Signs It's Time to Retire Your Running Shoes

Oct 01, 2023
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If you’re like most runners, you’re pretty devoted to your running shoes. But if your shoes show signs of wear, you could be putting yourself at risk of serious injuries. Here’s how to tell when to replace your beloved footwear.

You probably have a strong bond with your running shoes if you're a runner. After all, your shoes are your trusty running partners, helping you reach your goals and surpass them day after day. 

Unfortunately, running shoes aren't designed to last forever. Knowing when to part ways with your beloved shoes is integral to maintaining performance and reducing your risk of injuries. Wearing worn-out shoes can lead to bunions, blisters, and chronic pain conditions like plantar fasciitis.

Leading podiatry practice in Midtown Manhattan and Staten Island, New York, Forward Foot & Ankle helps patients manage running-related problems with custom medical treatments and lifestyle guidance, including tips on footwear replacement. In this post, our team helps you identify common signs that mean it's time to spring for a new pair of running shoes.

Worn soles

Your shoe soles are critical in helping you grip the running surface, providing a lot of cushioning and support. When your soles or treads are worn down, you lose those functions. If you continue to wear your shoes, your risk of falls and other injuries increases. If your soles are worn or your treads are smoothing out, it's time to replace your shoes.

Decreased cushioning

In addition to your soles, other parts of your shoes also help absorb shocks and protect your feet and other joints. New shoes have plenty of cushioning in the insoles, heels, ankles, and other areas. When cushioning wears down, your feet don't get the support they need to stay healthy. Using shoes with decreased or worn cushioning increases the risks of blisters, pain, shin splints, and stress fractures.

Cracks, holes, or other damage

Other signs of visible damage, like cracks, rips, or holes in any part of your running shoes, affect the integrity of the shoe and the support it can give to your feet and joints. As the support declines, your risk of injuries increases.

Foot, knee, or back pain

Foot pain is a fairly obvious indication that your shoes must be replaced, but worn shoes can cause other symptoms, too. You might notice aches and pains in your knees, hips, or lower back. Shoes provide support and protection for all these areas, and an increase in aches and pains could mean it's time to replace your shoes.

Uneven wear

Sometimes, wear and tear happens in specific spots on your soles. Not only can uneven wear increase your risk of injuries and decrease the cushioning and support your feet receive, but it could indicate a problem with your gait — an issue we can help you address.

High use

Even if your shoes don't exhibit visible signs of damage or wear, they might still need to be replaced. The general rule of thumb is to replace running shoes every 300-500 miles, but remember — this is just an estimate. This figure can vary based on the construction of your shoes, weight, running mechanics, the terrain you typically run on, and other running conditions, like temperature. 

If you're having foot pain, prompt treatment is vital for avoiding more serious complications. To learn how we can help, call 718-317-5215 or book an appointment online with the Forward Foot & Ankle team today.