When Should You Replace Your Shoes?

25 08 2011

A question we often get at Fleet Feet is, “How do I know when I need to buy new shoes?” Well, there are actually a few ways to tell when it’s time to get another pair.

If you keep track of mileage, running shoes should last between 350 and 550 miles. Sounds like a long time, but for someone running 10-20 miles a week, this would be equal to about 6-8 months.

One quick and easy way to determine if your shoes have bit the dust is to try to bend them in half in both directions. Shoes shouldn’t be flexible enough to bend backward, and they should still have some stability when trying to bend them forward.

Try to bend the shoe backward.

And forward.

Another way to tell if you need new shoes is if you’re having new pain or discomfort, but you haven’t changed anything about your running regimen. Running in worn shoes can lead to an increase in running injuries.

You can check for signs of wear on the sole by placing your shoes on a table and looking at them from behind. If the soles lean to one side, the midsole cushioning is probably worn.

If you run frequently it may be worthwhile to have two pairs of running shoes. Consider buying two pairs at a time or buying a second pair about midway through the life of your first.  If you use two pairs of shoes you should still track mileage per pair of shoes, and replace each after it has 350-550 miles on it.
Still not sure if you need a new pair of shoes? Bring them in, and we’ll take a look!
May you run like the wind!
Eric

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3 responses

26 09 2011
Robbie

I am currently training for the St. Jude Marathon and I’m having a difficult time. Each time my mileage gets above 25 mpw I develop some type of injury. First time I developed a case of PF in my left foot so I went to Fleet Feet Memphis and bought an orange pair of Superfeet Insoles (Great Product). Now I have developed a pain in my right knee that I believe is runner’s knee since it is the most painful going up a staircase. I’m at 12 miles on the LRS and I want to at least finish the marathon without killing myself. I’ve been running for 3 years and this is my first so any help you can give will be greatly appreciated.
Robbie

26 09 2011
ffmemphis

Robbie,

Superfeet are a great solution for pf, and they are almost an essential “accessory” for anyone doing long-distance running.

From your knee pain description, your IT band (iliotibial band) is inflamed. This is an very common issue among first time marathoners (or half marathoners). Your IT band attachment point at the knee is one of the most vulnerable points and it can get irritated from “aggressive” increase is mileage. Increasing mileage is essential when training for the marathon, so it can be difficult to overcome, but here are some tips to keep you running:

1. Stretch your hips. You can’t stretch the attachment point at your knee, but you can stretch the point where it attaches at the hip. Go ahead and stretch both of your hips – one of your knees is irritated now, but the other one could start if left on its own. Here’s a link to a video with a good demonstration of how to stretch the upper part of the IT band: Don’t worry about the foam roller part. The middle stretch is the easiest one to do. Be sure to hold it for 30-45 seconds. Do this stretch at every opportunity all day long.

2. Be sure you’re hydrated. Most of us aren’t drinking enough water. If you’re even mildly dehydrated, your tissues won’t be as elastic, they will be more difficult to stretch, and they will be more irritable on long runs.

3. Ice after your run if your knee hurts. Ice attacks inflammation from the outside of the body.

4. Pop some advil (or substitute your anti-inflammatory of choice) if you’re comfortable doing that. Anti-inflammatories attack inflammation from the inside.

5. Stay on flat surfaces for running or walking – both on your runs and in your daily life. Take the escalator or elevator instead. Change in elevation will irritate it further.

6. Back off your total weekly milage, but try to maintain your long runs. Remember not to increase total weekly mileage more than 10% a week. If you run a total of 15 miles this week, the most you can run next week is 16.5.

7. If you’re on a run, and it starts to hurt, stop and do the third stretch in the video above. This may reduce the tension on your knee enough to finish the run. Get done as soon as you can, and get some ice on it.

This should take care of it!

Let me know if you need any clarification,

Eric
eric.flanders@fleetfeetmemphis.com

16 01 2012
Doing a little “sole” searching « Surviving on a tight budget

[…] For specific tips on running shoes, see “When should you replace your shoes” from Fleet Feet […]

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