Education

When should you change your running shoes?

Pace Athletic, in Darling Street, Rozelle, is an associated specialist running shoe store. They gave us some invaluable information on the …

Pace Athletic, in Darling Street, Rozelle, is an associated specialist running shoe store.  They gave us some invaluable information on the life of your running shoes.

Your feet strike the ground between 600 – 1,000 times per kilometre – depending on your pace – at 2.5 to 3.5 times your body weight while you run. So footwear plays a critical role in your running enjoyment, performance and injury prevention.

If your running shoes are improperly sized, unsuitable for your biomechanics or training needs and/or have gone past their use-by date, they can cause injury. Researchers have shown a significant correlation between infrequent changes of running shoes and injuries.

What can you expect from your running shoe?

It depends on how much time you spend in your running shoes. As a general rule, good shoes will enable you to enjoy approximately 900 to 1100km of running. That’s around the distance from Sydney to Brisbane.

Why do running shoes wear out?

Research has demonstrated that the midsole material of a running shoe will last for approximately 700 to 1,000km or 6 to 12 months, depending on the mileage and intensity of training. The midsole provides the important cushioning and stability to a shoe, so once it has worn out, the shoe loses its functional stability and increases your risk of injury.

The outsole of a running shoe is made of durable compounds, but it’s a poor indicator of remaining shoe life. In most cases, the midsole will wear out long before the outsole – especially  for heavier runners.

What are the signs of wear and tear?

You need to examine the major areas of decomposition – the heel counter, the midsole and the outsole. Any extrinsic abnormality causes an imbalance of impact forces and may increase the risk of injury to your lower limbs.

  • Look at the heel counter
    Is there any wearing on the inside or outside? Wearing on the inside can actually promote over-pronation and its associated overuse injuries.  Wearing on the outside can occur even with a normal running gait pattern.

  • Look at the midsole
    Is there any excessive compression, wrinkling or tilting? Monitor the torsional (twisting) stability of the shoe. Hold either ends of the shoe and twist in opposite directions. Is there too much flexibility?

  • Look at the outside
    Have you worn through the rubber to the midsole? Can you start to feel the irregularities of the ground under your feet?

Tips to Get the Most Out of your Shoes


  1. Reserve your running shoes for running only! Don’t use them for gardening, bush-walking, cycling, and so on.
  2. Rotate your shoes. Alternate between two pairs of running shoes to extend the life of the midsole beyond that of wearing each pair consecutively. Thus:
  • Use one pair for longer runs and any events. Use a second pair only for shorter runs, inclement weather and any off-road runs.
  • Give the first pair to reach 1000 km a new job description – for gardening, fishing cycling and so on.  Bring a new pair into the rotation.

Resources:

  1. Asplund. C, Brown (2005), The Running Shoe Prescription. The Physician and Sports Medicine, 31(1)
  2. www.aapsm.org/
  3. www.epodiatry.com/
  4. www.paceathletic.com

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