Good running shoes are incredibly important. If you run in poor fitting, low-quality, or worn out shoes you’re increasing the risk of injury. It’s also going to be uncomfortable running, and defeat the purpose of why you’re running in the first place.
Sure, you’re doing it to get in better shape and enjoy the countryside. But you aren’t going to achieve either of these things in worn out or poor fitting running shoes. Blisters aren’t a badge of honor to prove how hard you run, they are a sign that your shoes need replacing.
It’s hard to put a number on how long shoes will or should last. It’s different for every pair of shoes, how and where you run, and how well you look after them. There are some signs to look out for that are pretty clear indications that they need replacing however.
Here are a few telltale signs that it’s time to shell out for some new running shoes
- 300-500 Mile Maximum (kind of)
(A general rule of thumb you here about is that you need to think of getting a new pair of shoes when you get 300-500 miles on them. Although this is not perfect it is a good rule of thumb. Make note of this as you take into account the other bullets that follow.
- They Are Not as Comfortable as They Used to Be
Like any product that is subject to wear and tear, shoes will slowly degrade. The seams will expand through the constant stress of hitting the floor and the fabric will loosen up. Depending on how they tighten up, you will notice over time you need to tighten them more than you used to.
If you are starting to notice blisters or rubbing on your feet that’s uncomfortable it probably means your shoes are wearing out. The padding inside shoes will often wear away faster than the outside of the shoe, so it’s harder to notice. But go with how comfortable the shoe feels, that’s more important than how the shoe looks.
- The Tread Has Worn Out
This is one of the more obvious signs that your shoes need to go in the bin, yet it’s one of the more commonly ignored signs. The tread isn’t there just to look good, it provides important traction to stop you from slipping and skidding, and adds extra cushion to absorb some shock from your joints.
Lack of tread can lead to poor running form and long-term injuries. Take a look at the bottom of your shoe. If there are any bald patches or smooth areas that have completely worn you’re on borrowed time.
- You Run on Rough Terrains
It’s good to run on different types of terrains to give your feet and body different feels and levels of difficulty. Different surfaces have different effects on your shoes, for example tarmac and pavements will wear them out a lot quicker than grassy off-road trails.
Rough terrains made up of broken stones and rubble are the worst. If you run on these kinds of surfaces you should check your shoes often for signs of damage. Stones can get stuck in the tread and create splits in the rubber.
- Your Shoes Smell
I’m not suggesting your hygiene isn’t up to scratch. Older shoes become harder and harder to keep smelling fresh. Think about what you put them through, endless of hours of sweaty feet pounding the pavement. So it’s hardly a surprise that there comes a time when they just smell.
It’s usually an indication that the breathable material has become clogged with sweat, dirt, and other bits of debris. Some shoes can go through a wash, but it takes a toll on the seams and stitching. If your shoes are beyond help, it’s time to go shopping.
So you have established that you need new running shoes. There is a lot more to finding the right shoe than just buying the latest model, or what you think looks the best. It can be quite an in-depth topic, but here are the basics:
Length and Size
Buying the wrong size shoe is the most common mistake people make. Having the right fitting shoe is about as important as it gets. You do want a little movement from your longest toe at the end of the shoe, but only enough to wiggle your toes freely.
When you lace up your shoe it should feel like a snug fit all over. Feel for any tight spots, like under the tongue or on one side. Every shoe has a slightly different design, and all feet are slightly different. So some shoes will be tighter in certain areas, but if you keep looking you’ll find a perfect fit.
Heel support is important to help absorb shock when you’re running and avoid injuries or joint pain. A good shoe will slip on without a struggle and the heel will fit snug, but not really tight. A little movement is ok as long as your heel doesn’t lift from the sole when running.