How to tell when you need new running shoes

The buzz of your heart pumping, the feeling of your muscles working, the filling of your lungs with fresh air, the pain in your knees and hips...

What the heck?

In most cases, if your knees and hips hurt when you run, you need to replace your running shoes. However, this is just one of the signs that your faithful running companions are betraying you. 

Find out here how to tell if you need new running shoes. 

How long do running shoes last?

A pair of running shoes that lasts forever would be awesome. And once you find a comfortable pair, you never want to part with them.  

Unfortunately, like most good things, running shoes don’t last forever. As they lose their shock-absorption capabilities, they may even begin to cause more harm than good.

But when it comes to the question, "How long do running shoes last?" of course, the answer depends on how much you use them. If you run 50 km a week, your shoes will wear out far faster than if you’re only clocking a few km a month. 

Also, it depends on the terrain you run on. Rough terrain or hot asphalt will wear out your shoes faster than smooth, shady trails. 

Pro tip: Generally speaking, running shoes last between 500 - 750 km. That's about six months for someone only running 30 km per week. You’re shocked right now, aren’t you?

How to tell if you need new running shoes

Replacement shoes aren't always determined by time or km run. People run differently and on different terrain, and every shoe holds up to the tests of time and wear differently. 

However, there are more precise ways to tell when it's time to replace your shoes. Here are five ways you can tell if you need new running shoes. 

  1. High mileage on your shoes (over 500 miles or 800 km)

Your shoes will eventually wear out no matter how good they are. If you have more than 800 km on your shoes, it's time to replace them. 

In spite of not noticing (or ignoring) some of the other signs listed below, your shoes have reached the point at which they are causing more harm than good. 

  1. You have bilateral (both sides) aches and pains when running

Running can cause pain for many reasons, but if the pain suddenly appears on both sides of your body, degrading shoes may be the cause. A pair of shoes that loses cushioning and absorbs impact over time may cause knee, hip, and shin splint pain. 

On the flip side, you might have the wrong shoes for your feet if you experience these pains with new shoes. 

RELATED: Changing running shoe brands won’t help you if you’re wearing the wrong size. 

  1. They look physically worn (losing treads or uneven wear patterns)

The tread on your running shoes should be checked. In general, soles last longer than shoe cushioning, so if the tread is worn away, so is the shock absorption. 

Uneven wear may indicate a gait issue, and continuing to run in uneven shoes worsens it. Set them on a flat surface and see if they lean to the side or the front. If the wear is uneven, it’s time for a new pair. 

  1. The midsole is crushed or no longer absorbs impact

During your run, do you feel a hard impact on the ground? Check the midsole of your shoe. Does it feel spongy or hard when you press on it? 

Normally, the midsole absorbs shocks as you run. But when the midsole is hard and compressed, it is too compacted to do so anymore. Time for a new pair of shoes!

RELATED: When to buy new shoes before a race. 

  1. New shoes FEEL better on your feet

Initially, new shoes may feel strange because they are different from what you're used to. But after some time, they start feeling super comfortable. Then, eventually, that feeling of comfort goes away. 

If you try on a new pair of shoes and it's a relief compared to the old ones, you know it’s time for a change. The cushioning and/or support should more than compensate for the fact that these aren’t your time-trusted steeds. Your feet have found their home… at least for the next 500-800km. 

So, is it time for a new pair of running shoes?

Do you notice any of these signs with your running shoes? Perhaps you haven't bought new shoes for a long time. Whatever the case may be, your feet deserve some TLC. 

Of course, it’s critical to choose running shoes that fit your body and help you achieve your goals. Let the experts at The Runners Shop assist you. Treat yourself to what will quickly become your favourite pair of running shoes.