Even your favourite pair of running shoes will get old and worn out as you pump the miles. Old, worn-out shoes give you a much higher chance of running injuries to your ankles, knees, and hips. Read our guide and discover the signs for when to replace your running shoes...

How Often Should You Replace Your Running Shoes?

It’s generally accepted that the standard lifespan of road running shoes is somewhere between 300 - 500 miles, or around 500 - 800km, with lightweight shoes somewhere between 250 - 300 miles. So if you’re running 20 miles per week, you’ll probably need to replace your running shoes after around 4 - 6 months of wear.


However, where you fit in that range depends on a few additional aspects of your run...

1. Surface

Although it may seem obvious, many people choose to use their running shoes for all manner of terrain - be it road, trail, track, or racing. However, your running shoes have been created and designed to run on specific terrains with dedicated materials, grip, and technologies. If you ensure you only wear your shoes solely on the surface they were made for, they're guaranteed to last longer and perform better.


If you have sections of your run that take you off-road when in road running shoes, your shoes are more likely to wear quicker or get damaged. Try and ensure (where possible) you stick to the surface type you have bought your new shoes for and avoid rougher and hotter paths, as this will also lead to quicker wearing.

2. Your Running Style

Let's start by saying there is no correct style of running - everyone is different. However, understanding your specific run helps to ensure you buy and wear shoes better suited to your running style, helping you avoid unnecessary injuries and enhancing your comfort and performance. 


How your foot strikes the ground as you run impacts the wear of your shoes. Have you ever looked at the soles of your used running shoes? When you do, you notice areas with more wear - these help indicate your main impact zones.


If it’s under the big toe or to the side at the front of the shoe, you’re running leading with your forefoot. This is most common for sprinters and hill runners and can lead to the outer sole breaking through and exposing the midsole. If the main impact zone is in your midfoot, the same will occur with the ball of your foot. Wear in the heel is most common for long-distance road runners. This excessive heel wear, even if the rest of the shoe is fine, can mean your foot and ankle are exposed to injury as your shoe support can become reduced.


If you want to know more about your unique running style and get the right shoes for you, why not book a Gait Analysis appointment with our experts at your local Runners Need store? To learn more about our Gait Analysis service, click here.

3. Your Build

Most shoes are tailored to the 'average runner' profile, meaning if you're heavier or taller than average - your shoes will wear faster and need replacing more often. For people within this bracket, we recommend getting more supportive running shoes to ensure you're adequately protected and comfortable on all terrains.

How Do You Know When Your Running Shoes Are Worn Out?

Tracking apps like Strava allow you to record which shoes you’ve worn for each run, so even if you’re using more than one pair, you know exactly how many miles each one has done. Otherwise, an easy alternative is to write the date you bought your shoes on the inside to use as a future guide.

However, if you don’t know how long you’ve had your shoes or how far you’ve run in them, here are some sure signs that it's time for a new pair:

1. New Pains

If you’ve started to get new, unexplained aches and pains during or after your run, this might be a sign your running shoes need replacing.


Running makes you susceptible to shin splints, joint pain, and muscle fatigue, especially if your shoes have lost their cushioning. If you've developed achy ankles, hips, and knees are your run - this can be a sign your feet are becoming more sore or stiff as the shape of your shoes has changed with worn-down cushioning and general wear and tear. The same thing applies for new blisters or friction burns.  If you’re getting the same pain on both sides of your feet, your shoes need replacing.

2. Worn Out Treads

Running shoe soles tend to last longer than cushioning and shock absorbency, so if your soles are looking worn down and tired, it’s highly likely that the rest of your shoe is too. As previously mentioned in the Your Running Style section, take note of your main impact zones and wear patterns as uneven wear may be a sign you have the wrong type of shoes for your running gait.


If you want to know more about your unique running style and get the right shoes for you, why not book a Gait Analysis appointment with our experts at your local Runners Need store? To learn more about our Gait Analysis service, click here.

