Are Your Shoes Worn Out?
by Super Dave, Industry Expert
On a regular basis you will find me staring at the ground. Most folks walking by probably think
I'm deep in thought but if they knew what I was doing they might think I'm a little
I count shoes (brand and name), and I look for people in the wrong shoes. Sometimes I strike up
a conversation with someone, but usually, I just observe. I am struck by two things every time
I do this exercise. First and most important, people still predominantly buy fashion over
function and therefore are probably running in the wrong shoes. With all of the great
information on our website and at retail stores across the country, this phenomenon just amazes
me. My conversations with them always start with, "What hurts on your body?"
The second thing I see too much of is worn out shoes. In general my opening question with these
runners is also, "What hurts on your body?" Yes, the same question. Running in worn
out shoes is just as bad as running in the wrong shoe. By the way, when I ask that question, I
usually get one of these answers: sore knee, achy feet early in the morning, shin splints,
tight quads, or something else. My next question is always, "Why do you put up with
that?" Typical answer? Because running hurts. But that's not really true and I want to
help folks change their answer and their view of running. Running does not have to hurt. If you
do the right things, like running in the right shoes that are not worn out, it should not hurt.
The two major things I see in worn out shoes:
1. Compressed midsoles - Look for compression wrinkles to see if your midsoles are worn
2. Age - I know runners have favorite shoes, but you can't keep running in them forever.
Buy multiple pairs of the style you like and 'retire' the old ones based on the guidelines
A good rule to use with your running shoes is 350 - 500 miles. Beyond this mileage and you risk
pain and possibly a long lasting debilitating injury. The mile variance is big because of the
size and form of individual runners. If you're a larger runner whose form could use some
improvement (i.e. you're a heavy striker), it's likely your shoes will wear out sooner. If
you're lighter and have good form, your shoes will last longer. Before any backlash, I am aware
that there are runners who claim they get 1000 miles or more out of a pair of shoes. Just like
anything there are always extremes and that's okay. If you don't track the mileage on your
shoes, here's a guide that should help you:
Guidelines to determine if your shoes are worn out:
1. If you're consistent with your running and suddenly start feeling sore.
2. If you can't remember when or where you bought those shoes.
3. Look at the midsole and check for compression wrinkles. If they're there, your shoes are
How often should you buy new shoes?
General Rule Based on 500 miles
||Every 8 months
||Every 6 months
||every 4 months
If you are heavier or heavy on your feet (there is a difference), take 2-3 months off your
replacement time. For instance a heavy runner running twice a week should replace shoes every
One last tip:
Shoe Rotation: Any runner running more than 3 days/week should have more than one running
shoe and should rotate running in each shoe on a regular basis. Your shoes will last longer and
so will your body.