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One of the most interesting particulars about running shoes or any athletic shoes is how long will a pair last and when should a pair be discarded for a new pair. Photo Contributed

Running Shoes: Care And Replacement

MADISON– Like the tires on your automobile, running shoes, too, must be checked for wear and tear and careful timing for replacement to help keep the remainder of your body in tip-top shape.

Even though running shoes will eventually wear out, a good pair is tough-but don’t last forever. Shoes take a beating under our feet, bake on the asphalt and get caked in dirt, not to mention sweat. Normally an athlete doesn’t want to send their favorite pair of shoes into early retirement, so it’s important to know when to say when.

If you keep track of the miles while running, a good high-quality pair of running shoes should be replaced between 300 and 500 miles. For an avid runner that’s around four to six months. There are those who have race-day shoes and can certainly last much longer than the everyday training shoes. Different brands and quality of shoes can deteriorate at different rates and many times the signs of wear aren’t easily visible.

“A person’s run gait can affect the number of miles a pair of shoes will handle as a hard-heel striker will get less miles than someone who lands on the forefoot,” said Dink Taylor owner of Fleet Feet Huntsville. “I suggest to log the miles you put on your shoes and keep up with it. Strava, which is a running app, has a place for your shoes so you can automatically track your miles on a pair of shoes.”

Many times the eyeball test will tell you all you need to know about the age of your shoes, but at other times the signs of worn out shoes are not as obvious. Many times your body will give you indications of when to say adios to a pair of shoes.

Signs of time for a change include:

  • Your shoes feel flat- foam in the shoes will lose some of its ability to rebound.
  • Nagging aches and pains- increased mileage can make you feel sore the next day, but if little pains persist, it might be time for a refresh.
  • Worn soles- if the soles sport bald patches and excessive wear, the shoes won’t serve you as well as a new pair.
  • Uneven wear- if shoes wear unevenly, it could mean you need a different type of shoes to better support your feet, so take those current shoes with you when you get fitted for a new pair.

“There are things to look for in your worn shoes,” added Taylor. “On the bottom of the shoe look at the outside of the heel and forefoot. If the shoe has worn through the blown rubber, it’s probably time to make a change. You can also feel of the forefront as a new shoe is firm while a worn shoe is very soft. Shoes wear just like tires on a car. The newer the treads, the better the run.”

One of the most important strategies of shoe care is having a constant plan to take care of the shoes you wear. It’s noted that proper care will cause a pair of shoes to last longer and allow greater miles. Here are some tips for proper care:

  • Own two pairs of shoes- rotating multiple pairs distributes the stress you put them through and all pairs will last longer.
  • Dry out- sweat or water, both can do damage to a pair of shoes, so it’s best to dry out your shoes to help keep them in top shape and many times rid the shoes of bacteria that many times will grow within the shoes.
  • Clean up- athletic shoes will most likely encounter dirt and mud within their lifespan. Dirt can be abrasive to the shoe’s upper, causing it to wear out prematurely.
  • Run on proper surface- road running shoes are made for pavement and trail running shoes are designed for just that-trails. Know which shoe is being used where.

“Keep your shoes inside and not outside in your garage,” warned Taylor. “As for cleaning, just lightly wash your shoes by hand in a sink and let air dry. Manufactures do not recommend using a washing machine.”

Running shoes help us to stay mentally and physically fit, but without the correct shoe and proper care of your shoes, it’s difficult to keep pace.

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