Top 5 Clues it’s Time for New Shoes

March 30, 2016 Posted By: Barbara Mitchell


Running Shoes as they age are like an old friend. Familiar, comfortable, reliable. Reliable? Not so much … Here are 5 clues you know it’s time to Change your shoes regularly.

  1. You may have heard about the 500km (~310 mileJ) rule for shoe life. It’s both a truth and a lie. It all depends on your weight, biomechanics, & type of shoe you wear. If  you are of a medium to lighter weight runner and you wear a neutral or stability shoe then this timeline is accurate. If you are on the heavier side or wear a performance shoe or racing flat, you should be changing them prior to 500km. More like 350-400km.
  2. You are not able to “see” the wear and tear on the shoe. Most people say “But they look ok”, “My soles are not worn out” etc. Unfortunately, we are not able to see what’s going on in the shoe that easily. It is the midsole material or what’s under (well really on top of!), the outsole that changes the shoe’s performance. Therefore, it is best to determine wear by keeping track of mileage or months (if your mileage is pretty steady from week to week). I would always change my shoes at 4 months when I wore a lightweight shoe (Wave Sayonara or Wave Hitogami).
  3. Waiting for an injury is a bad way to determine you need new shoes! One of the signs of needing new shoes is strange pains start to crop up. My husband used to always know he needed new shoes when his shins would start to hurt. Try not to use injury as a time to realize they need replacing. It doesn’t always do the trick to heal your injury that quickly! It’s far better to be proactive in this department, to prevent injuries from happening by making sure what is underfoot is giving you the best chance at injury free running.
  4. Buy the proper shoe for your foot type and running style. I have a very wide foot, particularly on one side. I have found Men’s shoes (or a D width) fits me best, so that I don’t need to cut holes in brand new shoes! Make sure you are buying your shoes at the end of the day because feet do tend to swell. It’s a good idea to buy them after a longer run, so you know how they may feel as a run progresses. Buy according to the amount of cushioning or stability your foot type requires, or by what type of runner you are. If you are a big heel striker, you may need more stability as you roll through the full gait cycle. If you are a mid foot to forefoot runner, even if you pronate excessively, you may be able to get away with a more neutral, cushioned shoe.
  5. Don’t fix what isn’t broken. Before I fell in love with Mizuno shoes, I would see what else was out there each time I needed new shoes. Always the type to like variety, I would make switches always thinking maybe there was something better out there. If you are running well, without injuries, or have been running in a shoe for a while, why change???? Yes, it’s true, sometimes shoe companies make major changes to your favorite shoe other than color and it doesn’t feel right. To that I say, go ahead and experiment. But otherwise, if you are happy with the way a shoe fits and feels on your foot, stick with it. For me, the combination of ground feel plus some cushion without feeling like I’m running on a pillow works best.  For that reason, Mizuno shoes are exactly what I need.

Moral: if you can’t remember when you last changed your shoes, and have to think about it for more than a minute, it’s time to go get a new pair!

See you on the roads.


Elise is a long time competitive amateur triathlete and Physiotherapist with 20+ years experience treating runners and athletes of all kinds.

She also has an online coaching business for runners and triathletes looking to reach that next distance goal or PB.  She is very passionate about biomechanics in running and does gait analysis and shoe recommendations as part of her practice.  Elise also has a self admitted running shoe and apparel fetish. She is mom to an active 10 year old girl and is married to a man who also runs and races. Follow me on twitter (@eliseyanover) or email me ( if you have any questions!


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