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How to know when running shoes reach retirement


Shoes looking like they’ve seen better days? There’s a chance you’re keeping them past their retirement date. Some runners have difficulty knowing when it’s time to toss them or wear them for looks-only purposes. Too many of us are guilty for having kept a pair of sneakers way too long and when that happens, it’s too easy for end up suffering the consequences of damages from impact.

After all that training, healthy eating and mileage building you’ve been doing, your running shouldn’t suffer because of something so simple as neglecting to change up the shoes on time. How quickly you go through shoes depends on how much running you’re doing, how far, how often, the surface you run on, whether or not you rotate several pairs (you should!) and how tough you are on shoes.

So how do you know if your shoes are run their course? If they look like the above image, it’s definitely time to say good-bye. In the past, we’ve written a detailed guide on key things to look for when deciding whether or not it’s time to shop for a new pair of kicks. In sum, here’s what to consider:

  • Level of stability. Racing flats have a very short life. Extra stability shoes are much more durable. Soles constructed of foam serve many purposes but they will have to be switched up more often than blown rubber shoes.
  • Mileage. Some say switch the pair after 480K. Others say they are good up to 650. Have your shoes done more than this? make them last longer by saving them only for running too.
  • Compression wrinkles. Look at the shoe from the side. A few wrinkles is fine. Many tiny wrinkle lines show that the sole may be too compressed to give proper cushioning from impact.
  • Worn-down sole. If the grips and rubber have been filed away from being scraped up and down the road, it’s over for these shoes.
  • Size of shoe roster. Do you wear one pair of shoes for your runs or six? If the answer is one, these babies have been working over time and could be burnt out.
  • Surface. Grass or asphalt? Grass is much easier on shoes.
  • Body size. Sorry tall people but the petite and mini runners can often get away with keeping their shoes for longer.
  • Race training. Did you use these bad boys to get you through marathon training? Now that the race is over, it’s time for a fresh start.

Enter the smartphone

The mileage point is one that is always brought up in the discussion on whether or not the shoes are goners. You may have simply forgotten how many kilometres this pair has been on (especially when changing between several pairs!) Luckily, there are apps that will do the math for you. To be in the know of the mileage on several pairs of running shoes, iSmoothRun, Runner’s Log, Runkeeper and plenty of other run tracking apps will help you stay up to date. You may find that you’re reaching for your favourite pair too often when you see their mileage compared to your other shoe options!