Running is becoming one of the few viable exercise options for Canadians over the next few weeks. Gyms and recreation centres have closed, and as a result, people are lacing up shoes they haven’t worn in years, and avid runners are tearing through their sneakers faster than usual. (Running is as much stress relief as it is training, at this point.)
If you’ve recently put on a very old pair of sneakers, or have been running higher mileage than usual, it’s important to keep in mind the lifespan of your shoes. After a certain amount of use (roughly 500 to 600 kilometres for most shoes) they are likely worn out. To be sure you’re running with good equipment, look for these signs.
The midsole is compressed
The midsole on a runner’s shoe is the first place to check for wear and tear. If your shoe has lines throughout the foam, it’s time for a new pair. For example, on the above pair of shoes, the vertical lines are part of the shoe design, but the horizontal lines are a result of the roughly 500 kilometres that have been run in them.
The upper is loose
Lots of shoes are moving to an engineered mesh or knit upper, which promotes comfort and reduces the likelihood of developing a hole. However, instead of coming apart at the seams, you’ll notice after a lot of use that your shoes fit a lot bigger than they did when you bought them.
This means it’s time for a new pair, as running in shoes that don’t hug your foot can lead to problems. If you feel like you’re tying your shoes at tightly as possible, and they’re still not fitting quite right, it’s time for a new pair.
It’s March, which means that in many parts of Canada there are little patches of either snow or mud almost everywhere. While some running shoes are designed to go fast (and skimp on the outsole a bit, to save weight), shoes are designed to be able to handle the road. This includes rain, light mud or a little snow. If your shoes are slipping on dry surfaces, let alone wet ones, you need a new pair.
You’re experiencing plantar fasciitis
There are many reasons why you could be experiencing plantar fasciitis. However, if you suddenly have tightness in the bottom of your foot, but haven’t been doing anything differently in your running routine, consider the last time you bought shoes. When our training shoes lose their responsiveness, our feet start taking more impact and working harder to compensate. Hence, your sore foot.
They look really old
This might sound obvious, but if your shoes look like they’ve seen some stuff, it’s probably time for a new pair. Unless you went on a muddy run in your brand new runners, if they’re looking a little old, they probably are.
RELATED: 8 hidden Strava features for runners
Pro tip: write the date of purchase on the midsole of your shoes. This way, if you’ve been running in the same pair for over six months, it’s probably time for some fresh new kicks. Strava also has a feature where you can input the gear you’re using, and it’ll keep track of your mileage for you.