One of the many questions that a new runner might have as they get more into the sport is…
When do I need to buy new shoes?
Well…you will find a number of article and posts on the web about deciding upon when to buy a new pair. But basically it all boils down to two very important factors:
- Listening to Your Body
- Knowing Your Mileage
Knowing Your Body
The more you run, the more aware you are of how your body usually feels. You know the difference between being sore because of the amount of effort you’ve put into a run and being sore/hurt because something went awry. As shoes get old, they lose their support…as they lose their support, your body feels the difference and it then effects your running. If you don’t replace your running shoes when the time is right, this could lead to injury – and we don’t want that. If you start to notice that you feel a little more sore than usual or have pain/discomfort in new places though your running routine hasn’t really changed, then take a look at your shoes. Especially if it’s been a little while since you’ve bought them – rule of thumb is to buy a new pair every 3-5 months, but again…listen to your body.
Knowing Your Mileage
There are plenty of gadgets and apps out there to help you track how far you’ve run and most of them will allow you to see a snapshot of your mileage. Even if you opt not to use any of that, you will want to keep track of the miles you are putting on your shoes. I use the mapmyrun app on my phone to track my runs and workouts, so I always have a good idea as to how many miles I’ve put on my shoes. Since I currently only run in one pair of running shoes at a time, I tend to have a good idea as to where my mileage in the new shoes began. To get an even more accurate reading as to when you start to put miles on your shoes, a suggestion I came across was to actually write down the actual date that you purchased the new shoes. You can write them either in the tongue of the shoes themselves (I’m think I’m going to start doing this) or mark it on a calendar somewhere (like say… in your mileage tracker perhaps?) so you can revisit how many miles you have put on your shoes since they were first purchased. However you go about it, you want to keep track of your miles. Another general rule of thumb is to change out your running shoes every 300 – 500 miles, so it’s good to know your numbers.
Now, know there are not any hard and fast rules when it comes to determining when to change out your shoes. There are a number of different variables that might go into when/how frequently to change them out. For example, some say that if you run about 20-25 miles a week, you will want to change out your shoes at least every six months. But if you’re not averaging that many miles, it may take you a little longer. Another thing to consider is your size. Yep, in determining when to change out your running shoes…size matters. Reason being is this…consider the fact that running puts a lot of pounding on your feet and as a result, your shoes. The less you weigh, the less weight/force you are putting on your shoes…which means you might be able to weight until you get a little closer to that 500 mile mark before you notice any change in support or a need to buy a new pair. For larger runners like myself, we may have to change out our shoes a little more frequently. I know when I run, I run hard as it is…add to that my weight, and yes, my shoes take a definite pounding, which means I can tell quite markedly when it’s time for me to get a new pair of shoes. Whereas a smaller person might be able to run 500 miles in a pair of running shoes before the support gives out, if you are larger you will want to begin the hunt for a new pair once you start approaching the 300 mile marker.
Using the two tips mentioned above I figured I was due for a new pair of running shoes. For one, the pair I had I’d purchased in March of this year, and after looking at my mileage I’d placed around 300 miles on them. Now, since I’ve gotten back to running (somewhat) regularly again I experienced some of the usual soreness associated with getting back into any fitness routine. What was new for me was a certain kind of pain/discomfort I noticed in my heels after a run. I know the difference between the usual discomfort I might feel while breaking in a new pair of shoes and the exhaustion one feels from being on their feet for too long. But for my feet to have felt that tired after a 3-4 mile run? No…that’s not right. Then today after I did a 4.5 mile run I found that my right hip flexor started to hurt right around mile 3.5-4…again not usual considering how slow I’d been running today. When I got home I took my shoes off, and there was that all too familiar discomfort in my feet. I was definitely in need of a new pair of running shoes, so I went to my local running store (they’re great!) and tried on a few different pair.
Now, my first pair of real running shoes were the Asics 2150’s, and then when they were discontinued and I couldn’t find another pair in my size anywhere on the web, I moved to the next generation – the 2160s. Today though, I felt a desire to change. There are so many options out there when it comes to running shoes, that I don’t want to limit myself. My recommendation to those who are new to running is to get yourself fit for a good pair of running shoes. Make friends with your local running store – these folks know what they’re talking about. I tried on a number of different pairs of stability shoes (good for a larger runner like myself who has flat feet and tends to overpronate a lil when I run) and it came down to two…the Asics GT 2170s (of course) and the Saucony Progrid Hurricane 14. They were both super comfortable and it was hard to decide upon the two, but in the end the salesperson who was assisting me gave me the best advice…if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it. Since I’ve had such good experiences with the 2150s and 2160s I went with the 2170s…However, I will be coming back for those Saucony’s, as it is also a good idea to alternate running shoes while training to help extend their life a little bit.
I also found myself trying on a pair of minimalist shoes, as I hope to make the transition back to running in Vibrams at some point, and I came across these New Balance beauties and fell in love…And this is how a trip to the running store can get out of control quickly. I bought both pair, and while I will not be using the New Balances as an alternate running shoe for the Asics, I do plan on using them for shorter runs here and there. Also, they’re so cute and comfy that I’ll probably use them as an out and about kinda sneaker as well.