Is it Time for New Shoes?

Sometimes you can tell just by looking that you need new shoes.  If your shoes look this bad it’s probably time to invest in new shoes.

Most running shoes will last between 300 and 500 miles, which is, admittedly, quite a range. Minimalist shoes and racing flats have less material underfoot and are generally less durable. They will typically last 200 to 400 miles.  During a typical marathon training program like Portland Fit, you’ll average about 500 to 600 miles.  It might just be time to go Shoe Shopping!

So how do you know if your shoes need replacing? Look for the obvious signs of wear and tear, and listen to your body.

Begin by considering the outsole, the rubber part of the shoe that comes in contact with the ground. Over time, the tread of the outsole starts to wear away, just as tires on a car eventually become bald, and you begin to lose grip on the ground below. This is the most obvious sign of wear and tear — but the outsole tells only part of the story.

What is harder to see is what happens inside the shoe when you run, in the midsole, where the cushioning and support are housed. Every time your foot comes in contact with the ground, you compress that midsole area. It responds by absorbing the blow and returning energy to you as you begin the next stride. This process is repeated over and over with ever step we take.

Still not sure if you should swap out your shoes? Head to your local running or walking store, and try on a fresh new pair of your favorite training shoes side by side with the ones you’ve been working out in. Feel the difference? Often, it will be pretty clear. You’ll feel higher off the ground in the newer pair if the midsole of your current pair is compressed beyond the point of no return.

When you start approaching the end of the shoes’ life, it’s a good idea to start breaking in a fresh pair as you phase out the broken-down model. Your body will thank you for it.

If you get a new pair that works for you, go ahead and buy a second pair.  After a few easy runs to make sure the laces fit correctly, shelf one of the pairs and save them for race day.  It feels great to have that extra cushioning of fresh shoes when you are going 26.2 miles!