At some point we've all asked ourselves whether it's time to invest in a new pair of running shoes. When to make the change can be a tricky decision, particularly when you've got a pair that are comfortable and have served you well. However, over time as the cushioning and technology in your shoe becomes less effective, the support your feet are given diminishes and this is when injury can occur.
The general rule is that running shoes should last somewhere between 300 and 500 miles. However, the longevity depends upon a few different factors:
The weight of the runner - An individual weighing 100kg will typically wear out their trainers quicker than someone who weighs 60kg. No surprises there.
The footstrike of the runner - An athlete who absorbs their force well and lands using the whole of their sole will most likely have shoes that last longer than someone who lands heavily on one particular part of their foot.
The care given to the shoes - There are many things you can do but keeping them in a warm, dry spot between runs is important. Use them on terrain they're designed to be run on (for example trail shoes won't last long when pounding the pavements!). Also, if you're running most days, it's worth investing in a second pair of shoes and alternating. This will mean your trainers have time to expand between runs (as they can compress during activity), leading to a longer shoe life.
Type of terrain covered - Shoes that are used only on the road will not last as long as those that are used off-road. If you're running regularly on harder surfaces, it's definitely worth keeping an eye on your trainers.
Whilst the general guideline of 300-500 miles can be useful, not everyone tracks their volume and it's quite a big range. So what are the other signs that your shoes are on the way out? There are several but the main indicators for us are as follows:
When the state of the sole is poor and the tread is worn down so it's smooth.
Wrinkles are present on the mid-sole of the shoe and the material feels hard with no give when you press your thumb into the centre of the trainer.
When your toes are wearing through the toe-box and the upper part of the shoe is beginning to tear.
If you're suffering from an injury, it could be related to faulty footwear, so this is definitely something to consider.
Knowing exactly when to make a change can be difficult, but I hope the above summary is useful. If you're still unsure and have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.
By Marc Brown