From Alexander Chin – How often should we replace running shoes? The typical guidelines I’ve seen are 300 to 500 miles, though I’ve noticed that they look fine after 300 and even 400 miles in terms of wear and tear. Of course the concern is that the shoe may no longer be providing the necessary support/ stability. I know the shoe manufacturers and running magazines that get their advertising dollars from these same shoe companies want us to buy the newest and latest shoes as often as possible. Since I run 35 to 40 miles per week, I would be buying new shoes every 8 to 12 weeks under their guidelines.
The Coach – I’ve frequently heard the same statistics, Alex… replace your running shoes every 300 to 500 miles or so. But through a little more research on the subject and my own experiences, I have found that because of a number of variables, there is certainly no “one size fits all” answer. Your shoe life will primarily depend on 4 factors: your running style, body weight, the surface on which you run and the type of shoe itself.
Are you a “heavy” or “light” runner? A pronator or heel striker? Your style will effect where and how quickly your shoe breaks down. Heavier runners will wear out their shoes before more petite runners. Those of you running on treadmills, trails, tracks or grass will definitely be able to log more miles on your shoes than a road runner. Concrete is the worst for both the shoe and the runner. Your shoes will also last longer if you only wear them for running (and not for walking, yard work, etc.). Finally, some shoes are built for speed and some are built to last. Consider the Nike Mayfly: this super lightweight 4.8 ounce shoe constructed from a parachute-like Tyvek material and sole of airbubbled foam sells for $45-50 and is built to fall apart after about 62 miles (100 km). It is named after the insect with an adult lifespan of as little as 5 minutes, and will get a hardcore racer through a summer of 5Ks, but that’s about it.
So how do you know when your shoes have had it? It will take some experience, but here are a few tips:
In conclusion – one person may only get 300 miles out of their shoes while another can go for 700 to even 1000 miles. But the bottom line is that running in an old worn out pair of shoes can lead to an increase in injuries which nobody wants, so it is always better to err on the side of caution.
One final tip – consider rotating your shoes. Buy two pair at a time (or buy a second pair about midway through the life of your first). Add the new pair into your shoe rotation when your older shoes have roughly 200 miles on them and alternate runs with them, but continue to track their mileage. This should also help prolong their life.