Do your running shoes look like this?! If so, its time for some new ones! Just because you spent hundreds of dollars on them, it doesn't mean they're going to last. The longer you wear them, the higher your risk of foot and ankle injuries, knee and back pain. Here are a few ways to know if your shoes are getting to the end of their lifespan, and how often you should replace them.
Ensuring you have supportive running shoes is important for both injury prevention and performance. Generally, it is recommended that running shoes are replaced every 720 – 880 kilometres. However, how often you replace your running shoes also depends on your level of activity, body weight and foot. Clearly, if you run long distances every day you will wear out your shoes faster than someone who runs once a week. Also, people with more body weight or those who protonate (feet roll inwards inwards) also wear out running shoes more quickly.
Looks can be deceiving! Just because your shoes look brand new on top (well done for keeping them clean!), it doesn't mean the sole doesn't have signs of wear and tear. For many people (especially if you're a gym-goer), our shoes are never exposed enough to the elements to start to look 'old'. That doesn't mean they're still doing everything you want them to do.
Some common signs of wear to look out for are:
- The tread on the outer sole has worn through.
- The midsole feels too soft.
- Longitudinal creases can be seen in the midsole.
- When placed on a flat surface, the shoes do not stand up straight.
- The shoe can be folded along the midsole.
- The top covering has stretched, so your foot now spreads over the sole (on the inside).
What are the consequences of running in old shoes?
Whilst we all have the 'they're still good' attitude towards running shoes, wearing shoes past their best is likely lead to injuries and poor performance. Some of the physical signs you may need new shoes, and the likely consequences of not having them, include:
- Heel and arch pain (plantarfasciitis)
- Knee pain ('runners knee')
- Higher incidence of ankle sprains
- Muscle fatigue - tight calves, hamstrings and lower back
- 'Heavy leg' sensation during running.
Images courtesy of Womens Health Magazine and Dr. Dale Macdonald (elitesportsperformance.com)