Running shoes don’t last forever. Just another of life’s disappointments. As shoes age, they flatten out and break down, leaving you less supported while you run. It’s important to replace old shoes because continuing to run in them can lead to soreness, gait imbalances, and increased injury risk.
Saucony designs shoes that ensure every run you take is going to be a good run. But like the tires on your car that need to be rotated every few months, you need to trade out your shoes once you’ve logged a certain number of miles in them.
How long do running shoes last?
On average, running shoes last about 400 miles. When you start running in a new pair of shoes, take note of the date in a training log or running app, then keep track of how many miles you run in them.
While 400 is a good mileage guideline, this number depends on where you run (pavement, treadmill, track, or rough trails) and climate (hot or cold temps, rainy, snowy, or dry). If you tend to run on hot pavement, the soles of your shoes might wear down faster than if you were running on shaded paths. Wet environments can also break shoes down quicker, as caked-on mud and grime can damage them.
Depending on your preferences, you may get shorter or longer wear from your running shoes. For example, if you crave the maximum support and cushioning of new shoes, you need to replace them before 400 miles.
How to make your running shoes last longer
Retiring shoes is a bummer. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to make the most out of your shoes. Here are two tricks to expand the lifespan of your pair:
- Rotate your shoes. One of the easiest ways to make your shoes last longer is to buy two pairs and alternate them every day. This allows the cushioning in the shoes to fully spring back into shape after each wear, which means you’ll have a comfortable ride for a longer time. You can rotate the same type of shoe or pair different Saucony styles.
- Dry and clean your shoes. After rainy runs, scrub off any mud and remove the insoles to dry. This helps protect the materials from dirt and water damage. To dry out shoes fast, stuff them with newspapers and leave them in a well-ventilated area. Just don’t put your shoes in the dryer, as the heat can destroy the glue on the uppers.
How to decide if you should get new shoes
Your body is the best judge for deciding when your shoes are breaking down. Here are a few signs that you need new shoes:
- The bottoms of your feet are more sore than usual. As your shoes wear out, the cushioning in the soles flattens, leaving your feet less protected from the ground.
- Your joints are aching. Decreased cushioning in worn-out shoes means your hips and knees take more pounding.
- Your arches and ankles hurt. The support structures in shoes start to sag and weaken as they age, making them less effective at stabilizing your feet.
- Your stride feels flat or less bouncy. When the soles of your shoes break down, the responsive foam cushioning flattens out, giving you less energy return in each stride.
How to tell if your running shoes are wearing out?
It’s better to spot worn-out shoes before your body starts hurting. Getting close to that 400-mile mark? You should start monitoring your shoes for these signs of aging:
- Creases along the outer midsole that signal compressed cushioning
- Worn-out treads
- Holes or tears in the upper fabric
- Heels that slant to one side
If these characteristics are apparent on your shoes, it’s wise to replace them.
What should you do with old running shoes?
Runners are known to hang onto old shoes for sentimental reasons. After a while, old shoes start piling up. To save yourself from frustrated spouses or roommates, it’s best to donate or recycle your old shoes as soon as you’re done with them.
Here are a few places to donate your running shoes:
- Your local running shoe store. Ask your shop if it accepts shoe donations, as some give old footwear to members of the community in need.
- Donation centers. Your local community shelter, Goodwill Industries, or the Salvation Army are places that accept shoe donations.
- Soles 4 Souls. This nonprofit distributes shoes to people in need all over the globe.
If your shoes are extremely dirty or used, you should recycle rather than donate them. Here are a few ideas for recycling shoes:
- Invest in a recycling box. TerraCycle® offers boxes that you can fill to the brim with your old running shoes and send back to the company, which then recycles the materials.
- Repurpose your running shoes for another activity. Everyone needs a pair for walking and gardening that you don’t mind getting muddy.
- Turn your shoes into plant potters. Just fill the insides with soil, add seeds, and place them on a deck with plenty of sunshine. Bet you never thought your shoes would smell like flowers, did you?
Out with the old, in with the new
Once your shoes feel flat and uncomfortable, it’s time to swap them for new ones. Remember to track how many miles you run in your shoes and retire them after a max of 400 miles. And if you need help picking a new pair to replace them, check out the Saucony Shoe Finder, which recommends footwear based on your needs. Nothing feels better than new shoes!
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