Running Shoe Replacement Tips

Running Shoe Replacement Tips

Some Quick Running Shoe Replacement Tips

Running in worn out shoes are a potential injury risk to a runner; therefore, it is important to recognize when it is time to replace your old running shoes. Using a few quick running shoe replacement tips and checks can help you monitor and assess if the time is right to replace your shoes:

  • Firstly, it’s important to track your mileage: Generally, it is suggested that running shoes should be replaced after about 700-1100 kms (or 350-550 miles for those of you Americans out there). Which as a volume is surprisingly little, when you consider that if you are running consistently around 30km a week then a total of 700km is only around 6 months of running that you should be buying new shoes. The majority of social runners I see in our Sydney Physio practice are inclined to buy new shoes on an annual basis which means many of them are likely to be running in worn out shoes.
  • Check your shoes regularly: It is a good idea to check your shoes regularly for signs of wear and tear. Giving particular attention to checking the midsole area of the shoe (the padding between the grippy outsole and the upper of the shoe).
  • Note that old unworn shoes still wear out: Even shoes that aren’t being used with time can “wear out”. Even with disuse the outsole, midsole and the upper of a shoe can all wear out and be ravaged by the effects of time! This obviously is impacted by the environment they are stored in; however, it is generally considered best practice to replace your running shoes if they are over a year old regardless of whether they are showing signs of wear or not.

Running Shoes Are Designed For Running

It sounds silly but running shoes are designed for running. Running shoes used for activities other than running will also wear them out. And sometimes alternative activities like hiking, gym classes, tennis will actually wear them out faster than the same period of time spent running. If you are wearing your running shoes for sports such as tennis, basketball, gym classes… then this can accelerate the “breaking down” of specific areas of the shoe not designed to cope with the lateral side to side and pivoting stresses these activities impart on the shoe. Running shoes are designed for straight lines, distance running is not a multidirectional activity so the outsole, mid sole and upper are all structured specifically for moving your forwards and not for coping with twisting, turning and stop-start activities.
For example, playing tennis on a hard court in running shoes will quickly wear the outsole as it is exposed to significant abrasion on the court surface. The shoes upper will break down as it is put under more stress through the internal sliding of your foot with-in the shoe with the rapid changing of direction. The dragging of the toe box area on the court with a serve (or sliding shot) will tear at the light upper not designed to withstand such forces. Again, with the changing of direction involved in a tennis match the shoes midsole will be put under stress in areas not designed for such loading and will compress unevenly, and as a result these changes in the midsole will affect the shoes’ ability to provide the appropriate support/cushioning required whilst running.

Don’t Skim On Sporting Equipment: Spend Money On Buying The Shoes That Are Specific For Your Sport

Obviously, it is more expensive to be buying one shoe for running, one for tennis and another pair for weightlifting and gym classes but the fact is these shoes are designed differently for a reason. All the main areas of these shoes are designed with set purposes in mind. Manufactured using totally different upper materials and stitching patterns, as well as different outsole materials and gripping patterns, with contrasting midsole functions set up and design.
Using your running shoes for activities other than running will most likely cause premature break down to areas of the shoe that will impact the function of the shoe as a running shoe and necessitate the need for you to replace it more frequently, or risk injury costing you money in more regular running shoe replacement, or even more money spent at the physio!
It sounds stupid to say it, but you don’t see Roger Federer playing tennis in a pair of Asics Kayano’s, or Lebron James playing basketball wearing a pair of Nike Pegasus so why would you try and play tennis in your running shoes.

A Few Quick And Simple Tips For Running Shoe Replacement

If you suspect your running shoes need replacing, then I often suggest to patients that it is a good idea to take your old pair to the shops so you can compare your shoe to the new pristine version of your shoe. When comparing shoes in the store then in general a worn-out shoe will respond in a few ways different to the brand-new model:

  • Try them on, put the old shoe on one foot and the new on the other. The old shoe will often feel “dead” with regard to the cushioning when you compare the feel walking, bouncing around in both shoes in the store.
  • Your old shoe will often appear asymmetrical and uneven when looking at the shoe on a flat surface when compared to the new shoe which will sit flat and evenly on the floor.
  • Your old shoe will bend, twist and squash far easier through the mid sole and the heel counter than its new counterpart.
  • Your old shoe visually may have some noticeable creasing in the mid-sole as well as possible visual signs of outsole or upper break down.

If you shoe respond and look similar then they likely have more life left in them, but it is a really good idea to take your old shoes to the store so you can do these comparisons and I often find people are really surprised by the differences despite thinking that their shoes weren’t “that old”. Replacing you running shoes, when necessary, maybe costly in the short term, but there is a good chance that this process will help prevent injuries, help in keeping you active in the long run and keeping you out of physio rooms.

Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products mentioned. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance on Running Shoe Replacement Tips should consult his or her general practitioner, podiatrist, physiotherapist or otherwise appropriately skilled practitioner.