The proper running shoes are essential for your running routine. If you have bought a new pair of running shoes this season and are planning to begin your new fitness routine, you’ll need to make sure that your running shoes will last longer.
Many studies have been conducted on running shoes, especially for those who run for long distances daily, proving that those carrying out running activities with the wrong kind of running shoes are imposing significant risks on themselves. Inappropriate shoes can cause injuries to the ankles, knees, and pelvic joints. Therefore, runners must consider some of the specifications that must be met in an appropriate pair of running shoes.
Top Signs You Need a New Pair of Running Shoes
This article will tell you what makes a pair of running shoes fitting for you and what signs you need new running shoes.
1- Pain When Running
Experiencing pain in your knees, splints, or joints is a tell-tale sign of insufficient cushioning. Pain indicates that your shoe is not cushy any longer, so you need to replace them.
2- Your Heels Step up When you Walk or Climb Hills
One of the common signs that you need new running shoes is you start to feel that your heel is not wrapped firmly inside your shoes.
To prevent your heels from slipping, try to tie your feet snugly by entering the laces in the last eyelets. The shoe must wrap around your feet tightly, yet it should not feel restrictive.
3- Having Toe Bunions or Callus
Corns and bunions form due to narrowness, making the base of your little toe lie on the edge of the shoe without any space to move. Therefore, your toes must have some room to move. To fix this problem, you need to buy a new pair of shoes with a roomy toe-box to prevent the formation of bunions and corns.
4- Your Toes Feel Hot After the Run
Burning toes and hot feet are signs that your shoe is not suitable for you and you need a new pair. This problem usually occurs when your soles are too tight and lack cushioning. Therefore, try buying a shoe with a reliable cushioning system.
5- Feeling Pain in Your Arches
If your shoes are too wide and lack adequate support, chances are your muscles are going to get hard with every stride. When your shoe doesn’t support your feet, your feet start to exert hard efforts to gain that support and avoid slippage. Consequently, the heels start getting stiff, which evokes a tingling feeling and pain.
6- Your Toes Rub against The Tip of your Shoes
If you feel that your toes don’t have some space to move in the toebox, you have to change your running shoes. Wearing a shoe that lacks enough room for your toes to move leads to inflammation and swelling. At the end of the run, your toes will expand and cause you intolerable pain.
7- High Mileage on Your Shoes
After hitting 400 miles, runners are often required to replace their running sneakers. Unfortunately, having an old pair of shoes reduces your in-shoe comfort since the shoe starts wearing out over time, which decreases the cushioning and robustness.
Keep in mind that the terrain you run on is an essential factor in determining the lifespan of your shoes. Treadmill runs don’t affect your shoe as much as rocky terrains. Once you buy your shoe, record the data of buying date, the miles you are supposed to run, and the road types.
8- Toenail Removal
Wearing a narrow shoe adds excessive strain and pressure on your toes, which leads runners to lose their toenails. The removal of the toenail results in bleeding, pain, and infection.
9- Achilles Tendinitis
Suffering from Achilles Tendinitis is another significant sign indicating that you are wearing the wrong shoe and need a new pair. The tendinitis issue results from the lack of proper blood inflow in your legs, leading your heels to swell. This condition is accompanied by intolerable pain and occurs due to wearing an unsupportive pair of running shoes.
10- Stress Fracture
This type of rupture occurs in the ankle or the feet, causing moderate pain that increases over time. The fracture is caused by wearing a tight pair of shoes that lack support, increasing the risk of injury. With this issue, you need to get a new pair of suitable running sneakers.
11- Iliotibial Band Syndrome (IT Band Syndrome)
Iliotibial is a tendon between the hip and the knee, and when this tendon suffers from soreness, we call it IT Band Syndrome. The syndrome is accompanied by stabbing pain on the outside of the knee which can radiate either down or up. This issue commonly occurs for overpronating runners and runners with weak hip abductor muscles.
12- The Midsole Feels Tough
Try to press your midsole and check if it feels stiff. Stiffness is an indication that the cushioning has been compressed and worn away. In this case, you will have to invest in a new pair of running shoes.
13- Hammer Toes
Hammer Toes is a medical condition that is triggered by wearing a tight pair of running sneakers, though it can be transmitted due to hereditary causes. It makes the muscles shorter than they should be, which leads the joints of your toe to submerge and the toe bone to step up.
14- Hot foot
Running sufferers from hot foot experience burning in their toes. The main reason for this is that during long rides, feet have a propensity to swell. As a result, the pressure inside the shoes rises, compressing the nerves in the process. As a result, the toes may tingle or become numb, and the ball of the foot may feel hot. It occurs as a result of wearing footwear with inadequate cushioning and inflexible insoles. That’s why you advise buying new shoes that are one size larger than your present pair.
