Saturday, October 16, 2010


How do you know when you need to replace those tired, old, running shoes of yours? Running shoes are most important in the heel area, where there is padding to protect your foot from the constant heel strikes involved in running. The material in that area will eventually wear out no matter what you do, and when it does, it's time to replace the shoes. Otherwise, those battered old shoes will be a definite cause of injury in the future. Better safe than sorry.


Some people hold on to their shoes for years and years and years, claiming that they last forever. While it is true that shoes can last forever, especially if they're well made, it is not true that they can last forever. This is especially true if the running shoes are used by very active track athletes, who run vigorously literally all day, every day. Shoes that experience this kind of constant mileage can be expected to last up to 3 months.

If you're an athlete whose sport involves plenty of running, whether you're involved in track and field, running marathons, or triathlons, it would be a good idea to have several pairs of running shoes that you alternate every day. If you have 2 pairs, and alternate them every day during their training, the material in their heels will be able to rest during their off days. This makes them last slightly longer than if they were constantly used every day, allowing both pairs to last up to 7 or possibly even 8 months. If you alternate three pairs of shoes, then they might collectively last 10 - 12 months, instead of only 9.

Knowing these figures and probable lifelines would be able to give you a good idea when to buy new shoes, so you don't panic when your current pair suddenly implodes during training.


You can actually see the change in the material if you had a photograph of your running shoes when they were brand new. If the shoes are particularly worn, the heel areas would be noticeably shorter than when they were brand new. This is because of the constant trauma they receive from the heel strikes during running. Eventually, that material would be completely worn away to nothing.


What if you mostly use your running shoes for walking, and or occasional jogging? Even if you did use the shoes every day, it's quite improbable that the they would have traveled the same distance that running athletes' shoes do within the same time frame. In this sense, they would last much longer.

Running shoes typically last for around 300 kilometers. Sometimes a bit less, sometimes much more, depending on the overall quality. But, unlike a car, you can't really tell how much distance your shoes have logged unless you're a compulsive note taker. An easier way to tell if your shoes have bitten the dust and need to be buried and replaced is by the feel of the material in the heel. If you can noticeably feel the material underneath the heel padding (the area closest to your foot), then it's time to get a new pair, unless you'd rather risk possible injury.

It's a good idea to actually test your shoes from time to time like this if you feel that they're already very old because you might not feel the difference in material over time, seeing as how running, and even jogging, are much lower impact than running or sprinting.


I apologize for not giving more specific lifespans of running shoes when they're only used for casual walking. Individuals mostly walk infrequently during the day, so the shoes typically don't get that much wear. They can last for years and years if used infrequently.

Got any thoughts or questions on the life span of your own pair of running shoes? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

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Hello, I'm Noel Blanco and I write Fitness Philippines. I have been involved in physical fitness for more than 10 years now and am currently taking up graduate studies on Exercise and Sports Science at the University of the Philippines. You can contact me at
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