Everywhere Edge

Ask the Expert: When to replace running shoes?

September 14, 2007

Q: I've heard rules about when you're suppose to buy new running shoes, but I don't run enough to really know how many 'miles I've logged'. As long as they're still comfy, can't I continue to wear them even if it's been 2 or 3 years? - Theresa, WI

Bob Fleshner: Although outer sole wear is certainly an important factor to consider when determining if you need new running shoes, mid-sole wear is equally, if not more, important. The amount of time or mileage that shoes last really depends upon a variety of factors including the shoe type, your weight, foot strike, etc. Some general rules of thumb do apply however. It is unlikely that a pair of shoes will last and not possibly contribute to injury beyond about 500 miles or six months, whichever comes first. The composite material that makes up the mid-sole simply begins to break down over time, even if the shoes aren't worn. Also, if you begin to notice new little aches, pains or tweaks, that may also be a sign that it's time to invest in a new pair of shoes. A couple of tips for extending the life of your running shoes: try to use two pairs and alternate usage if you are a high mileage runner; don't wash them too frequently, though the occasional wash is fine. Remember to buy good quality shoes that fit. They are the one true piece of equipment you need for an otherwise inexpensive sport. Don't skimp or you'll end up injured!