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Sole Decision: How to Know When It's Time to Replace Your Running Shoes

The sole decision for replacing running shoes is down to you, every time.

The sole decision for replacing running shoes is down to you, every time. However, it can be difficult to work out when to replace them. Is it just on one factor, or do you need to think about several things? Following the crowd or doing what your friends do is no good in this scenario. You need to do what is best for you, your sole decision, and here is some advice to help you. 


The Mileage Factor 

There is a general rule that once your running shoes have 300-500 miles of wear then it is time to change them. You can live by this rule of course, plenty of people do. You can also consider this in the context of your own shoes, feet and body. If your shoes still give you a good run without any undesirable factors, then you may want to keep onto them longer. If they are causing issues at 250 miles then you should not wait. You may wish to consider this ‘rule’ alongside other factors. It is your sole decision and your personal choice as to what you do. Make sure that if you use the mileage factor then it is because it works for you. 


Damage Control 

One of the most obvious reasons for replacing running shoes is that there is damage. Firstly, there is obvious damage like rips, tears and wrinkles in the upper fabric. There can also be damage in the sole such as tears or chunks coming away. Elite runners want to avoid all of these things but then so do any type of regular runners. Yet there are other types of damage to look out for. This might be saggy, loose-fitting uppers or areas around the ankle that makes your foot move around. Bear in mind that every single time you put your running shoes on, they take on a bit of wear. It might also be water, mud or other substances that get onto the upper, on the sole, or in the lining. There can also be damage you cannot see to the inside of your shoe. 


The Uneven Wear 

So, when you look down at the sole of your running shoe, what do you see? What is not so great, is seeing masses of uneven wear. Most of us walk in or out on our shoes. Some people do walk very straight and give an even wear to their shoes, but this is not the norm. You can choose running shoes that help balance with support in different areas. However, if you do have very uneven wear then it is going to reduce the overall life of your shoe. The soles of your running shoe are important for you. They are what keeps you on track with every single mile on every single run. Check for uneven wear and you might be able to combat early signs with an insole. 


Foot Comfort 

How comfortable is your foot in your current running shoe? The comfort of your foot is essential for making sure that you can run day after day. First of all, consider pain, especially in your arch and heel. If you are developing new pain or more intense pain, then that is a sure sign that you are in need of new running shoes. Blisters might be a factor with new shoes as your foot adapts to the new fabric of the upper or positioning of the sole. However, blisters are not good and they suggest a problem with your shoe after it is first worn in. If you get areas of heat, or hotspots, then you should check out your shoe. Something is changing to create that hotspot. The chances are that it is not something positive. All of these aspects suggest a change in your shoe. 


Body Comfort  

You know, it is not just your feet that can experience problems with running shoes. Running takes its toll on the rest of your body, especially without the correct equipment. Sore knees are a quick indicator of a poor running shoe. This can show as striking pains, stiffness, or swelling depending on the kind of issue you have. In addition, you can experience pains in your back and right up to the neck. Running can affect other areas, but if this is happening more and more, it can cause complex injuries. Keep your body running from top to bottom with the right running shoes for you. This may mean a new shoe depending on your individual needs. Making sure your body is comfortable is an essential.  


A Bit of Bounce 

Your shoes should put a bit of a spring in your step. That is a literal spring – a bit of bounce. Try pumping the ball of your foot up and down lifting and lowering your heels or making a series of small jumps in the air. You should feel the bounce of your soles. Plenty of soles and insoles have aspects to protect your ankles and knees and this spring shows they are there doing their job. If there is no spring or bounce, then it may be time to consider a new pair of running shoes. Do bear in mind that not every shoe has this spring feeling though. For example, tennis shoes with a flat rubber sole are the opposite of this! You can only measure a specific shoe on what it is meant to be doing to support you. 


Make a sole decision that you base not only on the soles of your shoes but on other factors too. Some people run in old and decrepit running shoes and they might feel it is what is right for them. Other people might replace their shoes every three months. There is no right and wrong answer to this question. It is simply what is right for you and what will best support and protect you. Every person is individual and so is every single foot. Make sure your body is your motivation and not what everyone else is doing! Then you will know when it is time to replace your running shoes; when it is right for you. 

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