new running shoes 101: when is it time?

New running shoes are one of the highlights of this sport. I love trying new styles and coming home with (or coming home to) a box full of shiny, new shoes, all fresh and ready for the road.

new shoes

On the downside, running shoes can be pricey, and that can make us loathe to buy new or replace them as frequently as we should. My belief is spending the money on keeping yourself in good running shoes can help save you from injury or PT bills down the road, so I do try to stay on top of it.

But how do you know when it’s time?

When You’re Pushing 400 Miles

Most of us track our miles on our Garmins, Apple watches, or running apps. Our quest for data makes it easy to calculate overall miles, and these are what we should watch as we run. At the 300 mile mark in any pair of shoes, it’s time to start paying attention. Gels and cushioning begin to compress. Treads wear thin, Rubber loses its bounce. Uppers may start to fray. All of these things lead to a compromised running experience Every shoe is different, and every runner puts different wear on shoes. Sometimes, you can get to 500 or so miles, but 400 is the sweet spot especially for those who run regularly.

new running shoes

When They Hit Their 6 Month Birthday

Don’t keep track of your miles or don’t run all that often? Then make a note of the six-month mark from when you started wearing your shoes. While it may not look like your shoes are showing their age, be aware that passing time can lead to the breakdown of the materials that make up your shoes. It can be hard to say goodbye when your miles are on the lower side, but switch your six month old shoes to the pair you use for the gym or to walk the dogs and upgrade to something new.

When You Start To Feel Soreness

Any time you start to experience soreness or aches during or after a run, one of the big questions you should ask is “how old are my shoes?” When running shoes lose their integrity, due to use or age, they step serving the purpose of protecting your body while you run. If you are at 400 miles or past six months, get thee to your local running store to level up to your new running shoes. (and if that doesn’t do the trick quickly, get thee to your doctor for an exam).

new running shoes

When They Look Like This

Friends, I am so embarrassed to admit this, but this is an actual photo of the shoes I just retired.

new running shoes

In my defense, they were one of the only pairs of shoes that felt “right’ on my bionic ankle, and I wasn’t experiencing any (new) aches, pains, or discomfort from them. I suffered with feelings of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, and was nervous that changing anything would cause issues with my recovering leg. Of course, my new running shoes ended up being just fine with no issues, and I sent these off to Valhalla without a second thought.

When Your Favorite Shoe Goes On Sale (or Releases New Colors)

New running shoes are a critical part of the sport, but they can also just be fun. So when you see YOUR shoe marked down, or even in a cool new color way, go for it! It never hurts to have a backup pair to add to your rotation, or to save for a later. Running (and its accessories) should be fun, and if you want a new pair just for the heck of it, go for it!

new running shoes
courtesy of Brooks Running

When is the right time for you to get new running shoes?

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18 Responses to new running shoes 101: when is it time?

  1. Since I rotate 3 pairs of shoes at once it is hard for me to know how many miles I’ve run on each pair. I need to get back to tracking on an app again! I fell out of the habit awhile ago. I just replaced my Levitates that Ive had for almost a year, and now I’m realizing my Glycerins are probably on their last leg too. Time to do some more shoe shopping!
    Lisa @ Mile by Mile recently posted…6 Months of Virtual Coffee DatesMy Profile

  2. Catrina says:

    What a coincidence!
    I just bought a pair of Asics GT 2000 today. My current ones are starting to look worn out (not as bad as yours, LOL!) and I went hunting online.
    I bought a previous model which is much cheaper than the current one – and usually there’s only a marginal difference.
    They can be pricey – but if you hunt around there is always a bargain.

  3. Um, does there need to be a reason??? lol

    I actually used to rotate a lot.
    But still looking for the right pair.

    I keep changing my mind with every new injury.
    That’s when I buy a new brand.

    I’m hard on shoes too!!

    That being said, I just ordered a new pair of Topos.

  4. You can never have too many pairs of shoes! I usually replace mine around 4 months even though I may not hit 400 miles. I am hard on my shoes. Now you have me wanting to check out some new ones today 🙂

  5. Laura says:

    I typically go by “feel” based on when the shoe doesn’t feel as supportive. I just started using Strava also to track the mileage on my shoes, especially since I rotate a few pairs and am not always sure how many miles I am getting out of them.

  6. Wendy says:

    Like Laura, I go more by feel than anything else. Since I rotate through a couple pairs of shoes, it’s hard to keep track of the mileage. I check the soles periodically to notice any wear. But mostly, it’s how they feel on the run.

  7. I’ve never thought to use the 6 month milestone – that is probably something I need to follow since I’m not doing high mileage right now! So basically, I’m due for another pair in the next month….LOL!
    Janelle @ Run With No Regrets recently posted…America Runs Virtual 5K RecapMy Profile

  8. I think that “feel” is the most important criteria, as in if you feel like it’s time for a new pair then it is. I’m on my 6th pair of Brooks Launch and I’ve retired all of those at 500 miles (I’d say with two pairs felt like it was time and with the others I was just being conservative). The previous brand that I used felt and looked awful at 300 miles. I don’t follow the 6 month rule at all, I would need for the shoe to either not feel good or have a lot of miles on it to retire it.
    Beckett @ Birchwood Pie recently posted…Weekly Eats: OMG a Trader Joe’s Haul!My Profile

  9. I learned the hard way to replace my shoes between 300 and 500 miles. Now I always keep track. I also rotate pairs so they last longer!

  10. I have so many shoes in rotation, I have to go by “feel” as well. I wear my “newer” shoes for long runs, and rotate the “older” shoes in and out for shorter runs or speedwork. The really old ones are my “walking Max” shoes (back when I was able to actually walk with him LOL).

  11. I don’t track mileage, even though I think it’s a good thing to do — usually for me it IS around the 6 month mark or if I’m feeling some soreness.

  12. Debbie says:

    I always have a few pairs of shoes in rotation and I track their mileage in my Garmin app. I retire them when they reach 400 miles. Even before Garmin I used to track my shoe mileage in my running log. It’s so much easier than guessing!

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