Whether you are an avid runner, walker, or just enjoy an occasional jog, having a good pair of running shoes are the most important tool. Shoes don’t last forever and once the soles wear down, the risk of injury increases. Since no one wears their shoes the same amount of time or has the same type of running behaviors, there is no standard amount of time a pair of shoes will last. To help determine if you need a new pair of shoes, here is a guide to consult.

General Guidelines

Most experts recommend changing running shoes every 350 to 500 miles. For many runners, this means buying a new pair every 6 to 12 months. While some may track their mileage, not everyone is that dedicated to keeping a record. Instead, many watch for visible signs of wear like cracks, rips, creasing, and uneven soles before replacing them.

Lifestyle & Activity Level

Runners training for a marathon will go through shoes faster than the weekend runner because of their higher activity level. Terrain also matters. Treadmills and ellipticals will cause the least amount of wear on shoes than pavement, but trails are even harder on shoes. When buying shoes, know your lifestyle and activity level when purchasing. There are shoes designed to hold up well on trails that cost a bit more, but they will hold up better than other shoes.

Another factor to consider is running style. If you have flat feet or pronate, there are shoes and inserts to consider too. Runners that are muscular or heavier set should also replace shoes faster because the soles will wear down faster with more weight. Not sure what shoes are best? Talk to your foot doctor.

Listen to Your Body

Once the soles can’t support the body properly, your body starts to feel it. When running shoes need to be replaced, your body will tell you with muscles pains, shin splints, sore knees, and achy ankles. These problems can start off small, but without treatment and a better pair of shoes, they can escalate quickly. Do not ignore aches and pains. They are your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong.

Consult a Professional

It is important to consult a podiatrist for all your foot and ankle needs. If you are experiencing pain when you run or would like an opinion on running shoes, we can help. While some problems can be solved with a simple internet search, it is important to consult a doctor for foot and ankle care when needed. A podiatrist can help you know whether the root of your problems can be solved with buying a new or different pair of shoes or if having special orthotics made for your feet is the answer.