Time To Change Your Running Shoes

Time To Change Your Running Shoes

Why Should You Change Your Running Shoes Regularly?

Running in worn out running shoes may increase your risk of suffering an injury. Components of a typical running shoe will wear out over time and not all parts of a shoe wear out evenly. This means that not only will the shoes cushioning qualities change over time, but so will the shoes stability elements and the overall balance of the running shoe with therefore change over time associated with the wear and tear from use. For these reasons it is important for any athlete (even casual runner) to change their running shoes on a regular basis.

Buying Cheap Running Shoes Is False Economy

When running shoes “wear out” there can be a resulting increase in stress/strain loading to your feet (and the rest of your body). This subsequent alteration in loading to tissues may ultimately lead to injury. It is important to change your running shoes before it reaches this stage of tissue overload and it’s “too late”. Buying quality running shoes can prove to be an expensive business, with a lot of the top of the line running brands shoes cost upwards of $250 a pop, but then getting injured isn’t cheap either. Going for and MRI, seeing a podiatrist or have a few physiotherapy sessions all add, up not to mention that extended breaks to your regular training regime as a result of injury is extremely frustrating to say the least.
Therefore it could be argued that rather than being fitted for the “correct” running shoe for your foot type, running style, running loads and body type and instead electing to purchase simply any old cheap pair of running shoes is ultimately false economy. The couple of hundred dollars you potentially save each year by skimping and going budget when buying your running shoes, or squeezing a few more kilometers out of your already worn out running shoes to save a few dollars here and there may well end up costing ten fold in the long run, a cost that is at this point both financially as well as physically and mentally through injury.  Medical expenses coupled with an inability to continue training injury can be expensive and frustrating. And what is often even more frustrating for many patients, is that when the book in and see a physio following a running related injury there is a pretty good chance their physio will be interested in seeing what shoes they have been running in. At this point it isn’t uncommon they often suggest you get a “better” pair of running shoes, shoes that may well have prevented you needing to see the physio in the first place…

So, How Do I Pick The Right Running Shoe?

The obvious question is… How do I know what are the right running shoes for me, my foot, my running loads, running style and body type..? Clearly this can be a confusing business given there are so many brands out their and so many different models within each brand. As well as this to add to the confusion everyone you ask seems to have an opinion on barefoot running wearing a minimalist shoe, verses running in a traditional running shoe, or opting for a high stacked shoe, or rocker sole style running shoe… It’s pretty confusing at times for a physio and podiatrists, let alone a non-medical person simply trying to pick out the right type of running shoe for them.

  • For me a great starting point to solve this issues is booking in to see a good sports podiatrist. A sports podiatrist can perform a biomechanical assessment of your foot and lower limb including looking at your walking and running style. Following this assessment they can advise on any necessary additions to your shoe such as orthotics or metatarsal domes as well as the most appropriate running shoe for your needs.
  • Another suitable approach is to visit a specialist running store and get fitted for a running shoe there. A benefit of this approach is that typically such a store will allow you to try a number of shoes which they have assessed as being appropriate for your needs and allow you run in them on a in-store treadmill (sometimes, even filming the running biomechanics to help assess which shoe is working best for you).

Ideally, I would suggest seeing a podiatrist first, to professional assess your gait and foot biomechanics and have them make suggestions of the appropriate shoe type, and then take these suggestions to a specialist running store and try on a few of the options to see what works best for you. The fit can vary quite dramatically between different running brands, despite each shoe offered looks to achieve the same thing. Therefore there may be a clear winner with regard to comfort when comparing shoes of similar function from different brands. Function is important, but comfort is always key so trying them on and having a run in them on a try before you by approach can really help in ensuring the right purchase.

  • For my city based clients I refer them to Performance Podiatry Sydney for their podiatry needs, and for my Randwick physio clients we have a great in house podiatry team at the Movement Centre.

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 Time To Change Your Running Shoes should consult his or her general practitioner, podiatrist, physiotherapist or otherwise appropriately skilled practitioner.