Shoes are an important factor when it comes to injury prevention. If your shoes are too worn down, they are unable to help aid your body in proper running form. When to replace your shoes can be a tad tricky. If your shoes are completely worn down, you probably should have replaced them a while ago, but what if they look new and don’t feel comfortable anymore? Here is a detailed guide of the signs to look for that tell you it’s time to replace your shoes.
When you start experiencing new pains in your hips or knees, it’s time to invest in a new pair of running shoes. This may mean that your soles have worn down, or if they are new shoes that the soles didn’t fit the shape of your feet to begin with. Whatever the cause, you don’t want to increase the possibility of injury by developing a wacky running form to try and combat the worn or misshapen soles of your shoe.
The Old 500 Mile Rule
In many cases, people have been told that they should replace their shoes when you have run 500 miles or less in them. This is a general rule though and should be followed as a nice guideline. You lose about half the cushioning in your shoes around your 250th mile, which is where the estimation of the 500-mile rule comes from. The problem isn’t worn cushioning though, it’s how the worn cushion effects your run. If you realize that you are developing more injuries around the 300-mile mark, it’s time for new shoes. If by the 500th mile mark you don’t have any change in performance then you can get away with wearing the pair for longer. The best way to become someone who can wear their shoes past the 500th mile mark is to strengthen your feet and ankles, so your body is more balanced when your foot strikes the ground.
picture courtesy of aharo.com
Chances are if your shoes are old, then they probably can’t absorb the shock of your foot when it strikes the ground. Grab the heel of your shoe and push down on the middle of the sole of your shoe. If the sole is super soft then it means the sole as lost its shock absorption. It might be your first-time testing this, so if you can, test it on a new running shoe and the sole should feel firm. When the sole has lost its shock absorption it is time to get a new pair.
Although the sole of the shoe is the most important part and receives the most attention when talking about replacing the shoe, it would be foolish to ignore the rest of the shoe. The outer tread of the shoe might be worn down due to the way your foot strikes the pavement. Since everyone runs differently you might never experience this problem, or this is the problem that usually tells you it’s time to get new shoes. If you see the next layer of the shoe creeping forth on the tread of your shoe then it’s time to get a new pair. Look at your shoes before tossing them though. This will help you see which areas your feet wear out and give you information on how to improve the balance of your feet.
If you like to vary your workouts by not running on the road, or you are an avid trail runner, there is another step to notice about the wear of your shoes. Check the top of your running shoe. If it looks unusually worn compared to the rest of the shoe, and if the mesh holes have been stretched out since you’ve got them, then it is time to replace your shoes. The different terrain and exposure to the elements wear down your shoes differently. To make the most out of your trail shoes take proper care of them after your runs.
What to do with Old Shoes?
Recycle. Recycle. Recycle. There is only a small amount of effort on your part to give someone or something a new future. Several programs are in place that will take your old shoes and either redistribute them to people who need shoes, or some places will break down your old shoes and reuse the material for other needs. All you have to do is find which organization suits you best and then give them your old shoes.
Retiring and finding new shoes to replace your beloved old ones might sound a little daunting, but your feet will thank you. You also might find a different shoe brand or type that is better than your last pair. Remember to look for the signs before it’s past time to replace your running shoes.