How to Tell You Need New Running Shoes

If you run more than a few months, then chances are you’re faced the runner’s question: When I should buy new shoes?

First, it’s not every 400 miles.  That is a ballpark answer, but it differs for every single person.  Thinking out loud, some people can get 1000, and some people get 200.  It depends on the individual.  Don’t immediately get rid of your shoes at 400 miles if you still feel good…

While chit chatting with The Dumb Runner, via twitter, I realized how common of a question it was!

The Short Answer of Replacing Shoes:

If you hurt and haven’t done anything differently in your training, it’s probably the shoes.

The Long Answer:

There is no scientific proof that running shoes should be retired after 400 miles.  Four hundred miles is the average, but many factors play a role such as:

  • Where you run (harder ground and cold can break down a shoe faster)
  • Your weight and how hard you hit the ground (causes the materials to break down quicker)
  • Your Form: If your form hits at exact points, you’ll break down those points on the shoes much faster. For instance, I land very far on my toes, but because I put a lot of pressure in a tiny pinpointed area of a shoe, my shoes break down the quickest there.  Sure half of the shoe is usable, but it’s not the half I use.

So Here are Some Ways to Determine if you’re Running Shoes have Lost their Cushion: 

First, you’re googling: have my running shoes lost their cushioning?  If you’re asking the internet and unsure, then your shoes have probably lost their cushioning…  

But here are Some Other Ways:

You’ve Run a Lot in the Shoes:

If you’ve spent at least 6 months in a single pair of shoes, they are probably reaching their limit.

If you can’t remember, a good way is to write the date on the side of the shoes.  It’s unnecessary to calculate the exact mileage of every pair of shoes you own. By knowing the date you bought them, you should be able to roughly estimate how many miles you’ve run in them.  401 miles versus 399 does not matter…

Your Body Hurts and You Haven’t Done Anything Differently:

As indicated earlier, if you’ve done nothing different but your body aches, and nothing feels good, your shoes are probably worn out.

You Can Visibly Twist Your Shoes:

Your running shoes shouldn’t be flexible. If you if you can bend and twist them, then they have probably lost their cushioning.  Even brand new racing flats are hard to twist and bend.

You Flip Your Shoes Over and Visibly See Tread Worn Out:

If you flip your shoe over and see a hole in it or worn through the tread, it’s probably worn out.  This is what most people envision as a “worn out shoe,” but just because you can’t visibly see wear marks doesn’t mean your shoes aren’t worn out.

So now what?

As someone who works in a running specialty store, I always recommend getting fitted for shoes.  Your feet and body change.  That being said, if the shoe has worked for you and the model is the same there is no sense in changing.

Every year styles are updated and changed.  This could mean they fit differently, sizing is different, or they just “feel” different.  Updates typically work for the majority of runners, but that doesn’t mean 100%.

I will say, current styles and models of shoes are never any cheaper online.  Older styles of shoes might be cheaper but they will also last less time.  If a shoe sits in a warehouse for long periods of time, it’s more likely to break down quickly.

Hopefully, you are able to get as many miles out of your running shoes as possible (staying healthy of course).

Other shoe related posts:
Factors You Never Knew Played a Role in Your Running Shoes
How to Choose the Best Running Shoes (For You!)
Should You Wear Running Shoes Outside of Running?
How Alternating Shoes Can Benefit Your Running:

Question for you: How often do you replace your running shoes?

 

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How to Choose the Best Running Shoes (For You!)

As someone who works in a running shoe store, I can tell you I’ve personally fit about 1000 people for running shoes, and I’ve watched hundreds more be fit too.

Searching for your own personal shoes can be tough.  What do you look for?  How do you know when they are “right”?

When searching for running shoes, I always advise people to get fitted at their local running store.  Thinking out loud, people that work in a running store have seen dozens of brands, styles, and companies. Plus they know shoes well.  That being said, you know your feet.  You know what feels most comfortable.

Most people come in and have no idea what to look for in a running shoe. 

The short answer: Does it feel good? 

Yes, then it’s the right shoe for you.

No?  Then it’s not the right shoe for you.

The Long Answer:

Here are some important details you should look for in shoes.

Size (Length): 

I cannot emphasize this enough.  Do not buy your shoes too small.  During the day, your feet can swell and lengthen anywhere from a half-full size.  This is magnified during running!  Always make sure there is a thumb’s width of space between your biggest toe and the end of the shoe.

