One thing all runners know for sure: it’s important to replace worn out sneakers. But something not every runner knows is: how to tell when their sneakers are truly done. Of course, there’s the age old mileage rule: we’ve all been told to replace shoes every 300-400 miles. But, unless you’re really good at tracking—or you log all your runs with a mileage app—it’s pretty easy to lose track. So, if you don’t know your total mile count and are looking for shoe replacement guidelines, consider this post our gift to you.

Four Signs your Sneakers Need Replacing 

  1. Start at the bottom. One good indicator of the health of your sneaker is the appearance of its sole. The base of your sneaker provides all your traction; it can help prevent slips when you’re running on slick or steep surfaces. If the treads are worn down, your shoes are no longer at their best. And that means it’s time for a new pair
  2. They aren’t supportive. Regardless of whether you’re a minimalist or maximalist runner, your sneakers will have some sort of internal cushioning when they’re brand new. Watch that cushioning carefully, and you’ll have a pretty clear idea of when it’s replacement time. As soon as those shoes feel les soft and cushioned than they did right after purchasing, it means they’re doing a worse job at protecting you from injury. Which, of course, means you should stop wearing them, even if they still look brand new on the outside.
  3. You’re having foot pain. If your feet hurt right after a run; if you’re suddenly experiencing heel pain; if you keep getting ingrown toenails; or if those nails are black and blue; these are all indicators that you’re in the wrong shoes. No matter how new they are, they need to be replaced right away—or at least relegated to walking shoe status.
  4. It’s been six months. We’re all busy people, especially those of us who need to fit regular runs into an already hectic weekly schedule. We don’t always have time to log our miles, or examine the soles of our shoes, or even take mental notes on the sneakers’ relative comfort level. But one thing we can all do, fairly easily? Write down the date we first purchased those sneakers, and mark your calendars for a date exactly six months later to begin looking for a new pair. When you stick to that schedule, you’re likely to never risk running in worn-out sneakers. And that’s good news for your training and  your feet!
Jordana White
Jordana Rothstein White