Anyone who has ever trained for a race and or just runs for fun knows that finding the perfect pair of running shoes is close to impossible. There are so many options out there that it can make one dizzy. There are shoes for short distance, long distance, road running, path/soft surface running, track running, heel to toe landing, flat foot landing, pronation, supination and so many more. So when we runners find a perfect shoe for us, it’s the best feeling in the world and we never want to let them go! Unfortunately, the shoes wear out and most like the company that produced the shoe has changed the design or move on to a new model. This means back to the beginning. So here are a few tips on how to find that perfect pair of shoes and how and when to replace them so you don’t cause an injury from worn down shoes.
Tip 1: Finding The Running Shoe For You
- GO TO A RUNNING STORE! This seems pretty simple, but most people shop online nowadays for the convenience. While shopping online is great and I definitely do that, it’s not worth the injuries you can get from improper shoes. Most stores have treadmills where the sales associate can watch you run for a bit to see what your natural gait is and what your foot strike is like.
- Don’t worry about the look/color of the shoes at the store. Most will be very bland and we all know runners need something will a little spark to them. After all, “look good, feel good” is one of the more popular saying for runners. The focus of this is to find the best shoe that is the most comfortable for you when you run. If the store doesn’t have the color of the shoe you want, they can most likely order you one or you can order them online. Just make sure you get the brand, model and size information.
- Once you find the shoe you want, ask the store what their return policy is. Most stores will offer free returns and exchanges for 7 days. This will allow you to take the shoes for a few training runs and make sure the shoes are perfection. Do not be afraid to return them if they are not perfect. Running shoes should fit you so that you forgot they are there and you can focus on the important aspects of running.
- Once you’ve got those bad boys, hit the road and crush some miles!
Tip 2: When to Replace Running Shoes
SAD DAY! Those perfect shoes that have been your best training partner for the past few months are starting to wear out. Seriously, worn out running shoes and having to find the perfect replacement can definitely cause some anxiety. Obviously, each shoe and brand is going to be different so these are general guidelines will help you get an understanding of what to look for.
- If you are road runner like I am, you know how harsh concrete, asphalt and bricks can be on your knees, back, and ankles. It also takes a toll on the tread and support of your shoes. Putting a majority of your miles on the road will mean you will wear through the shoes faster than most runners.
- Shoe miles are around 200-250? Start looking for those replacements. At this point you will start to notice you are losing a bit of tread and traction when you push-off. There should still be plenty of stability but that will go next. This is where I replace my shoes. Not because they need replacing necessarily but because I’m over protective of my knees and don’t want to risk getting injured. Also, I love the push-off and traction I have with new shoes.
- Shoe miles are around 250-300? Check your tread. If its complete gone, you will notice that keeping up pace is becoming more difficult than before. But you may not need to replace. Check the stability of the sole of the shoe. Put one hand in the shoe and with the other hand press a finger into the sole of the shoe. If you can distinctly feel the finger poking up, then you need replacements. Just imagine what a rock will feel like if you are running full speed and step on it if you can feel a finger pushing up without and wait on the shoe. Ouch!
- Shoe miles over 300? Run at your own risk. You can absolutely keep running on the shoes if they are holding up will, but if you’re running on the road, it is unlikely they will still have sufficient support.
- The great thing about trail running is that it is much more natural and less abusive on your joints. That being said, trail running is tougher because it requires more strength to push-off the ground as the tails are not compact like concrete. Also, it is very hard to find trails that are going to be close to your location and long enough for your run. If you have a trail, be very grateful that you have such a luxury!
- Shoes Miles are 300-350? Start looking at new shoes and if your trail is dirt, I really hope you’ve been washing them regularly….
- Shoe Miles are 350-400? Check the stability of the sole of the shoe. Put one hand in the shoe and with the other hand press a finger into the sole of the shoe. If you can distinctly feel the finger poking up, then you need replacements.
- Shoe Miles are 400-500? This is where you should continue to check the stability of the sole of the shoe and tread. Most model shoes will be ok but you should absolutely consider getting new shoes sooner rather than later.
Tip 3: Finding Replacement Running Shoes
- Obviously, the first thing you want to do is see if your shoes are still being made. If they are the same brand and model, get them ASAP because they will most likely be changed in a few months.
- Look online for the same exact model and if you can’t find it, try to find the new model that the brand has replaced. Read the reviews. Most brands will give out test pairs to runners for reviews. If the reviews are telling you they are very similar to the previous model, then go ahead and give them a try.
- Can’t find the replacement? Looks like we are back to square one. Hit up the local running shop and find that new perfect pair.
Now that you’ve got those perfect running shoes and don’t have worry about when to replace them, go out and crush those miles and leave your worries behind!