Yes, your feet lengthen over time and age so make sure you get your measured frequently.  After putting your shoes on, make sure you can wiggle all of your toes.  If you can’t the shoe is too tight or too narrow.  This brings us to point number 2.

Size (Width): 

The width of a shoe is one of the most underlooked aspects of a shoe.  Most running specialty stores carry at least wide if not double wide!  Do not be scared to go into a wider shoe.  If you are getting holes on the side of your shoe from your pinkie toe, this could be a sign the shoe is too narrow.  Having extra room is always better than not enough.  I never knew I needed a wide until working at the store.  Now, I love it.

Heel: 

In any running shoe, your heel should feel both snug and secure.  It should never feel tight.  If you feel as though you are “slipping,” lace your shoe to the final eyelet. This will you’re your heel more into place.  Some shoes are cut lower than others but make sure you’re comfortable in the cut of the back too.

The heel should never feel tight, but there can be a little bit of movement.  If the heel feels uncomfortable in the store, then it won’t feel good while running.

Feel:

You can be fit into the appropriate shoe but it doesn’t feel good, it doesn’t.  How a shoe feels to you is one of the most important aspects of the shoe.  You want a shoe that feels natural.  You don’t want a shoe that “you’ll have to get used too”.  Don’t get a shoe to alter to your stride because that can create many more issues.  Running Stores recommend taking the shoe for a quick run in the store.  That initial few steps often can tell you an immediate yes or no.  Also, most running stores have an exchange policy to work with you.

With so many different shoes out there, it can be hard to figure out which one is “best for you”.  Remember, there is no right or wrong answer but only what feels good and keeps you injury free.

Other Running Store Topics:
Thoughts While Working at a Running Store
How to Get the Most Shopping at a Running Specialty Store
Should You Wear Running Shoes Outside of Running?
How to Find the Perfect Pair of Running Shoes
There is no Perfect Running Shoe

Questions for you:
What is your current favorite running shoe?
When was the last time you bought running shoes?

Brooks Ghost 10 Shoe Review

In the Spring, I ran in the Brooks Ghost 9, and it was one of my favorite shoes of 2017.  I ended up running the entire 300-400 miles, and it was replaced in my rotation with other models including the Glycerin 14 and Launch 4.

To be honest, the Brooks Ghost 10 was one of my most anticipated updated shoes!  Brooks is not paying to me review their shoes.

Working in the running store, I can tell you the Brooks Ghost is one of the most consistent shoes on the market. If you like the 1…you’ll probably like the 2 and the 5 and the 10. I like the Ghost 9, and I also like the Ghost 10.

Most of the update from the 9 to 10 is in the midsole.  The Ghost 10 introduces a new two-piece midsole design.  It makes it more fluid for running and able to accommodate many different foot strikes evenly (IE: whether you run heel to toe, on your toes on somewhere in the middle).

The updated Ghost 10 also has less seems with minimal stitching and overlays. For someone with wider feet, like myself, nothing rubs.  If you have bunions or a wider forefront, you’ll probably appreciate this as well.

Fit:

The Ghost has a narrow heel and wide toe box which is the ideal shape for many people’s feet.  It hugs the arches appropriately and for the most part, fits true to size.  It’s been hard finding shoes that do fit true to size recently, plus everyone’s foot shape is slightly different (including your left and right foot).

Finding a shoe that accommodates both feet can be a challenge.  The Ghost has plenty of space.  I wore a regular size 10 in the Ghost 9 and wear a regular size 10 in the Ghost 10.

Ride:

With the included new two piece and fluid midsole, the shoe is much more responsive to where you need the cushion.  For many people, they benefit from a much softer heel.  For myself, I benefit from a much softer and well-cushioned forefront.

How can the shoe be so adaptive to so many foot types? Brooks uses a unique Cushion Material called “BioMoGo DNA foam.”  It’s essential, like memory foam.  It molds to your feet and cushions you where you need it. Out of any brand, the cushioning is the most adaptable to your stride.   It’s soft, light weight and well cushioned.

It’s soft, light weight and well cushioned.  I’ve run speed workouts but also long runs in the Ghost.  Ideally, I like to do my easy runs and long runs in the shoe though.  Since I’m not running a lot, I do the majority of it in the Brooks Ghost 10 right now.