If your run makes you tired and sore, this indicates that your shoe is losing its cushioning and springiness. When the materials start getting stiff, runners tend to feel the strikes and shocks they encounter badly, making running an unpleasant experience.
16- The Dead Shoe Test Fails
Check if your shoe is bendable from the forefront towards its back. This would suggest that the shock-absorbing ability of the shoe is fading and you need to replace your running shoes. When you do this test with your thumb, your shoe must show resistance if it’s durable and robust enough.
If your feet keep waggling inwards while you run, you are highly prone to suffer from tendinitis – tendon inflammation. Tendons can become sore inside the ankles or outside your feet. To prevent this condition from happening, runners are advised to purchase a supportive shoe with adequate cushioning, prevent injuries, and make their ride more comfortable.
18- Unsupported Heels
Experts note that plantar fasciitis occurs due to inflammation of the tissues that link between your heel bone and your toes, resulting in heel pain. Runners (especially obese runners) usually feel a stabbing sensation upon waking up, which may wear away after some time to strike again upon starting a new run. The pain might surface upon embarking on other activities such as jumping or jogging. Treatment can be reached by prescribed medications, surgeries, and orthotics. Some shoe manufacturers design specific types of shoes for plantar fasciitis.
19- Experiencing a Bunion
The bunion is known as a big sore collision at the joint of the big toe or on the reverse side of the toe. This condition results from wearing a stiff shoe and might worsen if you continue to wear the shoe for prolonged times. When the bunions become too large and old, they require a surgical procedure to be removed. That is why podiatrists recommend opting for the surgery earlier since bunions expand over time.
20- Being Affected by Planter’s Wart
Planter’s warts develop due to being infected by the HPV virus and are not seen as easily as the other corns and calluses. They start affecting the feet by causing pain and forming some corns around. Warts occur due to bacterial infections and impose pressure on runners’ feet. Although warts can be treated on their own, if you see some calluses that cause you difficult pain, it is better to contact a podiatrist to prescribe effective medications.
21- Witnessing Changes in your Weight
Your feet carry your entire body weight and always feel the results of any weight loss or gain. This is because your foot muscles expand or contract for every 10 pounds you lose or gain. So, if you lost or gained weight, make sure to get new suitable running shoes. Also, orthotics are used to reduce the pain that your foot feels after losing or gaining weight.
22- Having a Chronic Condition
Your feet are influenced by the overarching conditions that you suffer from. For example, diabetes affects the inflow of blood in your cells and leads to nerve pain and muscle disorders. The feet of pregnant women are also prone to be influenced by the pregnancy hormones released during this period.
23- Uneven Shoes
If you notice any imbalance while wearing your shoes, this is one of the signs you need new running shoes. Unevenness occurs after wearing your sneakers for an overextended time. Sometimes you can solve this problem by buying a pair of insoles.
24- Poor Shock Absorption
A decent pair of running shoes is tasked with protecting your feet against the aftermath of the strikes. If you feel the impact of each run, this means that your shoe lacks bouncing and spring. So, looking for another shoe to protect your ankles, muscles, and feet is better.
25- Changing your Running Form
If you feel that your running attitude has changed after wearing your running shoe, it might be time to buy a new one. Your running shoe is tasked with allowing you to run comfortably, so if the way you run changes, this might indicate that your shoe is not the right fit for you.
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that imposes sharp pain on the feet resembling the pain inflicted by needles. Runners who have peripheral neuropathy fail to feel the steps of their legs on the ground. Studies reveal that most runners who suffer from neuropathy have acquired the condition due to wearing tight shoes that strained their feet. When Peripheral neuropathy results from diabetes, patients are prone to have their feet cut off. That explains why having burning feet should not be ignored.
27- Ingrown Toenails
Ingrown Toenails develop as a result of wearing a shoe that is too tight or tiny for your foot and inflames your skin. Although it frequently affects the big toe, it can also affect other toes. To ensure that the shoe you choose will fit your feet perfectly, avoid cutting your nails too short.
28- Poor Wellbeing
If your shoes are ill-fitting and cause you much pain throughout the day, this is likely to negatively affect your overall quality of life. Many studies show that women who wear tiring shoes are less happy than those who wear proper shoes. In addition, improper shoes lead to injuries, falls, and lethargy.
29- Misshapen Heels
The heels of your running sneakers must be snug, not loose such as other parts of the shoe. When you have an old shoe, its shape changes and encounters some deformations. The heels usually lose their shape when runners squeeze their shoes without tying the laces and when they encounter intense damp weather conditions. If your heel is too loose or swollen, it is time to treat yourself to a new pair of sneakers.
30- Worn-Out Treads
One of the signs you need new running shoes is when the soles of your shoes have deteriorated. You can leave your worn-down shoe for garden walks or around-the-house walks.
