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Signs Your Running Shoes Need to Be Replaced

How to Know When to Buy New Running Shoes

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Updated June 16, 2014

Running in old or worn-out running shoes can lead to running injuries. Over time, your running shoes lose shock absorption, cushioning and stability. When you run in worn-out shoes, it increases the stress and impact on your legs and joints, which can cause overuse injuries. One of the best things you can do to prevent running injuries is to replace your shoes at the right time. Here's how you know that you need new running shoes:

1. The mileage on your shoes is high.

Close up shoot of a woman's running shoes in the nature.
FrancescoCorticchia/E+/Getty Images
A good rule of thumb is to replace your running shoes every 300-400 miles, depending on your running style, body weight, and the surface on which you run. Smaller runners can get new shoes at the upper end of the recommendation while heavier runners should consider replacement shoes closer to 300 miles. If you run on rough roads, you'll need to replace your shoes sooner than if you do primarily treadmill running. If you take good care of your running shoes, you may be able to get away with the higher end of that range.

2. You're feeling pain.

If you've been feeling muscle fatigue, shin splints, or some pain in your joints -- especially your knees -- you may be wearing shoes that have lost their cushioning. When you're feeling pain on both sides -- both knees, for example -- that's often an indication that you need new running shoes.

3. Your shoes fail the twist test.

Photo by Christine Luff
If you hold your running shoes at both ends and twist the shoe, it should feel firm. An old shoe or one that doesn't have proper support will twist easily (as in this photo).

4. Your soles are worn-out.

One tell-tale sign that you need new running shoes is if your soles are worn-out. The soles last longer than the shoe's cushioning and shock absorbency, so if the soles are worn down, it's definitely time for new ones. You should never run in shoes that have worn-down soles. Save them for working in the garden or mowing the lawn!

5. Newer shoes feel much better.

Some experts recommend that runners rotate two pairs of running shoes. If you get a new pair of running shoes about half-way through the life of your old ones, they can serve as a reference to help you notice when your old ones are ready to be replaced. If you notice a big difference in the cushioning of the newer pair, then it's probably time to retire the old ones.
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