In summary, I like the Brooks Ghost and think it’s a great shoe.  The updates from the Ghost 9 to the Ghost 10 have only enhanced the fit.

Current Rotation:
Brooks Ghost 10 (any run)
Brooks Glycerin 15 (Review to come! any run)
Hoka Bondi 5

Other Shoe Related Posts:
Should You Wear Running Shoes Outside of Running?
How Alternating Shoes Can Benefit Your Running:
Five Secrets about Buying Running Shoes
How to Find the Perfect Pair of Running Shoes
How to Get the Most Shopping at a Running Specialty Store

Question for you:

What is your favorite running shoe?  Has it changed through the years? 

 

36 Pairs of Running Shoes Later

During the last year, I’ve run in a lot of shoes.  Since I work at a running store, I’m able to see and try new shoes.  Typically I only try shoes I think I will like.  Why would I waste time, injury, and money on a shoe I probably wouldn’t like?

Thinking out loud, I thought it would be fun to look back at all of the shoes I’ve run in since May 2016.  That and I needed to clean out my closet.

Brooks:
Brooks Ghost
Brooks Glycerin 
Brooks Launch 3
Brooks Launch 4
Brooks Pureflow (review to come when I get back to running again)

Saucony:
Saucony Ride 9
Saucony Zealot ISO 2
Saucony Freedom ISO 
Saucony Triumph ISO 2
Saucony Type A (Racing Flat)

Asics
Asics Nimbus 19

Hoka:
Hoka Clifton 3
Hoka Bondi 5

adidas:
adidas SuperNova

New Balance:
New Balance Fresh Foam Zante

Nike: 
LunarGlide 8

Mizuno:
Mizuno Wave Enigma 6

Including racing flats, it ended up being 36 pairs of shoes.  Most shoes had between 200-400 miles on them.

Favorite Shoes:

Brooks Ghost, Glycerin, and Saucony Freedom.  This particular year, all three shoes were great options.  I felt as though the Brooks Ghost fit my foot the best.

Most Surprising Shoe (Positive):

I didn’t think I would like the Nike Lunarglide or Brooks Launch as much as I did. The Lunarglide went through a substantial update which allowed those needing a neautral shoe to run successfully in it.

Before the Brooks Ghost 9, I hadn’t had success in any Brooks shoes. Both shoes were great, and I saw both of those to the end of their lifespan.

adidas SuperNova (Negative):

I thought I would like the Supernova because I liked the Energy Boost. The SuperNova felt good for shorter runs, but my feet would ache (because of the width) for longer runs.  I logged less than 100 miles in it before deciding it wasn’t getting any better.

Longest Lasting Shoe:

adidas are supposed to the last the longest.  Realistically, I know they do, however, due to the width I haven’t seen any pair I’ve tried to it’s full potential of 700 miles.

Shortest Lasting Shoe:

Any racing flat will last less around 100 miles.  The Saucony Type A was no exception!

Total Shoes (including flats): 36

Questions for you:
Which running shoes are currently in your shoe rotation?
How many pairs of shoes did you run in this year?

Running Related Posts

Recently a reader sent an email and asked if I could put together a list of articles I’ve written recently about running shoes and training.  Thinking out loud, none of the articles are “new”, but it makes a lot of sense to have them all compiled into one spot.

Instead of doing a Running Store post this week, I thought I would get all of the posts together in one spot.  As always, if you have a question about shoes, the running store, or anything else feel free to ask.  I’m not an expert or professional but I do like running and working in a running store.

Recent Shoe Reviews:

Adidas Energy Boost
Adidas Supernova

Asics Nimbus 19

Brooks Ghost 9
Brooks Glycerin 14
Brooks Launch 4

Hoka Clifton 3
Hoka Bondi 5 

New Balance Zante

Saucony Freedom ISO
Saucony Zealot ISO 2

Important Shoe Related Topics:

There is no Perfect Running Shoe

Running Shoe Reviews Are (Mostly) Worthless

Running Shoe Specific Topics:

Five Secrets about Buying Running Shoes
How Alternating Shoes Can Benefit Your Running
Should You Wear Running Shoes Outside of Running?
Should You Race in Racing Flats?
How to Transition into Minimalist Running Shoes

Training Posts:

Are Losing Toenails a Runners Rite of Passage?
How to Prepare for Running in the Heat: 
Why 5ks are the Best
How to Race Well
How to Race in Unfavorable Conditions
How to Run in the Heat

Running and Nutrition:

Protein and Running

Other:

Thoughts While Working in a Running Store

There you have it!  As always if you have any questions or comments, feel free to ask.  I’ve gotten a couple questions regarding nutrition (something I’m still trying to figure out) as well as fun things to do outside of running that I’ll be chatting about soon too!

