Runners commonly ask how many miles will my shoes last, and how do I tell when my shoes need to be replaced? The general rule is shoes should be replaced every 300-500 miles. However, this saying is very general and offers little guidance.

Many factors go into determining the life of a running shoe. The surface you run on, your size and weight, running speed, weather conditions, number of runs per week, and how your foot hits the ground all cause varying amounts of wear on your shoes. Adding to the variables is the shoe itself. Not all shoes are created equal with differing materials and construction techniques.

Here are a few ideas that will help you gage when to change your shoes. Bigger, heavier runners are at a disadvantage when it comes to shoe durability. A 6-4, 250-pound male will generate more force in each step than a 100-pound female. This translates to fewer miles for the male when both wear the same shoe. This is the same reason that a heavy heel striker that may drag or scuff their heels will create more friction and wear out the soles of their shoes quicker. Also, a lighter, racing shoe is typically much less durable than a heavier, conventional trainer. The more often the shoe is worn, the faster it will wear out. Just like your body, the shoe’s rubber and foam need time to return to their normal position after a run.

Running shoes wear shows on the outsole, (black material on the bottom of the shoe) before the light colored cushioning element (midsole). Shoes should always be replaced with the outsole is worn away. The midsole is the strength of the shoe and where most of the cushioning takes place. As it ages, compression wrinkles form on the sides of the midsole. At this point, it is also time to buy another pair.

The best rule for replacing shoes is when a normal run results in post run pain or soreness that ordinarily would not be present; it is time to go shopping.



If you or someone you know is experiencing pain in their feet, the doctors at Coastal Podiatry Associates are available to help. The doctors have received extensive training in all aspects of the foot and can help you return to normal activity. To determine the best course of treatment contact any one of four offices at 843-449-FOOT (3668) or visit our website at

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