In my Chiropractic world, I’m often asked when should I get a new pair of running shoes. This is a very simple but important part of maintaining alignment, injury prevention and of course optimal performance. When I analyze the patient especially with hip, knee and back pain, I am looking at lumbar/gluteal muscle spasm, abnormal foot wear patterns, ideal heel angle and anatomical short leg.
While the importance of the spinal alignment is of primary concern, overtime shoe breakdown occurs with high levels of training and will require regular new shoes to prevent multiple simple complications. Research shows that every 300-500 miles or around six months is when you would need a new pair of running shoes. The EVA foam of running shoes are made is a very lightweight material, that is injected with air cells designed to absorb impact. But as the foam wears out, especially with repeated and continual use will show wear patterns, signs of creasing or reduced press test (lack of cushiness or give). Once this foam starts to wear, additional forces and altered bio-mechanics occur in the lower extremities and low back/pelvis. This will lead to overuse injuries (Shin Splints), minor tendinitis (plantar fasciitis) and foot or spinal pain.
As I put thousands of miles a year on my cycling shoes, the second question is when do I have my cycling shoes replaced. This is just as important but cycling shoes are built to last and not designed to walk. So is not question the shoe wearing out but is a question of the arch support for foot-bed. I replace my be arch supports or foot-beds approximately every six months. Maximum power transfer and proper foot dynamics are essential when your are pedaling. I have my favorite and essential cycling shoes (Bont and Rocket 7) but about every year, I purchase a updated version and also replace my Look cleats at about the 9 month mark.
As a life time Athlete, minor changes in your shoes like too much wiggle room in your toes or little twinges of pain in the bottom of your foot are “small alarms” that you are due for a new set of shoes. So listen to the voices of pain and the Innate wisdom of the body telling you need a new pair of shoes. And by the way, daily work/dress shoes should follow the same rule of thumb for the 500 miles or every 6 months also.