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How Often Should I Replace My Running Shoes

Updated on January 24, 2013

Running Shoes Need To Be Replaced Regularly

How long will my running shoes last? Ideally replace after at most 500 miles but there are more factors to consider.
How long will my running shoes last? Ideally replace after at most 500 miles but there are more factors to consider. | Source

When Should I Replace My Running Shoes?

If you're planning to run your first marathon as a New Year's resolution or currently run a lot and want to really look after your body you should be asking yourself:

"When Should I Replace My Running Shoes?"

This guide will help you to make an informed decision on when to replace those old shoes and will give you an insight into why you should pay attention to changing your running shoes on a fairly regular basis depending on whether you're a high mileage marathon runner, or simply like to run on the treadmill at the gym.

Injury Risk From Running In Old Shoes

Many of us have an old 'faithful' pair of training shoes we turn to regularly for our training needs. Unfortunately if those running shoes have taken a real hammering they could really be increasing your risk of injury from running.

Why Do Worn Out Running Shoes Increase Injury Risk?

Over time the high impact nature of training and plodding can severely affect the shock absorption ability of your running shoes. The padding becomes compressed and loses it's spring and the mid-sole of the shoe (which is responsible for keeping the foot from twisting excessively) will weaken to allow torsion to occur.

Over time your running shoes lose their cushioning, shock absorption and stability properties.

Running in worn out shoes will dramatically increase the levels of stress you place on your muscles and joints. This can subsequently lead to overuse injuries- all for the sake of not changing your shoes often enough.

It's time to take action for the sake of your running health.

Marathon Running And Training Can Be Hard On Your Shoes

Marathon Running And Training Can Be Hard On Your Shoes. It's likely that you'll need more than one pair of running shoes during your preparation.
Marathon Running And Training Can Be Hard On Your Shoes. It's likely that you'll need more than one pair of running shoes during your preparation. | Source

How Do I Know When My Running Shoes Need Worn Out?

There are a number of ways you can tell or suspect that your running shoes are in need of being replaced.

  • Worn Out Soles. Worn out soles are a sure-fire way to tell that you've done far too many miles. Generally your running shoe soles last far longer than the cushioning of the shoe itself. Never run in shoes with overly worn soles as they will not provide grip on tarmac and other surfaces, thus forcing your stabilising muscles to work more than usual. This can lead to potential overuse injuries such as tendinitis.
  • Your Shoes Fail A Twist Test. If you hold the top and bottom of your running shoes in your hands you should not be able to easily twist your shoes. This is a good test of your shoes however is not relevant to all running shoes as many racing shoes will allow a degree of twist due to a minimalist construction.
  • If You Start To Feel Muscle Fatigue You Do Not Usually Experience Whilst Training. If you're a regular running there's a good likelihood that you've become in-tune to how your body feels and is affected by your training. If you're doing nothing out of the ordinary training-wise, yet start to feel niggling aches and pains- It could be as a result of your shoes and you should consider checking for excessive wear. The affects of this could be anything from tight quads, knee soreness, aching feet or shin splints as potential examples.
  • You've Run More Than 500 Miles (800 km) In A Pair Of Running Shoes. As a general rule most running shoes have a lifespan of around 500 miles. Once you hit the 500 mile mark in any pair of running shoes- throw them in the bin or send them to the charity shop as they could still go to a good home in another country. (See examples of charities that would benefit from your old shoes at the base of this web page and you could provide some joy to others)

How Long WIll My Running Shoes Last?

Miles Per Week (Average)
Typical Lifespan (weeks)
Lifespan In Months
10 miles
40 weeks
10 months
20 miles
20 weeks
5 months
40 miles
10 weeks
2 1/2 months
50 miles
8 weeks
2 months
Using a typical running shoe lifespan of 400 miles. (Excluding racing fats which have a general lifespan of 100-200 miles due to limited cushioning)

How Long Before I Need To Replace My Runners?

The general consensus is that you should consider replacing your running shoes after 300-500 miles worth of running. The table right uses 400 miles (the mid point of the acceptable scale for replacing your running shoes) as a guide and shows how long your running shoes will generally last given your average weekly mileage,

Have More Than One Pair Of Running Shoes On The Go At Any One Time

Many runners have a number of pairs of runners on the go at any one point in time and this is an excellent technique to help guard against injury as a result of worn shoes.

One thing to consider is buying a second pair of running shoes around half way through the life of your current running shoes. This will allow the mid-soles of your running shoes additional time to decompress between running workouts and this could help extend your shoes' lifespan

Having a number of pairs of running shoes you run in will also allow you to provide a good comparison when you go to buy a new pair as your comparisons will not be against a heavily worn old pair of runners.

