Your running shoes are probably the most important piece of equipment you own. If you’re serious about your running, you probably did the necessary research and made sure your shoes provide adequate support and cushioning for your needs.
But running shoes have a lifespan! Owning the right pair of running shoes is only half the battle. The other half is making sure you buy new running shoes at the right time.
But that may be more easily said than done. When is the right time to buy running shoes, exactly? Today we’ll be looking at the right times to get yourself new shoes. Timing your purchase right can ensure that your feet stay happy and healthy!
If you’ve just decided to start running, congratulations! You’re beginning something that’s as rewarding as it is challenging.
It may be tempting to start running in whatever shoes you have at home right now. They may be tennis shoes, cross-training shoes, or even just flat sneakers.
But while you can run in anything, it doesn’t mean that you should. We recommend investing in a new pair of running shoes right from the start.
Buying new running shoes when starting out will:
Reduce Your Chances of Injury
New habits take time to build. A running habit is no different. Suffering from an injury when you’re just starting out is a sure way for you to give up the sport! Especially when injury can be avoided by simply wearing the right shoes.
Shoes that aren’t designed for running aren’t as cushioned and supportive as they need to be.
For example, tennis shoes are much less flexible than most running shoes. Unless you’re an overpronator (your feet roll inwards when you run), then a stiff shoe is likely to be uncomfortable. Too much stiffness increases your chance of injury, as your foot won’t be able to move naturally.
On the other side of the coin, if you need a stability shoe to help you from overpronating, a normal neutral shoe won’t offer the stability you need. Your chances of turning an ankle will be higher!
Running shoes have cushioned midsoles and insoles designed to soften the impact of running on your joints.
Of course, this is mainly for preventing injury. But running in a pair of proper running shoes is also just so much more comfortable than any old pair of sneakers.
Extreme cushioning, like in Hoka One One running shoes, makes you feel like you’re running on air! Yes, the shock-absorbing properties of the cushioning are a huge injury-reducer. But they just also feel super plush and bouncy. That can greatly reduce perceptions of fatigue.
You may not need, or want, max cushion. Less-springy brands like Nike, Adidas, New Balance, and ASICS offer great comfortable shoes in a range of cushioning options.
New toys are always exciting! If you’re serious about running, there’s no better way to motivate you than getting a brand new, comfy pair of running shoes.
Trust us. You’ll notice the difference when you slip a new pair of shoes onto your feet. You’ll wonder why you ever tried running with your old sneakers!
Before a Big Race
Training for your first big race? Four to six weeks before your race may be the perfect time to buy new shoes.
Training for a long race like an ultramarathon, marathon, or half-marathon takes time. It takes three to five months of solid training to prepare for a marathon!
Consider how many miles you’re going to be running in those months. It makes sense that a single pair of shoes isn’t going to last through training and the actual marathon.
Buy new shoes four to six weeks before your race day. That will give you the time you need to break them in and get the feel of them on your feet. But it’s not so long in advance that they’ll be wearing out by the time your race comes around.
This break-in period is especially important if you are switching to a new brand or model.
When Recovering From Injury
In some cases, your shoes may have been the very thing that caused your injury in the first place!
Even if the mechanism of the injury had nothing to do with your shoes, now could be a good time to reevaluate how well you’re taking care of your feet and joints.
While you’re taking time off to recover from an injury, carefully check your shoes. Are they still well-cushioned? Do you still have adequate arch support? Is the midsole still absorbing shock properly on each step?
If your current shoes have worn-out cushioning and support, it’s a sure sign that you’re in need of a new pair.
Now is also a good time to make sure that your running shoes are the correct type for your gait. If you have low arches and tend to overpronate, you’ll be better off with a stability shoe.
On the other hand, if you originally bought a pair of shoes for the way they look, you may have been running in a pair of stability shoes all along. If you don’t overpronate, a pair of neutral shoes is most likely going to be far more comfortable, not to mention improving your performance!
If your injury has been a result of jarring, you may want to consider investing in a more cushioned pair than you had before.
When You Have Some Extra Cash
There’s no need to wait until your current shoes are falling apart before buying a new pair. In fact, having more than one pair at a time is good practice. So if you have a bit of extra money lying around, go ahead and invest in a second pair of shoes.
Rotating your running shoes is a helpful practice. Your shoes wear out a little more slowly, and it actually helps to decrease your chances of injuries due to repetitive motions that cause stress on your joints. The midsole foam benefits from having more than a day to rebound to its full shape and volume after a run. This extends the life of your shoe.
So, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having more than one pair of running shoes!
Aside from being able to rotate your running shoes, a shiny new pair of shoes could inject some much-needed motivation back into your running!
If you don’t need new shoes immediately and you want to save some cash (who doesn’t?), keep an eye out for sales.
Most running shoe models are updated annually. If you want the latest, greatest technology, keep an eye out for updates! Often, though, updates have slight technology changes and more differences in color or style.
Most runners don’t need the newest of new shoes. When shoes are updated, the old model usually goes on sale. That means you can get a great shoe, with fairly new technology, at a bargain price!
When to Look for Sales
Running shoes are updated at regular intervals throughout the year. Depending on the brand and what new technologies or features they’ve added, updates could happen at any point.
But in general, most new shoes are launched in the spring or the fall.
In the Spring, April-June
Some of the most popular models updated in the spring include the Brooks Ghost, ASICS Cumulus, and the New Balance 1080.
If these are your shoes, start checking their websites and social media pages for hints of updates in March!
In the Fall, October-November
Popular models that usually update in the fall include the Brooks Adrenaline and the ASICS GT-2000. Keep an eye on your brand’s social media posts from September if these are your favorites!
What You Should Know
Most big brands regulate their sales prices. That means that no matter where you prefer to shop, the prices should be the same, or very similar.
When a new model arrives, brands usually stop manufacturing the old one. This is why prices drop, but it’s also important to know that that means the stock is limited.
If you miss the chance to get your favorite shoe on sale, you may never get the chance again! If you’re fussy about colors, then get in early – the most popular/unique colors tend to sell out first!