running shoe soles

Like most things, running shoes have a lifespan. Once they’re worn out they won’t perform as well as they should, losing cushioning, stability and shock absorption. This can cause soreness, niggles and even injury.

“When you run, you’re putting up to three times your bodyweight through your shoes each time your foot strikes the floor," says Simon Callaway, European Technical Manager at Saucony. “You want to make sure you’re getting the best protection by running in footwear that’s up to the job."

So how do you know if you need to retire your runners? Here are three signs you do, and one you don’t.

1. Your shoes have run 500 miles

Mileometer

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It may sound like a Proclaimers hit but, as a rule of thumb, Simon suggests changing your shoes after around 500 miles. You can keep note of this by logging your runs on a training app or in a training diary.

“Remember that 500 miles is just a guide," he adds. “Everyone’s individual and how quickly your shoes wear out can depend on a number of variables such as the surface you run on and your bodyweight. If you're unsure, go and talk to the staff at a specialist running store and they'll be able to give you some advice."

2. There’s wearing on the sole or your shoes have started to ‘slap’

running on a treadmill

Wearing on the soles of your shoes can be a good indicator that it’s time for a change, but the signs aren’t always visible.

If you run on a treadmill, you may not notice any signs of wear and tear

“If you run on a treadmill, you may not notice any signs of wear and tear," says Simon. “But the miles of impact can break down your shoe’s cushioning system. If this is the case you’ll usually notice you start to ‘slap’ more during your running and it may be time to change your shoes."

3. They feel lifeless

old running shoes

“Most things come with experience and the more you run the more you’ll be able to tell when you need new shoes," says Simon.

“Don’t leave it till the last minute though, buy your next pair earlier than you would have thought. When your current trainers start to feel lifeless compared to the new ones, it’s time to change."

4. And when you don't need new shoes

If you tear the upper of your shoe or your toe starts poking out, you don’t need to bin them just yet

If you tear the upper of your shoe or your toe starts poking out, you don’t need to bin them just yet (unless it’s painful of course).

“I always start to come through the outside of the upper after around 100 miles, no matter what shoe I’m wearing," says Simon. “You learn with experience that your foot shape may cause slight issues. And, as footwear brands look for ever lighter and more breathable fabrics to enhance the running experience, this is one of those things that may well occur."