Training from the mile to the marathon.
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  • When Should I Get New Shoes?

    Posted on June 18th, 2012 CoachGreg No comments

    shoesThis is one of the most common questions we’re asked and the answer is highly individual but there are some indicators of the need to purchase new shows.

    Most of the running literature advises a runner to get new shoes when they have between 300 and 500 miles on the shoes. That’s a pretty broad guideline. I have a friend who is putting on over 100 miles each week. That’s new shoes every 3-5 weeks. Right now, I’m running about 30 miles/week and that maxes me out at about 16 weeks. At $100 or more for a pair of shoes, I would need to redo my budget if I bought them more often which I will do as I prepare for a fall marathon.

    In addition to mileage, you can also look on the wear on your shoes. If they are worn smooth in areas, replace the shoes. However, the lack of wear on the sole is not an indication that your shoes don’t need to be replaced.

    The cushioning - the midsole - that is between the sole and the foot is what usually is worn out first. On many shoes, the midsole is made EVA , which has excellent stress and impact resistance properties. It is filled with thousands of air bubbles but as EVA polymer breaks down, the bubbles collapse and the shoe no longer has adequate cushioning. For me, I know it when my feet start to hurt consistently when running and it usually happens between 12 and 16 weeks of using the shoes.

    What Shoes Should You Buy?

    That’s a question I can’t answer for you. Every runner is different and should be professionally fitted for the proper shoes. One of the things I’ve heard folks say is, “I can only run in Nike’s” or “I can only run in an Asics Gel Foundation 8″. By sticking by those kinds of statements, you’ve not only limited yourself, but you could actually cause yourself some frustration or harm. Every shoe is built on a form called a “last” and as long as the last hasn’t changed from year to year, you can usually continue to buy the same model with virtually no issues with fit. Shoe companies do change their lasts and when they do, they don’t always change the name of the model shoe. A more important question is:

    Where Should You Buy Those Shoes?

    A specialty running store. Included in this would be triathlon outfitters and other shoe stores staffed by runners.

    The running store knows runners. The owners and employees have probably already put a few miles on their own shoes before they came to work. They understand training - they speak your language. They get visits from factory reps who provide information and education on their product lines. The store has a better quality selection than the big box sporting goods stores. Bottom line - They’re passionate about what they do and they want to share that passion. That’s why they’re in the business.

    Where Do You Shop?

    I shop at On the Run in Mt Pleasant. Irv Batten, the owner, has become a trusted friend and is full of information about running, coaching, and local running history and running lore.

    Coach Noah shops at TrySports in Mt Pleasant. They have a friendly, knowledgeable crew who are also passionate about their sport. Personally, I’m not sure if I would even be a runner if it wasn’t for Jim Kirwan, the owner, who always has encouraging word every time he sees me out running. That attitude has been passed on to his employees.

    We also have friends who are fans of The Foot Store. They seem to carry shoes that others are not carrying and they freely share information on running via their Facebook page.

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