I’ll make this one easy: nothing.
Knowing how to care for, and when to replace, your running shoes are often details looked over in the larger running ecosystem of trails, and partners, and weather, and apparel.
I’ve made the mistake myself. We all have at one point or another. No one wakes up one morning and is the perfect runner. You run and you learn.
Let me help you by saying that you need to pay attention to your shoes. If they start begging for attention, give them some.
Let me also be clear in saying that running shoes aren’t like a good pair of jeans that feels better the more you wear them in. Quite the opposite, actually.
Stress caused to the body as a result of worn/oddly worn running shoes is not fun.
A lot of sources say to change out your running shoes every 300-400 miles. To me, I think that differs depending on your shoes. If you’re running in a less-expensive, different quality shoe, you may go through them quicker. Higher quality shoes will last longer. It also depends on how much you run. The more intense distance runners who do 50+ miles every week are probably already on a nice rotation of shoes. I’m talking they have a backup pair chilling in their closet. For them, it’s a switcharoo every quarter or so.
Personally, I like to keep a rotation of different shoes and monitor their health individually. I have some Nike Frees that I like to train in and do some light runs to keep my feet lose. I wouldn’t dare run more than 3 miles in them, though. Then I’ll whip out my heavier, more supportive Muzinos Wave Nirvanas for road races or really hot runs that I know my feet will get warm and need some nice ventilation. I have some lighter Mizuno Wave Inspires that I really love to just jog in. They’re nice and wide, and have some great heel cushion.
Aside from the usual wear and tear your shoes will experience from running, don’t abuse them. Don’t wear them around into the grocery store, mall, work, etc.
I like to think of them in the same way as cleats. You’re really, really not supposed to walk around on hard surfaces wearing cleats. Especially rubber ones because the hard surfaces can wear down the quality of the cleat and eventually dull them down. So when I see little kids wear their $75 cleats in the grocery store, I cringe.
Moral of the story? If you take care of your running shoes and they’ll take care of you. Ignore them, and suffer the consequences. Whether taking care of them means spending a little bit more on a good pair initially, switching them out more often, not driving in them, or whatever. Make sure that the one thing that you always have to have to go running (other than health) is always there for you.
Do you have any tips for keeping your running shoes in good condition? Leave them below in a comment, or post on our Facebook page!