old tennis shoes with hole

Running, as a form of exercise, is an effective way to promote overall wellness and improved health, both physically and emotionally. However, it can be hard on the body if proper running shoes are not worn and maintained. Runners should pay special attention to the most important of all accessories to ensure optimal foot health and to remain on the roadway enjoying their sport. This accessory is, of course, their running shoes. Runners often note that it is extremely difficult for them to give up a favorite pair of shoes, which have come to feel a bit like a faithful companion. However, hanging on to worn out shoes and not replacing them soon enough can lead to some foot problems or worse.

How to Know It’s Time to Buy New Running Shoes

The following are signs it’s time to replace a beloved pair of running shoes. Complied by the foot experts at Red Mountain Footcare:

1. The Shoes are Falling Apart

This is the most obvious sign a pair of running shoes needs to be replaced. If a runner notices their shoe’s tread is worn down, they have holes in the shoes or just look generally worn, it’s an indication that this pair of shoes needs to be retired.

  • Why This Matters: Worn-out running shoes do not provide the proper support for a runner’s joints. When signs of wear begin to appear, it’s time to find a replacement. This is true even if the shoes feel fine, maybe even extra comfy, due to the fact that they are well broken-in.

2. The Shoes Have Been Worn Over 500+ Miles

Runners most always keep up with how many miles they run during each day’s running session. Therefore, they should be able to easily determine how many miles a particular pair of running shoes have logged. Most experts recommend replacing running shoes after they have logged over 500 miles of running. Runners should think of their shoes much like they would tires on their car. There is an optimal mileage for which shoes are designed. Beyond that amount, there can be problems.

  • Why This Matters: Again, shoes are designed to endure so much wear. Over 500 miles is simply too much wear. After hitting this amount of mileage on shoes, they begin to wear out and cease to provide the necessary support to runners.

3. Your Feet Are Blistered

A blister can be one of the most difficult problems for an avid runner to encounter. It also might indicate that the runner’s favorite running shoes need to be replaced. Blisters might not mean the shoes are too worn, but instead are not fitting properly. This also is a reason for runners to seek a replacement shoe for their favorite activity.

  • Why This Matters: If running shoes don’t fit a runner perfectly, it can cause all sorts of issues to develop, including blisters, plantar fasciitis and other foot problems. Therefore, if the fit isn’t ideal, runners should replace their current shoe with one that fits better and provides necessary support.

4. A Runner Uses One Shoe For Every Activity

Certain shoes are designed for specific activities. Therefore, if a runner is wearing the same shoe when they run, and also when they bike, train or walk, this could cause a problem. A runner who is currently wearing the same shoes, no matter the activity, should consider purchasing shoes that are designed for running alone.

  • Why This Matters: Running shoes are designed for runners. This is common sense. However, it’s amazing how many people don’t change their shoes for their various activities, but instead have a one shoe fits all mindset. This can lead to the development of foot problems due to the shoe being designed for one activity but worn when doing another, which can cause a degradation of the shoe’s support.  

5. Shoes Are Uncomfortable

The fact that old, faithful running shoes can be extremely comfortable is mentioned above. However, in some cases, the opposite is true. Some runners know it’s time to replace their current shoes because they are no longer comfortable. Runners might also notice sore muscles or an unnatural feeling when wearing the shoes that indicate they likely need to be replaced. If this doesn’t correlate with the shoes being excessively worn, runners can donate their old kicks to a running store.

  • Why This Matters: Shoes should fit perfectly and provide the correct amount of support to serve their purpose as running shoes. Wearing shoes that are simply uncomfortable doesn’t make sense when they can be easily replaced.

Runners should keep the above information in mind when contemplating if it’s time to replace their shoes. It can understandably be a difficult decision. After all, most often runner’s shoes have become almost an extension of their own body. However, to wait too long can lead to the development of foot problems, poor foot health, or worse, so knowing and recognizing the signs it’s time to say goodbye to a pair of shoes is imperative.


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