One day you’re pounding the pavement, putting in the miles, and the next, you’re feeling more than usual pain in the areas that absorb the typical impacts caused by running. Running related injuries typically start from the ground and work their way up through the body. Ankles, shins, knees, hips, and the lower back are all common and problematic areas that absorb the impact from our attempt to plodding along. No matter the age, gender, or running style, nobody is immune to these running-related injuries, making it even more important to listen to pay attention to your shoes, especially as they, your shoes, age.
Running shoes, also known as trainers, are governed for approximately 300 miles of use per pair. This estimate is based on a 150-pound body, so the aging of your shoes might change if you are lighter, in which your shoes will last longer, or heavier, in which they won’t last quite as long. A quick inspection of your shoe might be telling – is the tread over-worn and/or has the shoe lost its cushion?
Typically, the bottom of the shoe is most worn on the heal and lateral (outside) side of the shoe. Comparing with the medial (inside) side of the shoe might raise further awareness and insight as to how your foot strikes the ground, and how much mileage you might have left on your pair of shoes, if any at all. A general rule of thumb is if the tread is level with the sole of the shoe at any part of its surface, it’s time for a new set of kicks.
Another way that a shoe may lose its integrity is if the cushion becomes rigid through 24/7 use. If your shoes are only used for running, then the cushion may outlast the tread. However, if the shoes are worn more frequently (i.e., to school, practice, leisure play, around the house, etc.), then the cushioning of the shoe could become more rigid than your feet prefer, leading to potential issues, or injuries that trickle through the feet/foot and up through the body.
Personally, when my shoes lose their tread, they go into retirement. Because they’ll have plenty of cushion left, I’ll then use the worn shoes for school and leisure activities. My rule of thumb: my running shoes are for running and my retired shoes are for everything else. It might drive you bananas seeing multiple sets of shoes scattered throughout the house, but chalk it up to one of two things: 1) feel blessed to have active, healthy children, and 2) you, or the person(s) with the dispersed shoes has a greater chance of a healthier body.