How Long Do Running Shoes Last? 7 Factors to Consider

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a hard time letting go of your favorite pair of running shoes before plunking down cash on a new pair? We all have!! And more than likely, you’ve run on a pair beyond their optimal life for support and performance. 

Running shoes are more than just a piece of athletic gear. They are essential tools for runners to enhance their performance, provide support, and prevent injuries. However, like any tool, running shoes do have a finite lifespan. Understanding how long running shoes last and the factors that influence their durability is crucial for every runner. 

When customers visit our store we often get asked the question, “how long do running shoes last”. Hopefully this post will help provide some clarity here. We’ll also share our thoughts for how to extend the life of your shoes and how to tell when it’s time to retire your favorite kicks.

How Long Do Running Shoes Last?

The lifespan of running shoes can vary depending on several factors, including: 

  • Shoe quality
  • Running surface
  • Running Style
  • Running frequency
  • Shoe Purpose
  • Body Weight
  • Storage and Maintenance

On average, most running shoes should last between 300 to 500 miles. So, if you average 20 miles a week in your training plan, that would equate to roughly 4 to 6 months. However, this is a very general guideline and it’s recommended to track your mileage and the amount of time that has passed by logging the shoes used for every run using your watch, a fitness app, or the old school way of just writing down the same information in a running journal. Don’t judge. Some of us still use pen and paper. 

7 Factors Affecting How Long Running Shoes Last: 

  1. Shoe Quality – The quality of materials and the construction of your shoes will play a significant role in determining how long your running shoes will last. Higher-quality shoes with durable midsoles and outsoles tend to last longer than cheaper, less durable alternatives. 
  2. Running Surface – What type of surface you run on will impact the wear and tear of your shoes. Running on softer surfaces like grass or trails is generally less demanding on shoes compared to running on hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt. 
  3. Running Style – The durability of your shoes is also influenced by your running style. Pronation, supination, or any other gait abnormalities can cause uneven wear on the shoes, reducing the overall lifespan. 
  4. Running Frequency – Knowing how many miles, and the time spent in your shoes, are essential factors in answering “how long do running shoes last?” Those who run regularly will most definitely need to replace their shoes more often than those who run occasionally. You should consider adding a second or third pair of shoes into your weekly rotation to reduce the wear on any single pair of shoes. In addition, by switching up the drop and weight of the shoes in your rotation, you’ll notice a side benefit of using and strengthening different leg muscles.
  5. Shoe Purpose – High quality race day shoes are built very differently than everyday training shoes as their goal is to assist in generating speed by weighing as little as possible, yet be supportive for just a few races. You’ll notice these shoes will have less material on the upper material while the outsoles are built to be more springy and lighter. Naturally, these shoes will not last as long as a result.
  6. Body Weight – Heavier runners put more stress on their shoes which will impact how often to replace running shoes as  compared to lighter runners. 
  7. Storage and Maintenance – Proper running shoe storage and maintenance can extend their lifespan. It’s important to allow your running shoes to air dry after each run. Hang in low humidity conditions, stuff with newspaper, or use shoe trees to absorb moisture. This will also help them from being so stanky! Be sure to keep them inside. It’s smart to avoid exposing your running shoes to extreme temperatures or direct sunlight. Also, clean them regularly to remove any excess dirt and debris. 

When do I need to replace my running shoes? 

To help prevent injury and maintain your optimal performance, knowing when to replace your running shoes is crucial. Here’s some telltale signs to help you know when it’s time to retire your running shoes. 

  1. Mileage on the Shoes – are you in the 300 to 500 mile range? If so, it’s likely the shoe material has naturally started to deteriorate.  
  2. Visible Wear and Tear – are you seeing frayed stitching, worn-out outsoles, or compressed midsoles? Be sure to visually inspect your shoes on a regular basis. If you notice this type damage or deformities, it’s time to replace your shoes. 
  3. Decreased Cushioning and Support – It’s eventually going to happen. Over time, the cushioning and support of running shoes will degrade and reduce their ability to absorb the shock of the running and landing impact. Unfortunately, when this happens, those shoes no longer support your feet properly. When you start to notice more impact or discomfort during your runs, it’s a strong indication that your shoes have lost their cushioning and support and need to be replaced. 
  4. Persistent Aches and Pains – Everyone will deal with some sort of soreness or discomfort from time to time, but worn-out running shoes can lead to conditions which may sideline us for longer stints. Shin splints, knee pain, and plantar fasciitis can develop if we are not in tune with the age of our shoes. If you experience persistent discomfort or pain while running, don’t continue to make the problem worse. Consider replacing your shoes to see if it alleviates the symptoms. 
  5. Too much time in Physical Therapy – The risk of injuries due to reduced support, stability, and shock absorption increases when you continue to run in shoes that are worn out. If you find yourself spending more time with a physical or massage therapist due to frequent injuries, it’s worth evaluating the condition of your running shoes. 

If any of the above factors ring true for your situation, and you would like professional guidance on which shoes may work best for you. We would welcome you to visit us at Pace Yourself Run Company. We provide free personalized shoe fitting, will offer a variety of options for shoes to consider, and would be happy to help you answer “how long do running shoes last”. 

Understanding the answer for “how long do running shoes last”, being aware of the signs of wear, and relying on the knowledgeable staff at your local running store Raleigh, are essential for every runner’s safety, performance and enjoyment of running. By considering factors such as running surface, running style, shoe quality, purpose of the show, frequency of use, body weight, and maintenance, you can maximize the lifespan of your running shoes and ensure that you’re always running in footwear that is right for you.