I am a stay-at-home mom of 3 awesome and busy kids. There is never a dull moment around here! I stay busy, but I always build time into my busy schedule for health and fitness. If I don't take care of myself now...who will, right!?! I love writing and editing and am grateful for the opportunity to blog for Today's Mama!

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Shoe Retirement

How do you know when to retire your running/workout shoes?  I’ve been wearing my walking/running shoes for well over 300 miles and I workout in the same shoes I walk in.  I wasn’t sure if it was time for new shoes or not…and since the ones I like and choose to use are $60-$100 a pop, I wanted to be sure before making the investment.  So, when is it time to retire?  You’ll get conflicting advice everywhere you turn, just like I did.  However, I have learned some good tips to determine when the time is right.

When to retire is going to be based on several factors.  Do you walk or run?  If you run, you are going to wear out the shoe’s cushioning faster than if you are a walker.  Are you using them on rough asphalt a treadmill or a dirt road?  A treadmill and dirt roads are going to be more forgiving than asphalt or even sidewalk.   Are you lighter or heavier?   Those that weigh less are putting less pressure on the cushioning and soles of their shoes.  So, their shoes are bound to last longer.  What is your running/walking style – do you tread lightly, or do you pound the pavement?  Walkers/runners that are light on their feet will not be so hard on the shoe’s cushioning than those of us that ground pound.  Also, the type of shoe you purchase is going to make a difference on when to replace them.  Do you buy the lightweight, popular style shoes?  Or, do you stick to the more cushioned version?  This will make a difference!  You want to retire your shoes before the cushioning in the mid-sole is completely worn out.  This will help you avoid injury and muscle fatigue.  So, what are some good signs that it’s time?

When should you retire your shoes?

photo credited to DJ Bass and Flickr

  • Many experts say that when you’ve run about 300-500 miles in the same pair of shoes, there is a good chance they are ready to be replaced.  
  • You can try this test:  stick one hand inside your shoe and one outside on the sole.  Push your two thumbs together.  If you can feel them through the cushioning and sole of the shoes, it’s time to replace them.
  • One suggestion was to try the “twist test”.  Hold your shoe (the toe in one hand and the heel in the other) and twist them.  They should be stiff and not easy to twist.  This one didn’t work for me, because I like the lighter weight shoes that twist easily right out of the box.
  • Are you starting to get joint pain/fatigue or shin splints that you don’t normally experience?  This could be a good sign that your shoes have had it.  Consider this especially if you are experiencing these symptoms on both sides of your body at once.
  • Are the soles of your shoes worn out?  Mine definitely were (which was my final deciding factor to replace them).  The cushioning in your shoes wears out faster than the sole.  The soles are made to be durable and to last longer than any other part of your shoe.  So, if they are worn out, the cushioning is definitely shot.

So, what have we learned?  Here’s what I now know.  There is no definitive way to know when it’s time to get new running shoes. Everyone will give you their own opinion, but that’s all it is, an opinion.  There have been no known studies done on the topic.   But, if your shoes are no longer comfortable, and the soles are pretty worn down, you might want to consider getting new shoes.  I know this doesn’t completely solve the dilemma of “to replace or not to replace”…but when it’s time, you will know.  Shoes just simply don’t feel the same when you have worn them for too long.


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