How to know when to replace your running shoes

My oldest sneakers are on the left - then the ones I'm currently using - then the new ones on the right

My oldest sneakers are on the left - then the ones I'm currently using - then the new ones on the right

I love running because it’s such a low-cost sport. You really do not require much to go for a run.  No fancy iPod, no fancy watch, no fancy clothes, no expensive gym membership … you just need some half-way-decent sneakers.

You don’t even need to drop a ton of money on sneakers. Just find ones that fit comfortably. And are designed for actual running.

(Last November, I bought a pair of Asics GT-2150s. They’re the first (and only) exclusive running sneaker that I have ever bought.  And I’m really happy with them, so I’ve kept buying them. )

After you’ve found your pair of running sneakers, you’re supposed to replace them on a semi-regular basis. The reason for this is that, as you put the miles on, you’re compressing down the foam sole of the shoe, which makes them less comfortable and supportive over time. And might lead to an injury, if you wait too long. For the average recreational runner, that isn’t something you have to worry about for awhile.

‘Cause I’m training for a marathon, and enjoy being comfortable and non-injured, I want to make sure that I replace my shoes often enough. ‘Cause I’m frugal and hate spending money, I want to make sure that I use every last mile out of my sneakers that I can.

So — when should I replace my running sneakers? According to Google:

I bring up the shoe-replacement-discussion because my (only) 12-miler this weekend felt a little rough on my shins. And then I looked at my milage on this pair of shoes:

Equals 383 miles

That’s a lot less than 500, but more than 300. Then I looked at the wear on them:

Old sole on the left, new sole on the right

I seem to especially wear my shoes down on the outside of my foot — which surprised me, because as a woman, I would expect to be an over-pronator, but I actually seem to be more of a neutral or under-pronator. (If you’re wondering what the hell that means, Runners World has a great series of videos on that.)

So, the wear is rough, but its not awful.

Then, I looked at the mid-sole:

My old midsole

New midsole for comparison

So, as you can see, its a little squashed, and there is some cracking and wrinkling where the toes bend, but I think I could keep going.

In the end, I bought a new pair of sneakers because Olympia Sports was having a crazy sale. My $100 pair of shoes cost me about $60. My plan is to use these shoes on Tuesday runs for the rest of the month — about 20 miles — to break them in, and then run in the new shoes for the marathon, on Oct. 2.

Sound like a plan? Have a wildly diverging opinion? Tell me in the comments. 🙂

Pattie Reaves

About Pattie Reaves

I'm a new mom and renegade fitness blogger at After the Couch. I live in Brewer with my husband, Tony, our daughter Felicity, and our two pugs, Georgia and Scoop.