Remember: Running Shoe Turnover

Did you know:

  • You should swap out shoes at least every 500miles? Sometimes, depending on the shoes, it’s more frequent than that. Lighter weight shoes typically don’t last as long.
    • For example, I tally mileage on my Saucony Hurricanes. When I hit 350miles, I order a new pair (because I’ll probably get to 500 in the next week or two)
    • My Fastwitch 3s are my designated intensity-workout-only shoe. I try to minimize the mileage on these babies, and swap them out after ~4wks of training and 2-3 races. That’s about 150miles.
    • I try to race on fresher shoes that have been slightly broken in. 2-5 runs usually gets them there (just when the laces fit nice)
  • Not every shoe is right for you?
    • Some people need support. Some people don’t. To run in the wrong shoe can lead to injury. Visit your local running store and find out what shoe is best for you.
  • It’s important to let your shoes ‘refresh’ after a run?
    • The soles of your running shoes are likely made out of EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) which provides cushioning. It’s an elastomeric polymer, and it is typically happy to return to its original shape after being loaded. However, over time, EVA “packs out” because the little microscopic EVA foam gets compressed together to a point where it isn’t so happy to return to its original shape. If you let your shoes recover after a run, you give them more time to return to their original shape for your next run. It’s still not a good idea to try and get more than 500miles out of them, but the shoes hopefully won’t feel so dead when you’re out on your second run for the day if you’re in a different, “refreshed” pair. If you plan on doing 2-a-days, grab a second pair of shoes to rotate between.
  • you should store your shoes in a cool, dry, dark place?
    • UV can break down the EVA and suck the life out of your shoes. Keep them out of the sun (put them in a box or in a shaded area) and keep them cool (try not to keep them right by the heat vent for a long period of time) and you have a better chance of feeling good in the shoes through 3-400 miles.

I just ordered a new pair of racers for the Salt Lake City Marathon next month, the Saucony ProGrid Guides. They are a little lighter than the Hurricanes, but have more support than my lightweight trainers, the Fastwitch 3s. I am hesitant to use the FT3s for the full distance, open marathon. Last fall at the Columbus Marathon, I wore the Brooks ST3s and – although I went mega-fast – I fell apart biomechanically in the last five miles. I figure I need some more support, at least for now, to get me through the longer distance race.

I also ordered a replacement pair of the Saucony Hurricanes. I recently bought some of the ProGrid Omni 8s, and they just don’t do it for me. I feel sluggish and heavy… but that could be because I have been using them mostly for Ingot repeats. I think they allow my feet to pronate too much without being lightweight like my trainers. Nothing like trying them all, eh?


3 thoughts on “Remember: Running Shoe Turnover

  1. I wore Brooks STs in two marathons. Loved them in Boston; hated them in San Francisco. I think they made a HUGE difference in the marathon in terms of my legs not feeling so heavy towards the end of the race.

  2. Why should we replace shoes after 500 miles? As far as i know, there is no research that supports this. In fact, quite the opposite.

    I’ve been running in the same pair of Mizuno Wave Riders for 450+ miles. I did most of my long mileage training in a pair of Zoot training flats, though. Haven’t had any significant problems. Although it’s hard to tell, because I hurt my ankle in September, so any pain I have, I attribute to that. But maybe it’s related to running in worn out shoes.

    Always difficult, trying to figure out where the pain is coming from. Running in less worn shoes might help. Then again, it might make it worse.

    • Actually, some research has suggested that the life of the shoe is dependent on the amount of use its put under, and that fatigue of the material changes the stress distribution during locomotion (see Verdejo et al 2004 in Journal of Biomechanics, and Even-Tzur et al 2006 in Bio-Medical Materials and Engineering).

      Everyone is different; some people need minimal support, others need more stability.

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