How often to change running shoes?

Hello,

If one is running 5K 3-4 times a week, and there's nothing wrong with current footwear, is it advisable to change? I was told at a specialist running shop that with runnig 15-20K per week one should look to change their shoes every 6 months. It left me wondering whether this was so that the shop could make money from me image or was it good and practical advice.

Your views appreciated.

Thanks xox

Comments

  • Realistically you could probably get about 9-10 months out of them at that sort of distance but you will eventually get a feel for when you need new shoes.

    Richie.

  • I've had mine for at least 10 months. Will order a new pair online. Thanks image

  • Up to you...  but I think a running shoe is not something to be bought online. 

     

  • I've had a pair of running shoes for at least 2years image. Do some shorter sprints in them mind but stil going strong.

    the general rule of thumb is 500 miles but can obviously differ from weight of person.

    dont change just for change sake image

  • RunWales - about 1-2 years ago, I got all serious and went to a specialist running shop, did a gait test, purchased some fancy Asics...and whoosh, bang, shin splint and out of action for some weeks. Thankfully the manager was kind enough to take them back at no cost and outside of the 28 day return period.

    I went back to my Nike Air Max which have served me faithfully (I just order the same type) since 1999 in all cardio activity.

    How did folk undertake distance running decades ago, before we got all techie with running shoes and the advent of specialist running shops...and then, those countries which are considered to be in poorer than us but who produce brilliant distance runners who possibly couldnt have had the technical running shoes we are sold in shops today when they started out.

     

  • Kinda went onto my soap box there image (unintentionally....!) lol.

  • Okay, I'll take this one.  'Poor' countries produce great runners because it's an easy and cheap sport to get into.  You don't need any equipment, so it's an obvious choice.    And just because the world's best runners are Kenyan, doesn't mean all Kenyans are great runners.

    Next point - people ran without technology, but not as many people did well at it.  Technology allows people with flat feet, fallen arches and severe gait problems to run, whereas in the past, they wouldn't have been able.  

    You can dismiss 'technology' (plenty of people do), but don't forget, that these super-fast Kenyans are faster because they wear Adidas, have a dietician, measure the heart-rate and blood-oxygen, than they would be if they drank blood and milk and ran barefoot.

    BTW, all Nike Air Max are fashion shoes - there are no serious sports models with 'max' air, so if you can use these without problems, consider yourself very blessed - most of us need the technology of expensive running shoes ito counteract our defective feet!

  • The rule of thumb is that you should get 500-600 miles out of a pair of running shoes, but this is an oversimplification. 

    If you are not noticing the difference, then it probably isn't worth replacing them. 

  • Next point - people ran without technology, but not as many people did well at it.  Technology allows people with flat feet, fallen arches and severe gait problems to run, whereas in the past, they wouldn't have been able.  

     I'm pretty certain running shops don't sell 'technology' that can do this. I can't recollect seeing any research that backs this up iether. 

  • Stone age man ran with bare feet, but he also only lived to his late 20s, and did not have to contend with large parts of his habitat being covered in tarmac. 

    The running industry has achieved something tangible, in that more people are running further than ever before.  In the 1970s a person who had ran a marathon was regarded as a bit of an eccentric, and probably didn’t have a girlfriend. 

  • Really Ian?  Flat feet would have got you out of the army during World War II - a time when there weren't many excuses and they needed every man they could get.  Now, shoes with medial posting have allowed many people to run with flat feet and fallen arches.  And there is plenty of evidence - there are tens of thousands of people who can run pain-free due to support shoes.  Including me.

  • I've read quite a lot of argument on the barefoot / technical shoes debate over recent years.  But the 'flat-feet' getting you thrown out of the army is a simple, powerful argument that I've not heard before DiscountRunner (and your other arguments are well put)

    Nice one.  Would be interested to see if anyone can, or cannot,  easily debunk it

     

  • Alan Wells, the US mile record holder is flat footed and runs in minimalist shoes with no medial support. Does that debunk it?? He just uses lots of foot strengthening exercises.

    There is also evidence to show that the number of running injuries has increased per capita since the introduction of the Air Pagasus in 1981 (the first 'modern' shoe).

  • The number of running injuries per capita has increased since 1981, because the number of runners per capita has increased.  It should also be noted that running injuries as a whole, are not as severe as those that routinely occur in football or rugby. 

    What the running industry can do for you, depends on how much of a problem you had to start with.  A person with good biomechanics is likely to do well whatever they run in.  On the other hand I met some customers when I worked for Sweatshop who thought that they would never be able to be runners, and I was able to make it possible for them.

  • Sorry - to clarify, I meant per capita of runners i.e the percentage of runners reporting injuries has increased since 1981.

  • Even on that basis the statistic dosn't really say very much, because the proportion of recreational runners competing in longer distance events such as marathons, has gone through the roof. 

