How to tell when it’s time for a new pair of trainers

How to tell when it’s time for a new pair of trainers

Hi, I’m Martha and I’m addicted…. to trainers! I won’t even disclose how many pairs I currently own, but safe to say, I love them. Then again, as an exercise scientist, I figure I have a valid reason for collecting so many – they’re tools of the trade, right?

But seriously. Regardless of whether you own a single pair or many, it’s really important to know when they’ve reached their ‘run by’ date. Running shoes are designed to provide support for a certain number of kilometres before they wear out, and, if you keep running in them regardless, your risk of injury increases. In fact, research shows that around 15 per cent of running injuries are the result of wearing shoes that are worn out. 

So, how to know when their time’s up? It typically depends on several things, including how many kilometres you wear them for. Generally, the recommended distance for a pair of shoes is 1000km, give or take 200km. It also depends on your weight, whether you walk or run, your technique and the way you naturally walk (called your ‘gait’), plus the terrain you train on.

A good rule of thumb is to change your shoes every six months if you cross train and include walking, jogging or gym classes in your routine each week, and every 12 months if you’re less consistent.

You can also do a quick visual check – look at the soles of your shoes and the edges of the heels for excessive wear. If the tread is completely gone, it’s time to head to the shops. Or try on a new pair of shoes as a comparison – if they feel markedly better, yours have probably lost their shock-absorbing ability.

The subject of how to buy a new pair of trainers is fodder for a completely separate blog! But to start with, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to try on lots of pairs, and don’t buy anything that’s not comfortable. Repeat to self: “Exercise shoes don’t need to be broken in”. Oh, and keep an eye out for shoe sales. If you see your favourite pair of trainers on sale, in your size, snap them up as chances are that when you need a new pair in six months’ time, they’ll be full price again.

Please join me in a wardrobe cleanout and donate any unwanted shoes in good condition to new feet by searching online: “donate trainers”.