The lifespan of a running shoe is impacted by more than miles. And when you’re mixing in jogs with your weekly class schedule, it can be especially tricky to even estimate exactly how far you’ve run — or simply moved — in a given pair.
The health of your shoes can also have little to do with how they look. Indoor treadmill classes, for example, might keep your kicks looking clean, but you’re still compounding the activity, which impacts the health and internal structure of the shoe. Here are some signs it might be time for a new pair:
Start from the bottom up. Flip your shoes over and press your thumb into the midsole (center) of the shoe. If you find there’s little give, consider investing in a new pair. Also, check out the tread, as lack of traction can lead to slipping, and that’s something we all want to avoid mid-jog.
As time goes on, the internal support structure of a running shoes begins to break down, especially in the arches. Arch support is particularly important because it plays a big role in your foot’s tendency to pronate or supinate, reactions that are generally kept in check by solid support of the arch. If you find the heels of your shoes are wearing unevenly, there’s a good chance they’re no longer supporting you enough.
Aches and pains
Shock absorption is a big element of running shoes and for good reason. Ensuring your shoes give you ample cushion means you’re in for a more comfortable and injury-free jog. Listen to your body — especially your knees and lower back — because if you start to feel unusual discomfort, it could be a sign you need to replace your tennies.
Do a comparison
If you’re still not sure whether your running shoes are past their time, try the comparison test. Head to an athletics store and test a new pair side by side with your old ones. If the difference in how they feel is significant enough to make you not want to take the new ones off, it’s likely time to trade up.