How Long Do Running Shoes Last


Running shoes can be expensive. They are certainly an investment.

But you also want to make sure you replace them when they’ve worn out. Besides being uncomfortable, old running shoes with lots of miles place you at a greater risk of being injured. No one wants that. Shin splints are a common injury from wearing worn running shoes.

In this article, we’ll review the different ways running shoes break down. And how you know when they should be replaced.

Common Factors that Affect A Running Shoe’s Lifespan

A pair of running shoes is useful for being comfortable while you run and avoiding injury. How long they last depends mostly on how much you run. But there are a few other factors that affect the lifespan of running shoes.

  • Running Mileage

This is the biggest factor that impacts how long running shoes last. As you run, the foam in the midsole gets compressed. When you are finished, the foam goes back to its original shape. But as you put more miles on the shoes, the foam slowly degrades and doesn’t provide the original amount of cushioning and support as when they were new.

Sometimes you don’t notice how worn your shoes are until you buy a new pair. Then, it’s obvious how much cushioning and support they’ve lost.

The best way to know when you replace your shoes is to track your mileage. Use a running log or an app like Strava or Garmin Connect.

  • Maintenance

In order to prolong a shoe’s life, it is recommended that you wash the shoes by hand, using nothing but soap and cool water with temperatures no more than 30 degrees Celsius.

In addition, it is best to avoid washing the shoes in a washing machine too, as it will definitely take a toll on their structure. When drying them up, it is best to place them in an open area at normal room temperature. Avoid drying them using heat.

  • The Runner’s Weight

Another factor is a runner’s weight. Heavier runners break down the cushioning faster. Lighter runners usually get more miles out of their shoes.

How Long Do Running Shoes Last? Knowing When to Buy A New Pair

The general consensus is that running shoes can last for up to 500 miles. But, this can be influenced by the number of pairs a runner owns, a runner’s weight, and other variables.

  • Look for Signs of Wear and Tear

The bottom of the soles is the first thing that one should take a look at. Heavy wear on the outersole is a sign that the shoes have too many miles on them.

Additionally, in time, the gel and foam that are used in designing the sole will also lose its spring. This means that it will be able to absorb less and less shock, making it more uncomfortable to run on longer distances.

  • Weigh Them

It’s hard to really tell when it’s time to change one’s shoes without really knowing the runner’s habits, how much they’ve been used, and without actually seeing them. A good way to tell, without having to do much else, when it’s time to change the running shoes is to weigh them using an electronic scale.

Kitchen scales, in particular, are very inexpensive and precise, and you might already be owning one of these devices! Weigh the shoes (individually) and see if they lost more than 10 grams. If this is the case, or if they’ve lost more than 10% of their initial weight, then it’s definitely time to buy a new pair.

  • Track Your Progress

Nowadays, it’s easy to track one’s performance and progress. It is super simple too. Use a running log.

Or download a fitness app like Strava that has tracking enabled and track how much you are scoring in the long-run. When a certain threshold is reached, then you know it’s time to start searching for a new pair of trainers.

How to Make Them Last

While running shoes will eventually need to be replaced, there are tricks and tips that can actually make your running shoes last longer. Aside from taking care of them on a regular basis, there are other things you can do to make sure that you get more out of your investment.

Here are two of them:

  • Make Sure to Pick The Right Pair

To make sure that the running shoes last longer, it is important that they fit well and aren’t under a greater strain than what they are designed for.

Make sure that there is enough room for the foot to move around and adjust the lacing so that both the foot and the shoe are “comfortable”.

Running shoes with lots of cushioning also tend to last longer than more minimal running shoes.

All in all, what you really need to do is to make sure that you pick a good brand with a solid model, and you’re all set.

  • Use Two or More Pairs

Running with a single pair of shoes will take a toll on their lifespan. The foamy material will lose volume much quicker if it’s being stressed on a daily basis. Giving the shoes a two- to three-day break while taking a spare pair out for a jog will allow the foam to grow back to its original volume.

While giving it a break won’t do much else, it is a good way to keep the shock-absorbing properties of the shoes around for longer.

Final Thoughts

Running shoes are essential for a good run. They reduce the risk of running injuries, make the whole experience more enjoyable, and will definitely increase one’s performance. For this reason, knowing how long do running shoes last is essential to every runner.

All in all, running shoes will wear and tear; it’s in their nature. To make them last longer than usual, cycle around different pairs, don’t take them while running in rough terrain if they’re not designed for the task, and take the time and budget to invest in a good model for your foot.

Photo of author


Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.

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