5 Signs That It’s Time to Retire Your Running Shoes

5 Signs That It’s Time to Retire Your Running Shoes

It can be hard to know when to replace your running shoes. Maybe you don’t want to say goodbye to your favorite pair, or perhaps the extra expense is causing you to put off shopping for new kicks. However, running shoes have a limited lifespan and using them past their prime can put you at risk for injury. Here are five signs that it’s time to replace your running shoes.


  1. Exercising begins to hurt

If you notice any new aches or pains in your hips, knees or feet, it’s time to go shoe shopping. The foam cushioning in the sole of your running shoes provides support. Once it wears down, the shoes should be replaced to avoid discomfort or injury.

  1. You pass 300-500 miles

Thanks to technology, it’s easy to track how many miles you’ve run in a pair of shoes.

Most exercise shoes are built to last about 300-500 miles, but this is only a rough estimate. What kind of terrain you exercise on, your stride, your weight and other factors can cause your shoes to wear out faster. If you’re experiencing discomfort or notice that your shoe is wearing out, you should still replace them even if you haven’t reached this mileage guideline.


  1. Your shoes become flimsy

Try the twist test: hold your shoe at the heel and the toe and twist in opposite directions. If your shoe twists easily, it can’t be providing you with much support. Running shoes that provide adequate support will feel firm and won’t twist much at all.


  1. The treads are worn down.

Just like the tires on your car, the treads of your shoe wear down with use. If you continue to use them once the treads have worn down, you risk falling due to less traction. The treads of the shoes usually last longer than the cushioning so if the treads are thinning, you can bet your cushioning is no longer doing its job.


  1. You only own one pair.

It can be beneficial to own at least two gym shoes. If you engage in different kinds of exercise, like trail running and cross-training, it’s best to buy different shoes that are specially designed for each of those activities. Not only will you receive better support, you’ll also increase the longevity of each pair of shoes. Even if you only stick to one form of exercise, you should still keep two pairs of shoes in your closet. Switching between two or more pairs allows extra time for the cushioning to recover which will help prolong the life of your shoes.


Using your gym shoes when they are worn out can cause many different injuries such as plantar fasciitis, ankle instability and heel pain. If you experience any persistent pain or discomfort that does not resolve once you buy new exercise shoes, it’s important to seek medical attention from a reliable podiatrist. A good doctor can identify your problem and help you get back to your best self.