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When to Replace Running Shoes: A Quick Guide

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Okay, so your running shoes feel very comfortable and there might still be a lot of threads left on it. You went on a run and someone complimented you as to how great your shoes look. Smiling with pride you tell them that the shoes have been with you for somewhere around 10 months now. Everything is going great, so why would you want to replace your running shoes? Because, looks, my friend, can be highly deceiving. Your shoe might seem that it is in a good condition but is it really protecting your feet? So, how would you be able to decide when to replace your running shoes?

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How to Know When to Replace Your Running Shoes

Given below are a few tips that would help you in determining if it is time to replace your old shoes and get a new pair.

Look for Noticeable Signs of Wear and Tear

signs of replacing running shoes
Notice the Obvious (Source)

In case you are wondering when to replace your running shoes, this might be the easiest way to determine it. If you have been putting your shoes to some really good use, there’s a high chance that they would be really dirty. But, that’s not what you should be looking for. You have to find the noticeable signs of wear and tear.

If you find that the outsoles have worn out excessively and that the heel’s interior has broken down or has been stretched, it might be time for you to replace them and get new ones. A very little wear is fine but too much of it indicates that you need to get a new one as soon as possible.

As the foam of the shoes wears out, the risk of injuries would also increase. This happens because the shoe’s material tends to lose its ability to absorb shock. To avoid any kind of injuries, you would need to replace your shoes from time to time.

Be Observant Of What Your Body Wants

signs of replacing running shoes
Take Your Body’s Opinion (Source)

Run for some time with your shoes on and when you are running, observe the reaction in your body. In case you feel any kind of discomfort in your legs, feet, hips, knees or your lower back, it might be time to get new shoes. The way your body feels during and after the run should be the determining factor when you are thinking about when to replace running shoes.

The other factors that you need to consider would be blisters or hot spots on your foot. If you notice such things, it means that the shoes have stretched way too much and your feet are therefore moving around more than they should. This is a sure-fire sign of the shoes being worn out and that you need to replace them ASAP.

The Press Test

when to replace your running shoes sign press test
Check the Fluff (Source)

For this test, press a thumb into the shoe’s center where your midsole is located. In case you find that then midsole feels stiff and inflexible rather than feeling soft as it was when you had bought the shoe, it might be time to get yourself a new pair.

Keep a Track of the Miles You Ran in the Shoe

when to replace your running shoes sign track of miles
Track Your Miles

The midsole cushioning present in nearly all of the trail and road running shoes is made up of ethylene vinyl acetate. This is one of the major factors that would decide the lifespan of your shoes. You might feel that you can use the shoe for some more time as all the other vitals are looking great. But, you need to understand that the midsoles tend to lose their flexibility and durability after you have run 500 miles in them.

To determine as to how much mileage is being covered in the shoes, write the date on the sole with a permanent marker on which you first began running in them. Calculate as to how many miles you run in a week and then do a bit of math and this would help you in determining as to how often to replace running shoes.

There are various apps available for both Android and iOS phones that’ll do all the tracking for you.

Take the Shoe Flexibility Test

when to replace your running shoes sign flexibility test flex
Take the Flex Test (Source)

To determine when to replace shoes, take the shoe flexibility test. It is, in fact, one of the easiest things you can do when contemplating when to replace running shoes. For the test, hold the shoe with the laces up and then begin to bend the toe back towards where the heel is. If the shoe tends to fold quite easily, this is an indication that the cushioning of the shoe is ruined and that it is time to replace them.

Compare Between the Old and the New Shoes

when to replace your running shoes sign new and old
The Difference is Clear (Source)

Another way to determine how often you should replace running shoes is by trying on your old pair of shoes just before you try the new one. This way you would be able to compare directly as to which one is better. If you feel that your old shoes do not feel cushiony and comfortable anymore, it might be time to throw them out.

Look for Signs of Sole Creasing

when to replace your running shoes sign sole crease
Clear Signs of Aging in Your Shoes (Source)

For this, you would have to press your thumb on the shoes’ outsole to the midsole. If you find that the midsole is showing crease lines before you have pressed into it and doesn’t really compress much when you press your thumb it, it’s a clear sign that the cushioning has worn out.

By replacing the shoes on a regular basis, you would be able to keep your feet comfortable and healthy for a long time.

Common Causes of the Shoe Wearing Out

Now, there might be innumerable reasons as to why even your best shoes for running get worn out pretty soon. Listed below are a few of the most common reasons that might help you in understanding the cause.

Little or No rotation

when to replace running shoes cause no rotation
Rotation is Key

If you keep wearing the shoe daily and for all the activities, it can lead to the shoe getting worn out quickly. If you keep rotating between two pairs, it would give the tiny air pockets in the EVA a bit of more time to bounce back from getting compressed.

The Weight of the Runner

causes of replacing running shoes
Different Weight, Different Wear (Source)

The cushioning part of the shoe is located at the mid-sole. If the runner is heavier, this cushioning would break down really soon as there is more pressure being put on it. In this case, you would have to replace shoe soles or the whole shoe quite frequently.

Shoe Strike

causes of replacing running shoes
Your Strike Matters (Source)

A few runners have this habit of dragging or scuffing their feet when their foot strikes the ground. If you tend to do so, you must understand that this can lead the material present at the shoe’s bottom to wear out pretty easily and quickly.

The rate of the shoe wearing out would be dependent on how much you drag your feet and the kind of material that has been used to make the outer sole of the shoe. If the material used isn’t of good quality, the rate of wearing out would be much higher.

Tips to Extend the Life of your Shoes

As you saw above, there are various factors that can cause the shoe to wear out. But, there are a few ways that you can adapt so as to make them last a bit longer.

Use Different Shoes for Different Activities

when to replace your running shoes tips activities
Different Work, Different Shoes

When you wear different shoes for all the different activities that you indulge in would increase the longevity of each pair. Think about it this way: if you are going to walking, running and trekking and if each shoe is going to last you for 500 miles, how long would one shoe last? Perhaps not for a much longer time.

Studies prove that when you rotate at least two pairs of shoes, it would last them quite about the same time as that of three pairs that aren’t rotated. There would be about 50% improvement on the mid-sole section’s wear if you wear a different pair of shoes every other day.

Use Your Running Shoe Only For Running

when to replace your running shoes tips exclusive for running
Running Shoes: Exclusively for Running (Source)

It might feel comfortable to wear running shoes when you are out and about in town and running errands. However, this would lead to premature wearing out of your shoes and you would have to replace them.

Remove your Shoes in a Proper Way

when to replace your running shoes tips removing shoes
Careful, Please! (Source)

Let’s accept this; most of us do tend to use our foot to take down the back of our heel of our other foot. Most of the people who do this are simply because they do not want to bend down to take them off. But if you keep doing this on a regular basis, you would notice that the shoe has started to take a bad form.

The proper way to take off a shoe is to first unlace and then slip it off carefully with your hands. This way, your shoes would last for a much longer time. Also, if you store your shoes properly when they are not in use, it would extend their life.

Summing Up


Lightweight runners might be able to get about 500 miles from a pair of shoes. However, if you weigh over 200 pounds, you might only be able to get somewhere around 250-300 miles from your shoe before you have to replace them. All you need to remember is the fact that the mid-soles condition would be dependent on the amount of pressure that you put on it. Once the cushion breaks down, the chances of you getting your foot injured are high. Therefore, be wise and keep the shoes new.

But remember, worn shoes are a sign of a good runner. So run more, wear your shoes out, and then, run some more!

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