When to Change Running Shoes?

Like many runners worldwide, you might be wondering if it is about that time to let your favorite pair of shoes go. Many people believe in sentimental value and superstitious propositions, which stop them from getting rid of old running shoes, causing them various problems. I guess we have all been there, and the main question is when is enough? 

In today’s article, we will be looking at a few reasons you should consider when deciding to change your running shoes. Whether or not you are a professional athlete or just someone who runs for their fitness, you most likely struggle with this dilemma. Hopefully, towards the end of the article, you might have some idea whether your running shoes are still good or it is time to let them go. Let us get going. 

They are uncomfortable.

I am pretty sure that when you purchased this pair of shoes, you tried them on, and they were very comfortable. You walked around the store with them, and you felt like you could climb a mountain without a moment’s notice. 

However, now you might be having to think twice because sometimes when you wear them, they do not feel the same. You will notice that when shoes now suffer from excessive wear, they begin to feel uneven. This unevenness can be pretty uncomfortable, and it can be either at the back or the front of the shoe. 

This can even alter how you walk and can be dangerous to continue for long periods. The best way to determine if your shoes are now uncomfortable is for you to go out and try on new ones. If there is a significant difference in how you feel when wearing a brand-new pair of shoes, then it is a good signal that you should change your running shoes. 

This is because your shoes might be too small, meaning that you have outgrown them or there has been excessive wear at different parts leading to a lack of balance. This lack of balance can be pretty dangerous because, in the long term, it could cause you to trip and hurt yourself unnecessarily. 

Chronic injuries

If your body is constantly suffering from chronic stress injuries every time you run, then this is another good sign that it is time to change your running shoes. You will often find that these injuries present themselves in the form of fatigue, shin splints, and general muscle pain in the leg area. 

Ankle pain is one of the number one problems you can expect to encounter when your shoe needs to be changed. Strained calves will also be a good one to look out for. This is due to the poor shock absorption that the shoes will now be providing as you run.

As the shoes get old, the bottom of the shoe can begin to wear out, meaning that your ligaments and tendons will have less support to protect them from the terrain. This is even worse for people trying to lose weight and who do not have strong joints already. 

It might be all fun and games if you are already a top runner; however, if you are trying to get back to full strength, then chronic injuries will only set you back on your goals. This is a clear indication that a change is needed, and you will often notice that when you buy a new pair of shoes after suffering these chronic injuries, the pain will go away.  

Usual running terrain

The places where you usually run will have a significant impact on the shoes that you wear. Different terrains can offer users improved or decreased lifespans for the shoes that they used to go running with. 

If you are, for example, running on grass, it is unlikely that you will need to change your shoes after a brief period because there is not much in grass that can damage or wear out your shoe very quickly. You, therefore, can expect that your shoes will be able to deliver an increased mileage to you if you are running on grass. 

Other areas such as tar and gravel will undoubtedly mean that you can only use your shoes for a shorter period than otherwise. This is because if you spend a lot of time running on hot tar, then your boots will very quickly wear out.

 In this regard, you will not receive adequate ankle support through the usual shock absorption mechanisms. You will find yourself out of balance. Therefore, it is a good indicator for you to know where you are always running to estimate when it is an excellent time to change a pair of running shoes. 

Foot strike style 

Similarly, the terrain influences your shoes’ balance and evenness, so does the foot strike style you run with. There are three different types of food strike styles that you can run with, and each of them impacts differently on the shoe you wear. 

If you run with a front foot strike style, then it is likely that your shoes will begin to wear out from the front. The front of the shoe has the least padding. There is not as much shock absorption. This means that these shoes will not deliver chronic injuries quite quickly and can probably sustain you for a more extended period. 

If you run with a rearfoot strike, then this means that your shoe will begin to break from the ankle side of the shoe. This is the area with the most padding, meaning that you will begin to suffer chronic injuries quite quickly. Therefore, if you run with this style, you will be more likely to change your running shoes more frequently. 

When your shoes have no tread

Tread or lack of it is a telling sign. Your running shoes have a limited amount of mileage. The tread at the bottom of your shoe will gradually wear down until it hits the ground with every step – meaning you’re going to be getting worse and worse support as well as less traction for your feet.

When the sole becomes significantly worn

The fabric that you rest underfoot will also start to wear down over time, which means that your shoe is becoming thinner and thinner between the rubber (on the outsole) and you.

When your shoes have no traction

When the soles are wearing down and become smooth, they will not activate the foot’s natural mechanisms for gripping the surface and cause you to lose traction.

When your shoes have no shock absorption

Without suspension, your feet will be hurting when running in a way that will force you to slow down, potentially causing injury if you do not change shoes. Shock absorption is important in promoting good gait mechanics, which reduces stress on joints and muscles.

When your shoes feel like slippers on concrete

No support or cushioning left in the shoe will mean that running on any harder surface will be painful. This is a clear indicator that you need new shoes.

When your shoes have no support

Support is important for your feet. Over time your feet and ankles may become weak and unstable, but this can be combatted by having well-supported shoes. Refer to the shoe’s internals for support while you’re buying them, as these are the most important parts of a running shoe.

When you get a blister on the bottom of your foot

Sand takes a great deal of time to wear down, especially in running shoes, so that the foot is normally supposed to be on the top part. When you get a blister on your foot, however, you should change your shoes. It’s not going to be pretty for you when it bursts.

When you feel more pain than usual

You can feel the pain in some parts of your body or legs, and they are not returning to normal within a few days or just after running.


In conclusion, you must take into consideration several factors when deciding when to change your running shoes. The first important one that you must consider is how they feel. This is the first point of call because no one should run in uncomfortable shoes, even if they are not you. 

If you are constantly receiving injuries, then this is another indicator that it is time for the update. The last two factors are to do with the style in an area that you often run in. If you are running aggressively in harsher environments, it is more likely your shoes will change much faster.

Hi there. This is Clare. Dave and I manage this site. We are outdoor enthusiasts. Most of the content is about products that we love using or have researched.
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