Learning when to retire running shoes

Learning when to retire running shoes

Depends on running surfaces, how a runner strikes and weight of the athlete

With a sport like running, you don’t have to worry too much about equipment. While in other sports gear is a big deal, as long as you have a good pair of trainers, you are set to run. Though figuring out the right shoe is important (and people seem to make it a bigger deal than necessary) once you find your fit, the roads, paths, trails and tracks are all yours. One issue that arises in running, though, is how often to change shoes to avoid injury.

While the debate seems to be ever-changing, this past week the New York Times ran an article about how often one should change there running shoes, and if there is a set mileage at which one should retire the old kicks. According to the article, the spectrum of when to change a shoe seems wide open. On one end, you have professional Ryan Hall who says he changes his shoes every 200 miles (translating to pretty much every two weeks), while the other end you have Henry Klugh, coach and owner of a running store, who says he has squeezed nearly 2,000 miles out of some shoes. The article goes on to say that there is no exact science to telling when a pair of shoes is worn out, and that it depends on things like surfaces run on, how a runner strikes, and weight of the athlete. Each runner needs to find out what works for them.

One interesting aspect the article brought about was the fact shoe companies, in their nature, are trying to sell shoes. While consistent runners do need to change their shoes relatively often, it is in the favor of shoe companies to throw out a lower number of miles in hopes of getting more sales. While I’d always been told to change shoes around every 300 miles, specialists believe that this may be a myth. Shoe companies may be giving low-ball estimates to make sure their shoes are leaving the shelves.

While there is no right answer to when to retire running shoes, I think the main idea is having to figure out what feels right for you. Much like running in general, finding the right balance between the most miles a shoe can get and not wearing them too long is part of the sport. The more you get to know your body as a runner, the easier it is to tell when a shoe is on the verge of wearing out. Be safe and make sure to change your shoes before they lead to unnecessary injuries.