When Do You Change Your Running Shoes?
It is nearing the end of the year. So when January comes around... a new year, do you need a new shoe?
If you consider that your feet strike the ground between 600 - 1,000 times per kilometre (depending on your pace) at 2.5 - 3.5 times your bodyweight while running, it follows that footwear plays a critical role in running enjoyment, performance and injury prevention.
Running shoes that are inappropriately sized, unsuitable for your unique biomechanics or training needs and/or have gone past their use-by date can cause a variety of injuries. Researchers have shown a significant correlation between in frequent changes of running shoes and injury.
What should your expectations be from your running shoe?
- Essentially it is very dependant on how much time you spend in your running shoes. As a general rule a good shoe will allow you to enjoy approximately 500 - 750km of running.
Why do running shoes get worn out?
- Research has demonstrated that the midsole material of a running shoe will last for approximately 500-900 kilometres or 6-12 months of running. This is dependant on the mileage, terrain and intensity of training. The midsole provides the important cushioning and stability to a shoe, so once it has worn out the shoe loses its functional stability and increases your injury risk.
- The outsole of a running shoe is made of durable compounds and is a poor indicator of remaining shoe life. In most cases, the midsole will wear out long before the outsole - especially for heavier runners.
Signs of Wear and Tear?
- You need to examine the major areas of decomposition - the heel counter, the midsole and the outsole - any extrinsic abnormality causes an imbalance of impact forces and may increase the risk of injury to your lower limbs.
- Look at the heel counter - is there any wearing on the inside or outside? Wearing on the inside can actually promote over-pronation and its associated overuse injuries, while wearing on the outside can occur even with a normal running gait pattern.
- Look at the midsole - is there any excessive compression, wrinkling or tilting? Monitor the torsional (twisting) stability of the shoe. Hold either ends of the shoe and twist in opposite directions - is there too much flexibility?
- Look at the outsole - have you worn through the rubber to the midsole? Can you start to feel the irregularities of the ground under your feet?
Tips to get a longer life out of your shoes.
- Reserve your running shoes for running only! Not shopping, hiking, cycling etc.
- Make use of apps that help track your mileage over the months to keep you on track with how many Kms you're building up
- Rotate your shoes: alternate between two pairs of running shoes so as to prolong the life of the midsole beyond that of wearing each pair consecutively.
- Use one pair for longer runs and any ‘events' and the second pair only for shorter runs, inclement weather and any off-road runs.
- The first pair to reach 700 km run, should be given a new job description, (i.e. gardening, hiking etc) and a new pair should be brought into the rotation.