Should You Wear Running Shoes Outside of Running?

Another common question we get at my local running store is:

Should you wear running shoes outside of running?

The short answer is: Yes, but they will break down much faster. If you wear them outside of running, you’ll find yourself replacing your running shoes more often. Many articles and blog posts are telling you: only wear your shoes for running.  It is true, and if you want to save money and the lifespan of the shoe, then you should only wear them for running.

But is there anything wrong with wearing them to do daily activities? No.

I use running shoes that already have reached their running life span to walk around in them.  Once I’ve run 300-400 miles in them, they are retired to walking around (or working), gym or training shoes.

Here are some things to think about if you wear your shoes outside of running:

Do You Want to Spend a Lot of Money on Shoes?

You can get a cheaper pair of shoes to “kick around and do errands in.”  Heck, most running shoes aren’t the lookers of the shoe world.  It’s easy to find a cuter and more fashionable shoe to walk around in.  Yes, I work at a running store, but I’m not going to lie and say running shoes are trendy and cute.  That isn’t their function.

Are You Injured?

Specific injuries need to have a supportive shoe, or you cannot get heal.  If you’re suffering from an injury such as plantar fasciitis, you need to be in a well-cushioned shoe all of the time to allow healing.  It’s essential to have a supportive shoe if you are coming off any injury. Many people prefer shoes with more cushion while injured, such as the Asics Gel Nimbus.

How do You Know When To Replace Your Shoes?

If you do use your running shoes outside of running, know that you have to take into account the mileage you wear them outside of running.  You might have only run 20 miles on a specific pair of running shoes, but if you have worn them for 8 hours a day for at work for a week, that is a lot more stress on shoes too. You can take your pair of running shoes to any shoe store, and they should be able to tell you. The rubber outsole is one component of the shoe, but most of the cushion is in the midsole.

The lifespan of a shoe depends on several factors:

  • Type of shoe: Minimalist shoes last less time.  It’s less of a shoe. Lower heel to toe drops as well as racing shoes, generally last less. Shoes with medial posts or motion controlled shoes with break down differently than a neutral, high cushioned shoe.
  • Type of Running you are doing: The terrain and where you use the shoe, matters. Like road running, if you are walking on the concrete ground, the shoe will last less.
  • Running Style: If you strike or hit the ground somewhere strongly (whether it’s the heel or the forefront), your shoe is going to last less. This includes myself as I tend to burn through the front of shoes quickly.
  • How Much You Use Them: Think about your running…realistically that is only an hour or two a day. If you are spending 10 hours a day in the same shoe, they are going to last far less time.  If you wear your shoe every day for errands too, it’s going to last about three months.

For the most part, shoes last between 300-400 miles.  I always tell people if your legs feel less tired or you are getting aches and pains and haven’t done anything differently; it’s probably the shoes.

The bottom line is: Yes, you can wear your running shoes for everything, and it will be more comfortable. However, your shoes will not last as long.
In case you missed any of the previous weeks Running Store and Training:
Thoughts While Working in the Running Store
Should Race in Racing Flats?
Are You Getting Enough Protein for Running?
Why 5ks are the Best
How Alternating Shoes Can Benefit Your Running:
How to Transition in Minimalist Running Shoes

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Question for you: Do you wear your running shoes outside of running?