31- Developing Pain for No Reasons
If you experience foot, ankle, or knee pain, yet you don’t have a clue why it is happening, your shoe might be the reason you should be replacing your running shoes. If you haven’t changed your running attitude, check any signs of deformity in your shoe and compare it to other new shoes in the stores.
32- Constant Injuries
If you repeatedly get injured, this might indicate that you are wearing an inadequate pair of running shoes. The shoes that lack proper traction, fail to hug your feet snugly, and fail to provide an appropriate toe-off are significant causes of wounds. You can ask a specialist to help you know the size of your feet and give you the fitting shoes. However, sometimes repeated injuries happen when runners change their running attitude or run intensively without having rest intervals.
33- The Shoe Upper Wears Down
If deterioration only appears in the upper part of your shoes while your soles are intact, the shoe size is unsuitable for you. Or you might get a new pair to avoid burning.
34- Wearing the Same Shoes for All Activities
Running sneakers should be worn for running only. For instance, if you want to do some kickboxing, cardio, aerobics, or something of the sort, the perfect type of shoe for you will be Cross-training shoes. If you are playing football or tennis, consider getting a training shoe, such as Nike Metcon, Reebok Nano, or No Bull Trainers. So, it is important to have different pairs that are suitable for each activity.
35- Poor Cushioning
Your cushioning system is tasked with protecting your feet against shocks and sharp debris. When your cushioning is worn down, you will feel every strike, and running will be extremely painful for you. To test your cushioning, start squeezing the sole to check whether it is springy or not.
36- Slippage and Sticking
Your little toe must lie a distance of about a thumb’s width from the forefront of your shoe. If your foot slips while you are running, this indicates that your shoe is too wide for your feet. Slippage also occurs when the shoe lacks proper traction on the floor, unlike sticking which occurs due to excessive traction.
37- Lack of Stability
Looking for a well-cushioned shoe is necessary for comfort; however, you might suffer from instability if your shoe is over-cushy. In addition, your shoe must have a perfect grip on the ground to keep your entire body balanced. Therefore, avoid wearing flimsy or loose shoes.
38- Patent Deterioration in one Part of the Shoe
If a particular area in your shoe looks too deteriorated, such as the inside part of the heel, the big toe, or the shoe’s bottom, this is a tell-tale sign that your shoe should be replaced. The wearing pattern is essential for determining these worn-out areas.
39- Reduced Bouncing or Springiness
The bouncing and flexible nature of the shoe is determined by the shoe’s material and cushioning system. Bouncing is produced by the foam between the shoes’ soles and your feet. Over the course of running, bouncing gets affected, and this foamy substance gets compressed. So, instead of absorbing shocks, your shoe will make you feel the aftermath of each strike you make, which will worsen your running performance. To check whether your shoe is bouncy, try to wear a minimalist shoe or run barefoot to see if there is a difference.
40- Your Sole feels Flat
When your shoe loses its springiness, it becomes flatter, which indicates that it is no longer bouncy and can no longer attenuate shocks. This will increase the risks of injuries and make you feel the impact of each stride. In this case, you need to buy a new pair of perfect running sneakers.
Is There Any Risk If I Wait Too Long Till I Replace My Shoe?
The short answer is Yes.
When your midsole loses its durability, your ankles, legs, and knees will start moving weirdly, which will cause you to suffer from muscle pain. Additionally, you will be less protected since your cushioning system is prone to break at any time. Your muscles will need to exert extra effort to put up with the road difficulties.
What Affects the Life of Running Shoes?
The lifetime of your shoe is governed by these important standards:
The surface you are running on is a decisive factor affecting your shoes’ lifespan. There is a suitable type of shoe for each terrain, whether roads, trails, or tracks. Therefore, always consider the terrain on which you run, whether it’s rocky or uneven, and check if your shoe is eligible for it or not. Otherwise, your shoe might not last for long.
Runners have varied running habits that influence their strike and the high-impact areas of their shoes. For example, there are front-runners, mid-runners, and heel-runners or strikers. If you can’t determine which type of these you are, get a pair of shoes you used before over a prolonged time and check which area of the three is impacted the most. Then, when you purchase a new one, check the specifications to know if your shoe fits your running style.
1) Forefoot Strikers: this is the most typical type of running style, namely hill runners. The effect of the strike appears under the biggest toe or towards the outer part of the shoe. This results in breaking the outsole, leaving the feet exposed.
2) Midfoot Strikers: The effect surfaces in the middle or under the ball of the feet as well as the forefront.
3) Heel Strikers: Runners who have prolonged rides are characterized by such type of running. According to experts, these runners are the most runners who replace their shoes regularly. As it appears from its name, the shoe wears off from its heels, which reduces the stability of the feet and the ankles. The shoe looks wholly clean, yet the heels are damaged, which causes falls and injuries. Heel striker is a common run style for long-distance road runners.
