It's hard to know when to replace your shoes.
All running shoes ultimately wear down. Their lifespan depends on how much you use them. Much like tires on your car, they give out over time. Often it's the internal cushioning that loses its ‘pop’ before the external features on the outer sole wear out, which adds to the uncertainty.
Are there guidelines to follow?
Some companies, like Brooks, give us mileage estimates of anywhere between 400 to 800km of use. Others, like Saucony, suggest around 650km. So if you keep tabs on how far you run or walk, you can roughly calculate when you’ll need a fresh pair of shoes.
Simple, right? — Not quite.
While the numbers are a good benchmark, we like to encourage our customers to monitor how the shoes feel throughout their training. That's because for many, running shoes are used for daily activities and not just for running. At the end of the day, we suggest keeping it simple and asking yourself—do my shoes still feel good?
So besides tracking your running mileage, here are a few signs and symptoms that suggest you may need a new pair.
1. Your feet are a little more sore after a run or walk
When you start to notice soreness and stiffness at the bottoms of your feet, especially your arches, it might mean that your shoes have worn down to a shape that no longer fits your feet properly. If this happens, it's time to replace them.
2. The tread is worn out
Check out the tread. That's where you'll usually see tell-tale signs that your shoes are due for replacement. The outsole is an important part of the shoe's anatomy and if they are uneven, that can affect your entire gait.
3. The flex test
The flex test is a good way to assess the shoe's rigidity and support. If your shoes can be molded and bended with ease, this usually indicates the midsole has softened up and lost its structure.
4. You have new aches and pains in your ankles, shins, knees, hips or lower back
Feeling new pain is usually a good indication that your shoes have lost the ability to absorb shock. This means your body is left to absorb the additional stress.
5. New blisters or burning sensations
If you're developing new blisters or abrasions when wearing shoes you have worn for a while, it could mean that the shoes have transformed and no longer provide optimal support and comfort. The shape of your once trusty mileage companions has been altered and it might be time for a new pair.
Once you've gone through the above checklist and determined it's time to replace your worn shoes - what's next?