Nowadays, more and more people are committing to an active lifestyle. And why not? It lowers the risk of developing chronic diseases, and it helps maintain good health. While running is cheap, the same cannot be said about running shoes, which raises the question: how often should you buy new running shoes?
Running is considered one of the cheapest ways to get healthier. Unlike other sports or physical fitness activities, you don’t need a lot of gear. Regardless of whether you are just going jogging in the park or training for a marathon, a pair of good running shoes is all you need. It should suit your running stance, foot structure, and the number of times you run per week.
How often one needs new running shoes is open to debate. When you ask 10 runners, you will likely get 10 different responses. While there is no right or wrong answer for every kind of runner, there are several guidelines to determine how often you should buy a new one.
How Often Should You Buy New Running Shoes?
A key component of most modern running shoes is a layer of foam cushioning that absorbs impact. This cushion usually comes from EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam, a lightweight, fairly resilient material built around tiny air pockets. In time, though, the foam loses its air. How quickly this happens depends on your running stride and how often you run.
According to some professionals, the cushion wears out after running 300 to 500 miles. So, if you run three miles five times per week, your running shoes will wear out in five to six months. Hence, you need to buy a new pair.
Why Should You Get a New Pair?
Some runners these days opt to run barefoot, or in shoes with only very slight cushioning. However, there are still others who prefer to run with cushioned shoes because it lessens the risk of having injuries and protects their feet from soreness. But then again, it is important to know that cushioning doesn’t last all that long.
Wearing an old pair of running shoes increases the risk of injuries. Overused foam doesn’t absorb shock thoroughly, and it causes injuries such as shin splints and tendonitis. So, how can you avoid this from happening?
One smart way to prevent this dilemma is to trade your old shoes for a new pair regularly. Changing your running shoes regularly will keep you healthy and comfortable, as well as injury-free.
How to Determine If You Need a New Pair
Since each of us has our own unique running practices, knowing how often should you buy new running shoes is simply a matter of counting miles or months. The range for the right time to replace old running shoes depends on the type of runner you are.
If you weigh more, or you run on your heel, you might easily wear the cushion out faster than a lighter runner or someone with a forefoot strike. That being said, how would you know exactly when to buy a new pair?
Here are some things you can do to find out:
- Do the “press” test
Find the most cushiony part of the midsole press your thumb into it. If it feels hard and doesn’t yield fast, it is time to buy a new pair. This part should be rather cushy and gives easily when the running shoe is new.
- Be aware of aches and pains
Some people believe that pain is a sign that the body is adapting to the new physical activity. However, others believe that it could be a sign that something is wrong. A little bit of pain at the extremity of your foot could mean that your running shoes have worn out.
- Is the sole creasing?
While observing the midsole, press your thumb on the outsole into the midsole. If the midsole doesn’t compress much, and dense compression lines are visible even before you press your thumb into it, it is probably a sign that you need a new pair.
- Compare old shoes with new ones
Try your old pair of running shoes right after you try on a new pair. By doing this, you will be able to compare directly which of the two pairs feels better. If the old one no longer feels comfortable, it is probably time to buy a new pair.
How to Make Running Shoes Last Longer
Replacing your running shoes time and time again can easily put a hole in your pocket. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make your shoes last longer. Among these techniques are:
- Buy two pairs of shoes
The midsole compresses every time you run, and it takes around 24 hours to return to its normal form. It sounds expensive, but buying two or three pairs and using them alternately will help each pair last much longer than if you only run in one pair. Using a pair for only once or twice a week will help reduce the stress on it, hence allowing it to last longer.
- Run on alternating surfaces
Concrete pavement is hard, which forces the midsole of the shoes to compress more in order to absorb the shock against the foot. Running on softer surfaces such as trail or grass once in a while can help prolong the life of your shoes. This is because the shoes would not have to compress as much to protect and support the foot.
- Keep the running shoes clean
Running shoes are also intended to be used on difficult terrain such as muddy surfaces. Regularly cleaning your shoes will not only make them look good and presentable, but also help extend their lifespan.
There are proper ways to take care of your shoes and avoid the risks of damage. Remember not to throw your running shoes into the washing machine (or dryer). The detergents can destroy the stuff that holds your shoes together.
It is also important to note that you need to use warm water and anti-grease soap to clean your shoes with a brush or sponge. Take the insole and clean it separately. Then, take them out to air dry in the sun.
- Take off your shoes properly
Have you ever gotten home from a run, too exhausted to untie your shoes before removing them? Tsk tsk. This practice is one of the factors that cause your running shoes to wear out faster, because it overstretches the materials. So, instead of removing your shoes quickly, untie the laces first and take them off by hand.
Running shoes wear out more quickly when you use them more often. However, this should not stop you from having an active lifestyle. Running wisely and applying several precautionary techniques will help prolong the life of your shoes.