I was talking to my friend Sam last week and he told me that lately he’s been experiencing some knee pain after his morning runs. I know from experience that knee pain should be taken very seriously and it's not something you wanna mess up with so I sat him down and started asking him all kind of questions. Turns out he’s been running on a pair of shoes that are at least 2 years old and that he’s also been using for walking, working out, shooting hoops and a number of other activities.
So I told him that before having his knee checked, he should try buy a brand new pair of running shoes and give it shot. He called me last night saying that he did as I told him and that he no longer experienced knees pain after running.
His story gives me the opportunity to talk about one of the most important things in running: replacing running shoes.
If you’re serious about running you should not only pick the right pair of shoes (underpronation, overpronation or neutral) but also make sure to replace them once they become too old or worn out.
As there’s no car without tyres there’s no runner without running shoes. They are the most important item of all your running equipment and you should constantly check if they need to be replaced.
Why? Because as the shoe breaks down, it is not capable of absorbing the impact the way it was when first purchased. Rather than being protective, the worn out shoe allows the impact to be delivered to the joints in your feet, ankles, knees and back. And this is not good, at all...
How long does running shoes last?
Every running shoe is different but the rule of thumb is that a running shoe has a mileage of anywhere between 400 miles (650k) and 600 miles (950k). With the figure inbetween (i.e., 500 miles) generally being recognized as the number everybody looks at.
For instance, I run about 60 miles per week hence I need to change them every 2 ½ months.
By keeping accurate track of your runs it won’t be hard to determine when you need to replace the shoes.
Other factors to be considered
Even though the above rule is pretty much accepted by everybody there are a number factors to be considered when looking at the above figure.
Your weight and running style play a crucial role in the lifespan of your running shoes. If you’re on the heavier side you’re likely to worn out the shoes faster than if you’re on the lighter side.
Also, the terrain and weather conditions in which you run could have an impact on it: such as getting the shoes wet in the rain or running on gravel for example.
Check the soles
The single most important thing you wanna do to determine the “health conditions” of your running shoes is to check the soles to see if they have worn through.
And you should check both soles as it often happens that one sole has worn out while the other have its pattern still.
Here’s an example of healthy soles:
While here’s an example of worn out soles:
Use your running shoes only for running
Running shoes tend to be pretty expensive so you want to preserve them as much as you can. Therefore, use them only for running and not for working out in the gym or for walking around. Use your old shoes instead for these activities. That’s what I do. They might not be fitted anymore for your runs but they can still do their job when it comes to other activities not as intense as running.
Not all signs are evident
Unfortunately, not all signs of wear on the shoes can be noticed from the exterior. It is possible that the internal sole of the shoe will break down before you are able to see any external signs of wear and tear. It is important to take the soles of the running shoe out, from time to time, and see how they look.
Listen to yourself
Finally, how do the shoes feel to you? If, for instance, you’re starting to feel more sore than usual, or your joints and knees are beginning to hurt for no apparent reason, chances are, it’s time to replace the shoes.
Healthy shoes means healthy runs and healthy run means healthy life. What you possibly want more?
The Iron You