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 When are running shoes "wornout"?
flat fender

Joined: 16 May 2005
Posts: 1

When are running shoes "wornout"? Posted: Mon May 16, 2005 11:01 am 

I have been running for a relatively short period of time (almost two years) and have replaced my shoes every 500 miles because I read somewhere that the life expectancy is that far. I must admit that some of the replaced shoes sure seemed like they were still good to me and had a few more miles left. In the past I have worn Nike Air Pegasus but right now a pair of New Balance that have almost 700 miles on them and still seem fine. Is there a "set time" when shoes should be replaced or is it one of those things you'll know when it's time? I don't want to wear them until I get an injury, that defeats the whole idea of replacing them! Thanks for your input.

Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: When are running shoes "wornout"? Posted: Mon May 16, 2005 9:15 pm 

I'm with you-- I replace mine after 500 miles, but I really don't notice much difference between new shoes and old ones. The cushioning does break down after a while, and the shoe won't absorb impacts as well as when it was new, which can lead to funny aches and pains and eventually to more significant injuries. My guess is that people who wear lighter-weight shoes and who aren't especially injury-prone to begin with may be over-conservative by replacing shoes at 500 miles. But personally I'd rather spend the extra money and not take the risk.


South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: When are running shoes "wornout"? Posted: Wed May 18, 2005 12:38 pm 

I think the 500 mile rule (though I've also read 300 miles stated somewhere) is similar to the rule about changing the oil in your car...3000 miles or 3 months...which ever comes first. Many experts say this is a marketing ploy to generate after-market revenue and that 5000 miles is the minimum before you have to worry about changing your oil (except for when you are first breaking in your car).

Personally, I'm a big runner so I don't often get much more than 300 miles on my shoes before I can see the sole getting deformed.

If you are good at listening to your body I think you can rely on your own common sense. That is, if experience tells you that you can get 500 miles from a pair of shoes without problems then I suggest you start paying closing attention to your how your body feels as you approach that point. If you start to feel ANY unusual discomfort ANYWHERE in your body (say from your torso down) you may be experiencing early warning signs that the cushioning or stability of your shoes has changed enough that your it's having a negative affect on your body. Keep in mind, worn out shoes don't cause problems just to your feet. They can affect your shoulders, back, hips, knees, etc. because they cause your body to be out of it's normal alignment when you run.

BUT, it may not be your shoes but rather your insoles that need to be replaced...especially if you rely on replacement insoles that tend to be thicker and thus can compress over time more so than the orignal insoles (much thiner) sold with the shoe. If you are able to run 500 miles in a pair of shoes with the original insole without problems...well...I hate you!).

My advice, when you start to worry that you need new shoes ( a new pain crops up) but your shoes still look pretty good...then try a new pair of insoles first (the cheapest approach). Run a couple of times with the new insoles and see if there is much improvement. If not, purchase a new pair of shoes and put the new insoles iin the new shoes (don't tell me you prefer to use the original insole....see my comment at the end of the previous paragraph).

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