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Running shoes wear out over time, and some last longer than others. When they wear out the soles can become uneven and can cause injury. Today, I will explain how often running shoes should be replaced, and if they need to be replaced every 6 months.
As a general rule, you don’t need to replace your running shoes every 6 months. Studies have shown that it’s recommended to replace running shoes after they have been used for 500 miles (804 km). On average, this is every 6 months if you run 5 times or more per week.
An average run is about 20 to 30 minutes and covers 2 to 4 miles (3.2 to 6.4 km). Therefore, how long running shoes last depends on how often you go for a run. Below, I’ve compiled tables that show when running shoes should be replaced based on how often you go for a run. As well as, whether the insoles should be replaced before you get new running shoes.
Do You Really Need To Replace Running Shoes?
Running shoes last for a long time and still feel reasonably comfortable when the sole is beginning to peel off, or they otherwise look very worn. So, here’s a rundown of whether it is in fact necessary to replace running shoes.
In general, it is necessary to replace running shoes. Studies have shown there is an increased risk of foot injury when running shoes have been used for more than 500 miles (804 km). After this time, running shoes have been shown to lose their shock-absorbing capabilities.
The study (source), recommends replacing running shoes that have been used for more than 500 to 700 miles (804 km to 1126 km). But, to reduce the risk of injury it’s best to err on the side of caution and replace them sooner rather than later.
This is quite a distance depending on how often and how far you run. Beginner runners and people that go on a run for fitness will typically run for about 20 to 30 minutes. Here’s a table that shows how many miles a person will run based on how many times they go for a run per week:
|Number of times you go running a week||Miles run total per week|
|1||4 miles (6.4 km)|
|2||8 miles (12.8 km)|
|3||12 miles (19.2 km)|
|4||16 miles (25.6 km)|
|5||20 miles (32.0 km)|
|6||24 miles (38.4 km)|
|7||28 miles (44.8 km)|
Based on these numbers, here’s how long you should use running shoes based on how often you go for a run.
|Runs per week||When running shoes should be replaced|
|1||31 months (2.5 years)|
|2||15 months (about 2 years)|
As you can see, from the table if you go for a run once or twice a week running shoes will last a very long time. And you should only consider replacing them after 1.5 years or so. But, if you run long distances, or run very frequently running shoes should be replaced about every 3 to 6 months.
How Many Miles To Replace Running Shoes?
There are a bunch of different ways to track how far you run, and it’s fun to try to push yourself or see how well you achieved a goal you set for yourself. Running shoes do wear out and don’t perform as well after a certain amount of use. So, here’s how many miles you should run in your running shoes before replacing them.
On average, running shoes should be replaced after 500 to 700 miles (804 km to 1126 km) of use. Studies have shown that when running shoes have been used for this distance they are no longer shock absorbent. They can also not fit as well, which increases the risk of foot and ankle injury.
A study looked at the risk of injury and pain from running shoes (source). It found that the period of time when running shoes are most likely to cause pain and injury is when they are brand new. Known as, the breaking-in period. After this time, they should be replaced before 700 miles.
They state that before running shoes break in they are a lot stiffer, which causes more foot pain, and increases the chances of an injury. And recommend being more careful when you’re running in brand new running shoes.
This is because they don’t flex to accommodate the minor movements of the foot when running, and don’t have as much give in the insole and sole of the shoe.
When Should I Replace Running Shoes?
Running shoes can technically be used for an incredibly long time and will still function up until the point that the sole begins flapping about and folding under itself. Or a tear opens up to where your foot begins sliding out of the side or end of the shoe as you’re running. But, when’s the best time to replace running shoes?
As a general rule, you should replace running shoes after 500 to 700 miles (804 km to 1126 km). If you run 2 to 3 times a week for about 30 minutes this is 6 months to a year. If there is any significant damage to your running shoes you should replace them sooner.
Damage to your running shoes can occur sooner. For example, if you can accidentally kick a curb which causes the sole to rip off slightly from the bottom of the shoes.
Or, you narrowly brush a rock which creates a rip in the sides of your shoes. But, apart from these accidents, they tend to last a very long time.
At least 3 months, even if you run very frequently. If you’re training for a half marathon, marathon, enduro, triathlon, or similar you will tend to cover a much greater distance in training. Therefore, you will need to replace your running shoes much sooner.
Should I Replace Running Shoe Insoles?
Insoles on running shoes can typically be removed and replaced with better or newer ones. To get a running shoe to fit a lot better, thicker or thinner insoles can also be a good idea. However, here’s whether you should replace your running shoe insoles because of wear and tear.
Overall, you should not replace running shoe insoles. But, if there is uncharacteristic damage to your insoles or they are causing your running shoes to be ill-fitting they should be replaced. In general, insoles will last as long as running shoes.
In some cases, the fabric on insoles can rip. It can then fold underneath your foot, and cause discomfort. It’s usually then a good idea to rip off the fabric. However, this can make the insoles less comfortable.
The edges of the insole can also bend and fold at the corners which you can feel as your running, and is a bit distracting. In both of these cases, it can be a good idea to replace your running shoe insoles sooner rather than later.
To reduce the risk of injury to the feet, toes, and ankles it’s necessary to replace running shoes after a certain amount of use. On average, this is around 500 miles. If you run regularly this means you will need to replace your running shoes sooner. Whereas, if you only go for a run a few times a week they will last a lot longer.
The main reason is after 500 miles of use, running shoes lose their shock-absorbing capabilities. The insoles of running shoes typically last as long as running shoes. Therefore, they don’t need to be replaced sooner.
Links / References
- Rethnam U, Makwana N. Are old running shoes detrimental to your feet? A pedobarographic study. BMC Res Notes. 2011 Aug 24;4:307
- van Mechelen W. Running injuries. A review of the epidemiological literature. Sports Med. 1992 Nov;14(5):320-35
- Active.com: How Far Should You Run?
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