Although none of these styles is better than the rest, runners need to have a clear idea about their styles before buying new shoes.
Your measurements contribute a great deal to the lifespan of your shoes. Shoe brands tailor their shoes to accommodate the average runner with average weight and height. Therefore, if you are heavier than the average weight or taller than the average height, your shoes should feature specific options to keep you protected for long.
Type of Shoe
Lightweight racing flats are expected to lose their eligibility for being worn before standard shoes designed for roads. This is because racing flats are designed to feature a thin grip and stripped-down construction. As a result, the shoe isn’t as comfy as road shoes, and the soles are not deemed robust for extended usage. Perversely, off-road shoes are specifically tailored to interact with trails, so they are equipped with a thick cushioning system and tend to shoe extra durability and bouncing, for roads are generally more rigid than trails.
The time and distance you run for is another significant factor affecting your shoe’s life. So, consider how long your shoe stays wrapped around your foot. For instance, if you run for 15 miles weekly, your shoe will last longer than a person who runs for 150 miles per week. Also, using the same shoe for the gym, running, walking, and working will affect its lifespan.
Shoe brands diversify the materials they utilize in making shoes. This is most notable in the soles part, cushioning system, and grip. According to their robustness, foam and rubbers go through different deterioration phases. Moreover, sometimes the same company uses a wide range of materials to make varied types of models. The too cheap shoes usually comprise soft materials that lack durability and stability. However, some high-end shoes are not durable too.
How to Extend the Lifespan of Running Shoes?
There are some valuable tips to extend the life of running shoes. It will help you maintain your sneakers to feel and look great for as long as possible.
Only Wear Running Shoes When You Run
If your running shoe is comfy and feathery, you will be enticed to wear it even after you finish working out. However, excessive usage negatively affects the lifespan of your shoes. So, take them off once you finish exercising.
Wear The Right Running Shoes for The Right Purpose
Put on race running shoes for marathons or races, trail running sneakers on trails, and road running shoes on the pavement and road. All of these sneakers are mainly created for a purpose and surface.
Take Them Off the Right Way
It is highly advisable to untie the laces whenever you wear or remove the shoe. However, refrain from removing them while the laces are tied not to enlarge your shoe and make it feebler, which might break the heels of your shoe.
Stepping out of the shoe without untying the laces makes your shoe overstretch and lose its durability, namely in the heel section. Instead, try to sit down while you are undoing the laces to help them stay strong.
Keep Them Clean
Always remember to wipe your shoe to remove dirt, moisture, or mud. Remove the debris that your shoe gets while treading on the road. Avoid washing your shoe in the washing machine. Suffice by use a sponge and soapy water and put your shoe to dry in the air.
Always Air-Dry Your Shoes
Avoid using dryers after washing your shoes. Instead, just leave them in the open air to dry. The intensive heat of the dryer can harm your shoe material and break its soles.
Rotate Your Shoes
As mentioned before, using the same pair of shoes over extended periods can wreak havoc on the shoe material. Therefore, consider purchasing two sets of sneakers to ensure that your shoes get ample air to dry off between the runs. Also, choose a pair of shoes that suits your running terrain, such as trails, roads, and tracks.
Dry them After Use
Moisture always penetrates inside the shoes’ construction leading its glue to get weaker, making your shoe highly prone to breaks. So, make sure to dry your shoe once you finish your run.
Run in Comfort
Regular insoles in running sneakers are typically very basic. They do not usually support the whole surface of your feet. Boost your running comfort and eliminate the instability by putting in foam insoles that shape themselves entirely in the unique form of your foot.
This kind of insoles will easily fit in every type of running shoe, relieve tension on the ball of your foot, and prevent foot slippage in the shoe. In addition, they will absorb shocks and increase your balance.
Store Them Well
Running sneakers will usually need to be stored in a temperature-controlled area when they aren’t being worn. If you’ve ever unintentionally kept your running shoes outside, you find out how harsh the elements may be on them.
Even keeping your sneakers outside in a hot car or a freezing cold garage can destroy the rubber parts. These negative environmental effects can be avoided by always keeping in mind to bring your running sneakers inside.
Deodorize Them Regularly
After a while, you might see your shoes having a stinky odor. Because feet get sweaty during intense runs, it is better to deodorize your running sneakers to eliminate bad smells routinely.
Replacing your running sneakers at the perfect time is required for maintaining running performance and health. In this guide, we highlighted the most important indicators that you should take into consideration if you want to know whether your shoe is still worth wearing or not. Replacing your deteriorated shoe at the proper time will prevent you from injuries, infections, and falls.
If you take proper care of your running shoes, they will last longer. On the other hand, if you don’t give attention to your running sneakers, chances are they will wear out too soon and lose their protective and cushioning features.