    How many organised marathons were there in 1981?

  • Rafiki wrote (see)

    Alan Wells, the US mile record holder is flat footed and runs in minimalist shoes with no medial support. Does that debunk it?? He just uses lots of foot strengthening exercises.

    There is also evidence to show that the number of running injuries has increased per capita since the introduction of the Air Pagasus in 1981 (the first 'modern' shoe).

     

     

    Grear for Alan Wells - I am really pleased for him.  But I am not him and I am not a record-breaking professional athlete - I am a normal man who is biomechanically inefficient and finds that support shoes allow him to do what minimalist/neutral/racing/lightweight/tennis shoes can not - run half-marathons.

    If you think that the latest trend (for that is what these all are) is the only way for you, then grand.  But don't be one of those dreaded barefoot evangelists who tell others what's good for them.  They are as dull as vegans telling people meat is murder!  image

  • At a marathon the other weekend there were two different people running with FiveFingers or similar.  Both of them had tape all up their lower legs and were hobbling a long looking in a lot of pain.  I think some people buy them as the answer to all their running issues, but then just continue running as normal and don't ease themselves into training with them.

  • Really Ian?  Flat feet would have got you out of the army during World War II - a time when there weren't many excuses and they needed every man they could get

    Whereas now a variety of armed forces have done the actual research and found it makes no differrence to injury rate -


    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16130646

    http://epirev.oxfordjournals.org/content/24/2/228.full

    And now the army will quite happilly accept people with flat feet - even though they don't need everyone they can get.

    http://www.army.mod.uk/documents/general/BGN_9._Medical_Notes_for_Potential_Rects_RI_10.doc

     

  • I would expect around 400 miles - although this depends on your technique, weight, frequency of running and whether you alternate between a few pairs.

    Avoid Adidas running shoes if you are looking for trainers that will last a while. I bought two pairs for marathon training and they lasted about 200 miles each! I contacted adidas to complain but their customer services were rubbish, and providing false advise!

  • Daf Rees wrote (see)

    I would expect around 400 miles - although this depends on your technique, weight, frequency of running and whether you alternate between a few pairs.

     

    why does alternating between a few pairs affect the lifespan of one pair of running shoes?

  • It gives the coushioning more time to recover.

  • Ian M wrote (see)

    Really Ian?  Flat feet would have got you out of the army during World War II - a time when there weren't many excuses and they needed every man they could get

    Whereas now a variety of armed forces have done the actual research and found it makes no differrence to injury rate -
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16130646 http://epirev.oxfordjournals.org/content/24/2/228.full And now the army will quite happilly accept people with flat feet - even though they don't need everyone they can get. http://www.army.mod.uk/documents/general/BGN_9._Medical_Notes_for_Potential_Rects_RI_10.doc  

    You are being disingenuous, as are most barefoot evangelists - taking scientific research and applying a non-scientific slant to get the soundbite that suits you - in this case:

    "Whereas now a variety of armed forces have done the actual research and found it makes no differrence to injury rate"

    The above statement is patently untrue, relative to what I said.  The second article deals only with stress fractures and not any other injuries - I was talking about support shoes rectifying over-pronation to prevent pain when running: nothing about stress-fractures.  

    Your first contribution is a test-group of 220 by the Australians, which found that they injury-rate is the same for all foot-types.  Have you researched what footwear each group wore?  No?  Well, in the modern Army, if you have pronation problems, you get support shoes!  

    So, you've proven my point - support shoes have reduced over-pronation problems from the 1940s, when you'd be rejected, to now, where you can join in with no increased risk!  I'd say that's a big win for support shoes!

    At least you didn't trot-out that most-maligned of scientific studies; that by the US military that shows no conclusive proof either for or against support shoes, but which barefooters invariably alter to suggest that they don't work.  I am sure you know what I'm talking about - barefooters always mis-quote it.

    Finally, to make my point about not trusting 'evidence' from either side, check out this website:

    http://www.barefootrunning.fas.harvard.edu

    Wow!  Harvard University.  Lots of big words.  Lots of scientific-speak and important sounding people.  Now look at the footnote:

    "FUNDING DISCLAIMER:  Research presented on this site was funded by Harvard University and, in part, by Vibram USA®."

    Everyone has an agenda and it's never your well-being.

     

  • At least you didn't trot-out that most-maligned of scientific studies; that by the US military that shows no conclusive proof either for or against support shoes, but which barefooters invariably alter to suggest that they don't work.  I am sure you know what I'm talking about - barefooters always mis-quote it.

    Actually I was going to use that one next : )
    This no conclusive proof either for or against support shoes, is the crux of the matter  though!!!. People in shops selling crap for which there is no supporting evidence, yet claiming that it reduces injuries - this goes for Vibram too with there patently daft quote that their shoes reduce injuries. 