Your Old Running Shoes Could Provide Joy To Others Across The World

Donate Old Running Shoes To Charity To Spread Some Joy

Just because you're running shoes have served their purpose in terms of your running goals for training and racing doesn't mean that their work in this world is done and dusted.

There are a number of charities and non-profit organisations to which you can donate your old running shoes to provide some joy or relief for others in times of need.

Soles4Souls is a charity which provides shoes to people in areas of high poverty to provide donations to areas in dire need of footwear and relief efforts. The Soles4Souls organisation has provided key support in both the USA and abroad in the wake of the 2004 Asian Tsunami and Hurricanes hitting North America.

One World Running is an international health program which promotes awareness of health, fitness and nutrition. They provide old and reconditioned running shoes to needy individuals and groups in the United States and around the world as well as developing events to help spread their world.

If your prefer to support local causes drop your running shoes in at a local Charity Shop or Hospice

Or choose to use your shoes for other uses. It's up to you.

Good Luck With Your Training And Racing

Running can be hard on you and your body. Look after yourself and your running shoes to really get the most out of your training.

Liam Hallam. CyclingFitness@Hubpages


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    • AvineshP profile image

      Avinesh Prahladi 4 years ago from Chandigarh

      As I a regular jogger, this hub has really helped me. Thanks for posting this hub.

      Cheers !!!

    • profile image

      Mark 5 years ago

      As someone who knows Liam well he has this awful habit of putting ideas in people's heads to spend money. I've just spent a fortune on camera equipment as a result!

      Although I do agree with the need to replace running shoes regularly

    • capon profile image

      Tony Capon 5 years ago from Upminster, Essex, United Kingdom

      As ever Liam, talking to you makes me think deeper. In this instance it does make the cost of a pair of quality/top-notch set of cycling shoes seems more reasonable. Perhaps in the Spring...............

      Merry Christmas!


    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      On the olympic triathlon the competitors shoes remainend fixed to the pedals and they slid their feet out prior to the transition to the run phase. Before an ultra fast putting on of the running shoes for the run leg- They say transition is the 4th leg of the triathlon and it can certainly make or break a performance.

      I use a 9 year old pair of Nike shoes (Made by DMT) as my winter trainers and feel the same. The only reason I've ever changed shoes if due to long term damage to uppers.

    • capon profile image

      Tony Capon 5 years ago from Upminster, Essex, United Kingdom

      Thanks for your thoughts Liam. I too am coming from the point of view that the ultra ridged sole of a cycling-shoe (particularly for racing) sets apart this type of foot wear from a running shoes and the need to replace every 400-500 miles. However, for the life of me, I couldn't remember, when I watch the Olympic Triathlon whether the Competitors changed shoes when transitioning from the ride to the run.

      My oldest pair of Cycling shoes are Sidis, about 12 years old and although I mainly wear them in the Winter when I want to wear a thick-ish pair of socks, they still feel ridged and up to the job!


    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks tony. I think the nature of a cycling shoe which rights a rigid sole to exert force through the pedals versus the need for some form of road cushioning would mean its difficult to create a performance cross over shoe.

      Take cyclocross racing- riders simply use a mountain bike shoe with a sturdy sole but a healthy, aggressive tread pattern more like a walking boot.

      The other side would be that a crossover shoe could target both the running and cycling stage of a triathlon. The closet to that is a pair of running shoes fitted in clips+ straps or a modern modern system.

      I'm not sure a crossover would work for serious cycling or running but wait to be proved wrong.

    • capon profile image

      Tony Capon 5 years ago from Upminster, Essex, United Kingdom

      Hello CycleFitness. Running! What's that all about then................?

      Seriously, is there a cross over between running shoe and Cycling shoe wear?


    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      The midsole is the section of the sole between the tread and your insole (like dr sccolll produce). It's made of a slightly spongey material to absorb some of the shock from the road. Dr scholl products will not to my knowledge affect the properties of the midsole.

      Custom insoles could increase you running comfort and improve the fit of the shoe- leading to less risk of injury.

      The other dr scholl products I am aware of are designed for foot care and not shoe care

    • aykianink profile image

      aykianink 5 years ago

      "But they won't affect the shoes midsole..." Hm. Interesting. I'm...not sure I understand how Dr. Scholl type products work then. But if you think it doesn't help, then cool. Thanks.

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks aykianink. To my knowledge Dr Scholl's products are generally more associated with foot care- although they do produce inserts and orthotics

      Orthotics, if chosen correctly could provide additional comfort and could certainly lead to lower risks of injuries in certain situations. But they won't affect the shoes midsole- the key component of your running shoe when it comes to longevity.

      Many thanks for your comment.

    • aykianink profile image

      aykianink 5 years ago

      How do you feel about using Dr. Scholl's type products to 'extend' the life of your shoes?