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How to Tell When It's Time for New Running Shoes

running shoes on a colorful background
If you've been wearing the same kicks for far too long, you may see signs that you need new running shoes! Here's what you need to know.

by Lindsay Tigar

Whether you go for a run in the morning or lift weights in the evening, what's one item you always bring? Your shoes.

Shoes are among the most essential pieces of equipment for effective workouts, but they can often be overlooked! It's important to replace your kicks regularly not only because they can show signs of wear-and-tear, but because when your arches, heels, and toes aren't supported properly, you run the risk of injury. Fortunately, there are plenty of signs to let you know when you need new running shoes.

If you've been lugging around the same worn-out pair of shoes for months — or maybe even years — it's probably time for an update! Here's your footwear guide to staying trendy and secure while working out.

How to Know When You Need New Running Shoes

If you ask the experts, they'll say most of the signs that you need new sneakers are obvious — they have visible tears, don't stay tied even with replacement laces, and so on. Other indicators become more apparent while actually using the shoes. For instance, if you feel like you have no traction, little-to-no support in your arches, or no shock absorption when you walk or run on paved surfaces, those shoes are no longer fit to be your kicks!

Another factor that can indicate when you're due for new shoes is how often you wear your current pair, especially if they're your only pair. Aiming to exercise for those recommended 150 minutes a week is important, but that can be a lot of extra pressure on the shoes you wear day in and day out!

Why It's So Important to Replace Them

So, if some of the elite runners can break records in their bare feet, why is replacing your sneakers so important? Well, proper footwear is vital to foot and leg health for the vast majority of people. When the tread, foam and cushioning areas of your shoes fade away, experts say the risk of an overuse injury increases significantly.

Every time you do a burpee, squat jump, go for a jog, or perform some other workout, your sneakers are supposed to make the landing softer and easier on your joints. When the soles are worn out, they no longer provide that barrier between you and the ground, which can lead to shin splints, tendinitis, and other issues! Over time, these concerns could grow more severe and potentially prevent you from taking part in your favorite workouts.

So, How Often Should You Replace Your Sneakers?

How frequently you replace your shoes is really dependent on many factors, but experts suggest anywhere between 300 and 500 miles of usage as a good limit. If you run, say, three miles a day for three days each week, your sneakers would be solid for around eight months.

If you find a style of shoe that you enjoy and want make them last, try taking advantage of the next two-for-one sale at the shoe store. This way, you can alternate your sneakers every time you exercise, giving them a period of rest (just as you would give yourself after a workout).

What Makes a Great Shoe, Exactly?

At last, it's time to shop! But before you pick the most colorful, fun pair on the shelf, remember there's more to consider than just the style factor. You want to ensure you're picking sneakers that are suited for yourpreferred form of exercise and improve the quality of your workouts — and everyone's needs are different.

The best strategy may be to visit a local running store and have them observe you exercising in person, taking note of your gait, your step, and how your foot falls in motion. Then, they can help you determine the fit, weight, and support you need.

If you see signs that you need new running shoes, don't ignore them! You've put together some prime workout goals for your fitness journey, so make sure you have the tools you need stick to them. Consider it an investment in your health.

As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.