Do Running Shoes Have a Shelf Life? – When Do Unworn Sneakers Expire

Shelf Life of Running Sneakers

Running shoes are designed to handle your body weight’s shock created by the impact each time your foot hits the ground. They also provide traction on different surfaces, support your feet, and cushion the landing shock.

Sadly, you can’t wear the same running sneakers forever. They are made of materials that are usually deteriorated after a certain number of miles.

But what about running shoes that you haven’t worn yet?

Some runners get more than one pair of their favorite running shoes and stock them up when there is a great sale on them or if the shoe manufacturer changes or discontinues this shoe model.

So, do running shoes have a shelf life?

The short answer is: Yes.

The unworn running shoes will start to break down after some time, and then it won’t be a good idea to depend on them for your running routine.

How Do Unworn Running Shoes Deteriorate?

Most running shoes come with a foam midsole that provides a springy feel and absorbs shock impact and a rubber outsole that provides durability and grips pavement. Sadly, midsole and outsole don’t last forever; they will eventually deteriorate, even if the shoe is unused.
If the shoes have been unworn for a while, the midsole will start to crumble and decrease the impact absorption rate. The decreased shock absorption might also bring in injuries to some runners.

The midsole and outsole are not only the shoe parts that will start to breakdown, but the upper of the running shoes may also get deteriorated. If your shoes are kept on a shelf for a long time, the moisture in the air causes the glue that attaches the upper to the midsole to loosen. The threading on the upper might loosen as well, especially around the edges.

When do Unworn Running Shoes Expire?

When will Unworn Running Shoes Begin to Break Down?

While sneakers won’t begin to degrade immediately after purchasing them, you should start to put them on six to 12 months after your buy. This is when they begin to malfunction little by little.
It might not mean they’re totally unusable but, It just means that they won’t feel as cushioned as the new pair of the same shoe.

The running shoes will start to feel stiffer; rather than the shoe taking on the impact, your feet, knees, hips, back, and legs are now absorbing a greater amount of force. The runner will start to experience new pains and aches without any increase in your training volume.

Related article: Find out The Quality Running Shoes

Most producers suggest wearing their running shoes for about 300-600 miles. With a pair of older unworn shoes, You’ll have just 200-300 miles without increasing your risk of injury. You might be able to wear them for 400-500 miles, but your injury risk will surely increase because the materials are already deteriorating, especially the outsole, which usually wears out faster.

How to Make Your Unworn Shoes Last Longer

If you have a pair of running shoes that you are not planning to put on soon, you should keep them in a climate-controlled environment. It is a good idea to maintain your running sneakers indoors, whether they’re new or old.

Proper Running Shoe Storage

Heat, humidity, and air have a great influence on your stored shoe deterioration rate. If you store your running shoes in a plastic vacuum bag where there is no air circulation, you can save your unworn running shoes for a long time (maybe years) without losing their efficiency.
If you want to purchase an older model of shoes on sale, it is suggested to do so within two to three months from when the newer model is presented.

Read more: top ways to prevent heel slippage in running shoes


Running shoes have a shelf life; the midsole breaks down over time and loses its bounce when they are on a shelf. Synthetic materials in shoe structures can degrade in the closet, even if they are not being worn. It doesn’t mean that you can’t use them later, it just means that their efficiency has decreased, and you may not get the maximum benefits of them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.