As runners, saying goodbye to our favorite pair of shoes that served us so well can be one of the hardest things to do. Of course, we all know those runners who look for the slightest excuse of wear-and-tear or blemishes to justify a new pair (and when there are so many new, great looking models out there, the temptation to trade-up is very real). On the flipside, we’ve all seen pairs out there on the track that look like they’ve been worn for decades, showing often more holes than shoe.
Why replace running shoes at all?
If looks don’t matter to you, then it may be hard to justify replacing your running shoes when the pair you currently use work “just fine” - despite maybe some damage and wear-down. The truth as to how often should you change running shoes lies beneath the surface of the shoe itself. After a certain amount of use, the integrity of the shoe may be affected and that leads to the real reason to replace running shoes: increased risk of injury. Put simply, the longer you run in shoes that may not have the components and structure they were designed with, the greater your risk for damaging your body.
Just like driving a car on bald tires: you could keep going, but the chance of something bad happening increases each time you hit the road.
So how long should running shoes last?
The lifecycle of your running shoes can be affected by lots of things — from the shoe and how well its features match your biomechanical patterns, to how you use them and how well you maintain them. Obviously if you’re a seasoned runner or professional that heads out on a long run every day, you’re going to need a new pair of shoes much more frequently than someone who runs for fun or casually. Every shoe and runner is different. Below we’ve highlighted the major things that can affect the lifecycle of a running shoe, and signs to look out for when deciding if it’s time to say goodbye to your trusty run companion.