Gait analysis cost explained

3. Tough Midsole

Press your thumb into the side of the midsole. If it feels tough (it should feel spongy), the cushioning has compressed, and you’re not getting proper support when you run. If you’re feeling the impact of each step in your joints, the shock absorption has reduced, and this can lead to discomfort and injury.


You can do the Twist Test to analyse your shoes’ support. To do this, hold your shoe at each end and try twisting. It should feel firm. If it twists easily, it's probably unsupported. Note: This won’t work with lightweight shoes, only more sturdy pairs that rely more heavily on the support.

4. Noticable Difference When Trying on a Newer Pair

It’s always a good idea to have two pairs of running shoes at any one time, especially if you're varying up terrain! Try rotating them each run and getting a new pair around halfway through the life of the older ones when you can feel them wearing down to keep pace. Even more helpful, wearing new, more comfortable shoes helps to maintain proper running technique.

5. Other Major Signs of Wear and Tear

  • Heavily worn upper: If the outsole is fine but the sides have worn through, you might need a larger shoe size, stretch laces, or shoes with a more reinforced upper.

  • Fraying inner heel: This indicates you're wearing the wrong size shoe, as the friction from your ankle is wearing it down as you run. Try tying your shoelaces more securely to prevent your foot from moving or leaving the shoe.

  • Midsole feels soft: If the midsole isn't springing back or collapses under pressure, then replace your shoes. Look out for creases, particularly in your main impact zones.

  • Shoes don’t stand straight when on a flat surface.

  • Heel counter becomes less supportive.

How Do I Make My Running Shoes Last Longer?

Keeping your shoes on the tracks and trails isn't just great for your bank balance - it's great for the environment. The longer we wear our shoes, the longer we keep them out of landfills. Here are our top tips for keeping your running shoes running fit to help you get the most out of each pair:

1. Only Wear Your Running Shoes For Running

The more you wear your running shoes to pop to the shops or pick up the kids from school, the quicker they'll wear down. Running shoes are designed for road running, trail running, and races, so the more you wear your running shoes for activities other than running, the more empty miles you add to their count, and the quicker they’ll wear in main impact zones.

2. Always Undo and Redo Laces

Siipping your shoes on and off wears the heel down and stretches the shoe out of shape. An alternative to this is to purchase laces that don’t need to be tied (such as our range of Lock Laces) or try out a new lacing method. Having the wrong lace pattern can cause quicker wear, so make sure the way you’re laced up is right for you and try out various styles on your runs to find your match.

3. Keep Your Shoes Clean

After every run, check your shoes over and remove any stones from the tread on the outsole. If dirty, use a sponge and soapy water and air dry them, or if you’re in a rush to use them again, stuff them with newspaper

4. Wear The Correct Socks

Shoes are protected from the outside, not the inside, so if your socks aren’t meant for running or aren’t good quality - they cause damage to the inner material. Lower-cut socks can also prematurely wear out the inside of your shoes, so wearing longer socks when running is recommended for your shoe's longevity. 


Read our guide to buying the perfect running socks here.

5. Rotate Multiple Pairs

As we’ve already mentioned, there are numerous benefits to having two pairs of shoes on the go, including how often you need to replace your shoes.


On top of using a new pair to check the wear of an old one, a second pair means you can select the best shoes for that day’s run. If one pair gets wet, you can swap to the other pair of shoes for the next day's run and allow the previous pair to properly air-dry. In addition, your shoes won’t dictate your running style and will make transitioning into the next pair easier.

Still Got Questions? Ask Our Experts!

If you've still got questions about replacing your old running shoes or want to get to know your feet and running style a little better, we recommend popping into your local Runners Need store and chatting with our run experts.

Our expert staff are always on hand to help give you and your run a helping hand and are happy to help examine your shoes to see how they're faring, what you can do to keep them going, and when they need replacing. While you're in-store, we also recommend booking a Gait Analysis appointment and 3D Foot Scan to ensure you're always fitted with the right pair of shoes for your running style.

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