Should You Wear Running Shoes Outside of Running?

Should you wear running shoes outside of running?

Another common question I get after working in run specialty so long is: Should you wear running shoes outside of running?

Should you wear running shoes outside of running?

The short answer is: Yes, but if you wear your running shoes outside of running, they will break down much faster.

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? Not really.

As most blog readers know, I worked in run specialty for 7 years before moving from New Jersey to California. I guestimate I fit over 1000 people for shoes.

Personally, 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 running shoes outside of running:

Do You Want to Spend a Lot of Money on Running 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 anyway.  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 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.

How do You Know When To Replace Your Running Shoes?

If you 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 at work for a week, that is a lot more stress on shoes too. For instance, most nurses go through shoes faster than runners!

You can take your pair of running shoes to any shoe store, and they should be able to tell you if you need new ones. Looking at the rubber outsole is one component of the shoe, but most of the cushion is in the midsole.

The lifespan of a running 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 will break down differently versus a neutral, high cushioned shoe.
  • Where you are running: 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. If you run on softer surfaces, you will probably get more mileage.
  • Running gait: 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 me 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 will last for 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 you haven’t done anything differently and your legs feel more tired,, it’s probably the shoes.  I haven’t kept track of the mileage on my shoes in years. When the running shoes stop feeling good, it’s time to replace them.


The bottom line is: Yes, you can wear your running shoes for everything, and it will be more comfortable. However, if you wear running shoes outside of running, they will last less time.

Other Running Store Posts:

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. 

If you want to learn more about running shoes in general, I wrote an ebook.

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


  1. Good point! I usually wear running shoes to work when I get a new pair. Then the new pair is dedicated to only running.

  2. I’m like you — when my running shoes have come to the end of their life (or I just don’t like them), they become shoes to walk the dogs in.

    Although that begs the question, and I have always wondered this: if they’re at the end of their running life, are they then really okay for walking?

  3. I do the same thing…. I try to keep an older pair for other stuff… although sometimes by the time they get to 300 miles they are pretty beat up!

  4. I do the same thing as you- wear my older, retired, running shoes for general walking around or gym. But it amazes me at just how many runners wear their running shoes for all workouts- including things like spin class, cardio on the machines at the gym, and even lifting. Also, some of those other cross training activities might be better in specific shoes rather than running shoes.

    I will say, if I am running errands after a run I just have my running shoes on. I won’t change shoes post-run just to buy groceries after a run or hang out, something like that.

  5. I used to be very good about having two pairs of “running only” sneakers, and rotating them to daily wear as they hit 300 ish miles each. Since getting married and having kids my budget is less forgiving and I walk a lot more than I run (running with the jogging stroller bothers my back and knees — I think pushing 75 pounds of toddlers messes with my form), so I haven’t been as good about it. I’m that mom that never takes off my workout clothes and running shoes unless I’m at church or somewhere else requiring a skirt, so I’m sure I wear out my shoes faster. I need to get back in this habit!

    Randomly, I think I went to the same college as you — I linked to your running anniversary post from HRG and noticed the Bears uniform. It’s so weird to see that logo after 16 years! 🙂

  6. That’s exactly what I do with my old running shoes–“retire” them for everyday use. I walk around a lot (to work, for errands, etc.), and I love wearing old running shoes. They are comfy and get the job done. 🙂

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