Questions for you:

What is a fun fact about your job?

What is one thing you enjoy about the sport of running?

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.  There are many articles and blog posts telling you: only wear your shoes for running.  It is definitely 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.

Thinking out loud, 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) 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?

Certain 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 important to have a supportive shoe if you are coming off any injury.

So How do You Know When To Replace When You Use Them all of the Time:

If you do use your running shoes, know that you have to take into account the mileage you wear them outside of running.  You might have only run 20 miles in the shoe, 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.

The lifespan of a shoe depends on several factors:

  • Type of shoe: Minimalist shoes last less time.  It’s less of a shoe.
  • Running Style: If you strike 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. Gage when to replace your shoes, especially if you regularly run and then head out on errands wearing the same shoes.  If you wear your shoe every day for errands too, it’s going to last about 3 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
Question for you: Do you wear your running shoes for everything?

How Alternating Shoes Can Benefit Your Running:

One of the most asked questions I get while working in a running store, is: “do I need two pairs of shoes”?

The short answer is, you don’t need anything… 

But this post isn’t about the short answer.

Thinking out loud, alternating shoes can benefit anyone running, from those training for a 5k to those training for a marathon or even ultra marathon.

Keep in mind, your rate of injury does go up if you alternate the wrong types of shoes.  Every shoe is made for a different foot type and if you alternate the wrong shoes (for your feet) then you will get injured.

There are very few situations you should rotate a stable and neutral shoe together.  Make sure that the shoes you’ve chosen are correct for your particular gait and feet.  Every shoe is good for someone but there is no “best shoe”.   I cannot stress how important it is to go to your local Running Store and get your feet analyzed. 

But why Alternate Shoes?

Increase the Durability of Your Shoes:

Well yes, having two pairs of shoes means you use the shoe less frequently but it also means your shoe have time to recover and bounce back from each run.

So why do shoes last longer? If you give shoes 1-2 days to “recover,”  the materials in the midsole don’t continuously compress.  Like a sponge, they fluff or bounce back closer to their original state.

Instead of getting the traditional 300-400 miles on a shoe, you might get a few more.  

It does naturally cost more to buy two shoes, you are getting more for your money.  Always ask your running store if they give a discount for buying two shoes, we do where I work

Different Shoes are Made for Different Things:

Take the Hoka Bondi 5 versus the Saucony Type A.  Both of these shoes make weekly appearences in my running but they are made for different types of runs!  The Hoka Bondi 5 has over double the weight and cushion of the Saucony Type A.

The Hoka Bondi 5 was created for a long run, recovery run or to withstand training. Saucony Type A is a minimal racing flat.  If you train in the Saucony Type A for every run, you will get injured.  If you raced in the Hoka Bondi, your body and feet would be working significantly harder.  Every shoe has a time and place.  I did write about racing flats here.

Alternating Shoes Can Prevent Injury:

As I mentioned above, this only works if you do it correctly!  While it’s not the magical way to prevent injuries, you can decrease your injury risk by alternating appropriate shoes.

Stress fractures happen from doing the same thing day in and day out.  If you run the same route, in the same shoes, every day you are more prone to an injury.

Even if you rotate two of the exact same style, then your feet are working in very similar ways.  Choosing different brands or models allow your body and feet to work just differently enough that it can decrease the stress put on any given area of your body.

Should You Rotate the Same Exact Style or Different Brands?

Alternating two of the same style allows each shoe to have a longer life span.

Alternating different styles allows each shoe to have a longer lifespan and your foot will work differently in each shoe.  You’ll be less suscipatble to injury by alternating different types or brands of shoes.

It’s just fun.  This isn’t a scientific fact but running in different shoes is just fun. 

What am I currently alternating between?
Hoka Bondi 5 (long runs, daily runs)
Saucony Freedom ISO (daily runs)
Brooks Launch (speed work, short runs)
Saucony Type A (speed work)

Incase 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

Questions for you:
Which shoes are in your shoe rotation?
Have a question about shoes?  Ask below!