    Given that no-one and this is worth repeating, NO ONE has ever produced any credible research that shows the technology in their shoes reduces injury rates it's a pretty safe assumption that their isn't any technology that running shoe shops sell that does this. The one proviso being orthotics, but that's a job for podiatrists, not shoe salesmen. 

    Shoes are great! Faux techno bollocks spouted about them isn't. 

  • But running shops do ultimately put their money where their mouth is, by agreeing to take shoes back in an unsaleable condition, if they dodn't work.  The fact that they do this and are still in business, is a practical demonstration of their method. 

    If a person came to me as a retailer with shin splints or another problem caused by overpronation, then I could make the problem disappear, and be sufficiently confident in my ability to do so to take the shoes back if I didn't.  Sales people who work for a running shop with a 30 day returns policy are monitored on the number of returns that they have, and if it rises above a given level then they are pulled up very quickly. 

    I also find some of your conclusions based on the previous research a bit unusual.  Absence of conclusive proof is not generally taken as grounds for assuming that something dosn't work, any more than it is taken as proof that it does work.  Also, if you accept that orthotics work, then almost by definition support shoes would also work. 

  • Nope, I accept that orthotics can work in some circumstances, because the research performed supports this. Unfortunately assuming that support shoes also work is conjecture and there just isn't the evidence to support it. If there was you can be sure that all manufacturers of support shoes would be referencing it.  There's also a risk of assuming the evidence that supports orthotics is for the same ailment that the support shoe is proposed to prevent. So for instance there's evidence that orthotics reduces pain assoicated with plantar fasciatis and metatarsalgia (though not limited just to these two conditions), neither of which to the best of my knowlege are things that support shoes pupport to fix. This is the danger of assumptive leaps. Also on the assumptive list I haven't ever concluded that they don't work - I think you may filled that conclusion in on my behalf. I've only ever said there's no evidence that any running shoe technology works - it's an important difference, and one that the shoe manufacturers are generally aware of, so they make statements such as 'now with extra dynamic support' and the punter fills in the gap and infers that this must be a good thing despite the complete absence of evidence from the manufacturer to support this inference.

    Likewise the statement that the fact the running shops do business is itself practical evidence their methods work could equally be applied to homeopathy. It may seem a disingenuous comparison, but both are still in business, both genuinely believe they are doing good, and both believe they see evidence on a daily basis that they are doing good, and in both cases their customers also believe they are doing good. And both come unstuck at the evidence based research stage. 

    Running shops have a product to sell - there's nothing wrong in that, they just need to think a bit smarter about the process and claims that they make. If they want a USP, rather than saying or implying 'these shoes will reduce your chances of injury', they could focus on 'these shoes (or if more canny, upsell to this running clinic) could strengthing your running muscles. That said I don't know if there's any evidence to support it, but it is at least another avenue for them to explore.

  • Honestly Ian, solving most common running problems is relatively easy.  You occasionally get a customer with a slightly more complex problem that throws you a bit, but for most problems the solutions are pretty generic. 

    After you have seen most things half a dozen times, you don't get it wrong too often.  If somebody has a problem relating to overpronation, and you sell them a pair of support shoes, you will never see them again, and if you do it will be because they have caused a new problem somewhere else. 

    The typical customer that a specialist running shop deals with, is somebody with a pre-existing problem.  People come to Sweatshop because they have bought a pair of shoes from Sports Direct, and it hasn't worked.  Therefore keeping the sale depends on you solving the problem that Sports Direct failed to. 

  • Ben,

    I'm an interested amateur, with some coaching experience, when it comes to all this.  Are there any REALLY good books or literature - or youtubes... or even paid-for DVDs about "diagnosing people's running ailments, and prescribing the right shoe"?

    And do you know what the staff turnover is like in Sweatshop.  Are openings like gold-dust, or is there a realistic chance of getting perhaps a weekend job with them if you impress them enough?  Would they train you up? Are there strings attached.

    I'd be really interested.  PM me if it's better taken off line.  But if you can't, don't worry.  Cheers.

  • Run Wales

    Sweatshop typically recruit people with some background in sport science or athletics.  They know that in the current economic climate they can afford to be picky, though the occasional bod such as me slips through the cracks, and they do take on weekend staff who are usually students.  I only really became a runner after I was employed by Sweatshop.  My colleagues were all runners, and they goaded me into signing up for the local half marathon.  Eventually I got into ultra distance, and they started to think that I was crazy.

    The training programme involves three courses in biomechanics.  The first takes place at the National Ski Club of Great Britain, and is usually run by Hugh Brasher himself.  The second two take placed at Roehampton University, and I can see no reason why you couldn't sit the latter two courses as a private individual.  The only way to get brilliant at gait analysis is to practice it.  Eventually, you pretty much know what you are going to get just by looking at peoples feet. 

     

    If you want to know anything further, then PM me and I will be happy to help. 

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