How Long Do Running Shoes Last – The Ultimate Guide

When you go out and buy a new pair of running shoes, something you might be wondering is how long they last. After all, you can easily spend hundreds on a nice pair of running shoes.

Obviously, you don't want those running shoes to wear out within just a couple of weeks, because you probably don't have money to waste.

So, if you buy some running shoes, how long will they last? We will answer this question and many others right here and now.


How Long Do Running Shoes Last?

How Long Do Running Shoes Last

Exactly how long running shoes last for depends on a wide variety of factors.

Generally speaking, you can expect the lifespan of your average running shoes to be anywhere between 300 miles and 500 miles, or up to around 800 kilometers.

This is considering that you get relatively high-quality shoes. However, if you get much lighter shoes made with thinner materials, you can expect them to last up to around 300 miles.

Therefore, you can expect to replace your running shoes every four to six months, considering that you run about 20 miles per week.


Factors That Affect How Long Running Shoes Last

As we mentioned above, exactly how long running shoes last depends on a variety of factors, so let's take a look at each of these factors right now.

The Way You Run

Although it might sound odd to say, the way you run makes a big difference in terms of how long your running shoes will last. Specifically, where your foot strikes the ground will determine what part of the shoe wears down the quickest, and therefore how long the running shoe lasts for.

If you don't know where your impact zone is, which is where your foot strikes the ground, take a closer look at your last pair of running shoes to see where they're worn down the most.

For instance, if you are a long-distance runner, chances are that the heel of your shoe will be worn down the most.

However, if you'd like to run hills or you like to sprint, then the side of the front of the shoe, particularly under the big toe, as well as under the ball of the foot, is generally worn down the most.


The Terrain

How Long Do Running Shoes Last

One of the biggest determining factors in terms of how long running shoes last is the surface that you are running on. For instance, if you run on a treadmill, your shoes are going to last a lot longer than if you run on the road.

Pavement and asphalt are fairly rough, and they can take quite a toll on running shoes. With that being said, city roads and sidewalks aren't all that bad in the grand scheme of things, but what can put a real hurt on your running shoes are country roads. Dirt and gravel roads with a lot of pointy objects can quickly wear down your running shoes.

Therefore, the rougher the terrain that you run on is, the faster your running shoes will wear down. Also consider temperature. Generally speaking, excessively hot temperatures will cause running shoes to wear down faster than moderate or cooler temperatures.


Your Size and Build

The next thing that will determine how long you're running shoes last is your own build and size. Simply put, the bigger and heavier you are, the more strain you will put on your running shoes.

A 300 pound person is going to put a lot more strain and pressure on a pair of running shoes than someone who is half as heavy. The heavier you are, the faster those running shoes will wear out due to the amount of friction and wear that you put on the sole with every step.


Shoe Materials

How Long Do Running Shoes Last

The other factor worth considering here is the material of the shoe itself. Some materials are much tougher than others. For instance, a pair of leather shoes will last much longer than a pair of shoes made out of mesh.

Of course, there are considerations to make when you are choosing running shoes. Going with that same example, mesh running shoes are much lighter and more breathable than something like leather, polyester, or anything in between, but it also won't last as long as those materials.


How to Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Running Shoes

How Long Do Running Shoes Last

Something that you might not know is when to replace your running shoes. Well, several factors will help you determine whether or not your current running shoes still have a few miles left in them or not.


The Treads

One of the most telling signs that your running shoes have seen better days is if the treads are worn out. The underside or the soles of your shoes are designed not only to provide impact absorption and comfort, but also to keep you stable and to prevent you from sleeping on the ground.

If your soles and the treads are worn down, not only will there be a lack of cushioning and impact absorption, but you might also start slipping on slick surfaces. If you see that all of the tread is worn down, you might want to consider getting yourself some new running shoes.


You’re Having Pains

If you find that all of a sudden you have unexplained pains and aches in your feet, legs, or even in your back, then it might be because of the shoes.

If you otherwise did not suffer any kind of injury or there is no other reason for you to be suffering from back pain, it could just be your running shoes.

If you start feeling muscle fatigue, joint pain, or even shin splints, it could be because your shoes have lost most of their cushioning. A good way to tell if this is the case is if both feet or legs feel the same way. If you've worn down the left and right shoes evenly, then you should also have the same problems in both feet and legs.

You might also develop aches in your knees, hips, and ankles after a long run. Furthermore, some older running shoes may also cause friction burns and blisters. If you notice any of these things occurring, chances are that your shoes need replacement.


The Midsole is Compacted

The midsole of your shoe should be cushioning and spongy. The point of it is to provide you with impact absorption and cushioning, so the impact of every step doesn't travel into your foot and up your legs. It's all about providing you with the proper support.

Take your thumb or finger and press it into the midsole of the shoe. If you find that the midsole feels very tough, hard, and compacted, then you probably need a new pair of running shoes. This means that the cushioning has compacted to the point where it no longer expands on its own, therefore rendering it totally useless.


Differences Between Old and New Shoes

Another great way to tell if your running shoes need replacement is if you see major differences between older shoes and newer shoes. If you have a pair of newer shoes that feel a lot spongier, have more cushioning, and have much better tread, chances are that the old shoes need to be retired.


General Signs of Wear on Running Shoes

Here are a few signs of wear and tear on running shoes that may indicate that a replacement is in order.

  • If the inside of the heel is frayed, it's time to replace your running shoes.
  • If the midsole of the running shoe feels either too hard or too soft, then it should be replaced.
  • If the counter of the heel is less supportive, then you need to replace your running shoes.
  • If the tread on the bottom of the running shoes has worn down and disappeared, a replacement is in order.


Tips to Make Your Running Shoes Last Longer

How Long Do Running Shoes Last

Nobody wants to keep buying new running shoes every few weeks or months, so here we have a few tips to help those running shoes last just a little bit longer.


Choose Good Terrain

Seeing as running on rough terrain is one of the main causes of running shoes wearing down, the obvious solution is to run on smooth terrain. If possible, run on treadmills, and if not, try smooth city roads. However, off-roading should be avoided.


The Right Socks Matter

Although it might sound odd to say this, wearing the right socks makes a difference. If you don't wear the right kind of socks, especially if they're really rough, they may cause damage to the inside of the shoe. It's not just the outside of the shoe that's important here.


Use the Laces Properly

Something that so many people do that ruins any pair of shoes is putting the shoes on without tying or untying the laces. Always undo and redo your laces whenever you put on or take off your running shoes. You don't want to ruin the heel of your running shoe because you keep jamming your foot into it.


Only Use Them for Running

Although it might sound obvious, a lot of people will wear their running shoes for purposes other than running. If you expect your running shoes to last for a few years, then you should only use them for running.


Rounding Up

How Long Do Running Shoes Last

There you have it folks, everything you need to know about how long running shoes last for and how you can make them last longer. By following the simple tips provided above, you should be able to get maximum mileage out of your running shoes.

Author's Photo

William Parrett

Will, co-founder of Home Gym Supply, launched the company in 2019 after 15-years in the fitness industry. His expertise stems not only from his professional background but also from his athletic pursuits. A former competitor in the World Beauty Fitness & Fashion (WBFF) and a competitive rugby player, Will has always been dedicated to health and fitness.