice an uneven wearing pattern on the soles of their shoes, this doesn’t mean that you should wait for the entire tread to be worn out, it just means that you are a heavier runner on one side.
Personally, I use my body to tell me when I’ve worn through a pair of shoes. If you’re used to pain-frees training – and all of a sudden you experience knee, back, foot, or shin pain – consider that a sign.
To increase the lifespan of your sneakers, try rotating between two pairs. By giving running shoes a day or two off the cushion will relax and keep it’s structure longer, but more importantly, you are changing up the way your foot is stressed based on the design of the shoe. Interchanging between a minimalist shoe and a structured shoe will not only increase the longevity of both pairs, but also help train your feet and improve your stride efficiency.
Now that you’ve got an idea of when to retire your running shoes, here’s a High Intensity Interval Training workout that will put them to good use. For your sprints you will want to go as fast as you possibly can on the treadmill. After 30 seconds, jump off the treadmill (to the side) or straddle it while the belt continues to move at your sprinting pace. This ensures that you don’t waste any time resetting the pace between each sprint. You may get some funny looks if you do this workout at the gym, but I promise you it is worth it.
Have a wonderful day!