When To Kick Your Kicks
You don’t need much equipment for running, but topping the must-have list is a pair of supportive, well-designed shoes. At about $100 a pop, it’s tempting to try to milk out every last drop of wear from one pair before plunking down plastic to buy another pair. Not a wise move. Here’s how to know when to pony up for a new pair of running shoes:
Replace your shoes every 300 to 500 miles. Where you fall on the 300- to 500-mile spectrum depends upon your build, how efficiently you run and the surface you run on. A small runner doing mostly treadmill jaunts can get more miles out of his or her shoes than a heavier runner hoofing it primarily on pavement. Keep track of the miles on your shoes by making note of the purchase wherever you log your miles. You can also use a marker to write the date you bought them on the tongue of a shoe for a rough idea.
Watch for signs of aging shoes. As your mileage in a pair approaches 300, start to pay attention to any signs that you need a new pair. On regular runs, if the arches of your feet start to ache, your knees feel sore or your shins feel a little twingy, it’s time to go shoe shopping. You’ll feel your shoe’s age before you can see it, and random pains often mean the shock absorbency and support of your shoes is headed south.
Do the twist test. This DIY test allows you to check on the deterioration of your midsole. Grab one of your shoes, and twist the toe and heel in opposite directions. A worn-out midsole is easier to twist than a newer one. (More minimal shoes twist easily, so this test doesn’t work as well for them.) If the sole of your shoe twists more easily than a “Toy Story” ragdoll, it’s not able to support and cushion your steps properly.
Do a side-by-side comparison. Go to your local running store and try on a new pair of your typical shoes. If you feel a huge difference from the ones you’re training in, add to your footwear family. Consider always alternating a couple pairs of shoes as some studies suggest switching pairs helps decrease the risk of injury. Only hitch in this plan? Then you have to keep track of the miles accumulated for each pair.
Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.