Running Shorts: Running shoe mileage (part 1)

Alright, let’s start by saying the obvious, I do not run 100 plus miles a week, but I do run often enough so I would put 40-50 miles per week on average. A few months ago in one of the forums I normally stop by, there were a few questions about running shoes and how to go about getting a good pair, the investment, and the value you get out of a running shoe. After I quickly responded to a few of the questions I decided to bring my answers here to share with you. Here is a brief summary of what wrote.

I do keep track of the miles for my running shoes (Yes, multiple shoes in rotation). There are apps that help with tracking the mileage per equipment like Strava, Garmin, and others. One of the benefits is that most apps have options that can warn you when you are reaching a predetermined mileage. I personally like to use a paper journal. Pen and paperwork work best for me best for many reasons that I will go about in another post. (I do use still the Apps but for other types of running data and information)

The question about when to change or discard your running shoes will depend on many factors. The running shoe miles that it can cover depend on the brand, materials, running form, terrain, and styles within the brand. I had some running shoes lasting me over 600 miles, while others only lasted at best close to 300 miles. That variation is actually within the same brand. The surface conditions (Trail, gravel, road) and length of the runs are other factors that will affect the running shoe and how does it feel throughout the run. Environmental factors are also an element that will affect the performance of the running shoe. (Temperature, for example, Hot day versus freezing)

A strategy I use for my running shoes to get the most of them is that for long/longer runs I use the newer shoes since the sole and foam will respond close to optimal while older or higher mileage shoes are for low mileage runs.

Then perhaps after 200 miles or so I start rotating those new shoes (Now old shoes) for my short run. I will use them more frequently but it is going to be fewer miles at a single time. The springiness/foam of the shoe does not last that long for the longer runs but it is enough for those short miles while giving time for the shoe to recover between runs. Take notes on your log and figure out if you can use them one more time or if you need to start thinking of replacing them based on the last run in the running shoes.

Still, even on those shorter runs, I start to pay attention to the springiness of the shoe; I can feel especially at the end of the run if the foam is giving up and I can feel the road or the running surface more on my foot and legs. On normal training weeks, I do have three pairs of running shoes in my shoe rotation including the long run shoe.

I also pay attention to the wear and tear of the tread and bottom. Sometimes you will lose traction, making it hard in some weather conditions to get a good grip on the trails. The foam might still be ok, but traction might be gone making the running shoe very ineffective. Structural failure of the running shoe is definitely another reason to retire those shoes and if it happens well before the 300 miles I will start reconsidering finding an alternative brand or different style within the brand.

As for brands, it all depends on the runner’s preference. I have been using Brooks (Adrenaline, Ravennas, and PureCadence. The last two are no longer available at Brooks) for years, but just recently started to use HOKAS – Cliftons (I like them, but will see how miles I can get out of them without losing the cushioning) and Salomon. I have tried other brands Saucony, New Balance, Newtons, and Altras with mixed results.

The one last piece of advice is that once you find a pair that you really like, (Brand, size, fit, and style) be always on the look for sales on that style, especially when the company is releasing the new models (Yes, almost every year they release a new model, like cars) sometimes the changes and updates will ruin the original feel and like of the running shoe, but more often than not it is minor changes and the running shoe will remain ok. But the older style will definitely go on sale (Good discounts) and I normally try to buy 3-4 pairs at a time, because I know I will use them within the year.