It’s Giving Tuesday. I’ll be honest, the idea of someone telling me what day of the year to give to charity is one I found annoying. But then this morning, I was struggling with feeling overwhelmed with the chaos, horror, and injustice in the world as well. And I write this while basking in the neon glow of my SAD light, but I also just finished donating to two organizations that are in the crosshairs of the craziness around us. And I am feeling better.
My parents, because they’re old school, had sent me money for my birthday. I had debated going to the spa, buying a new Garmin watch (slobber, slobber), or buying a cute outfit. After much wrestling with the idea, I decided that my Garmin 305 worked fine, if a “tad” big and that the 220 wasn’t so much more amazing that I needed a new watch. On my drive in to campus, I was really feeling like I was emotionally drowning with all the horrible news lately. I also felt a little frazzled and raw after going on a small rant in class last night. And I realized that I needed to do something, so I donated my birthday money (that really makes me sound like I’m 7) to two very worthwhile and important groups. While I don’t love just giving money, I also know that with Illinois’ state budget, organizations are really financially struggling. You don’t have to give today, but I hope you do consider giving to an organization this holiday season. Do you really need more stuff? Or do you need to live in a more just and equitable world?
OK, on to the geeky running stuff and the “Technical Tuesday” bit. I bought some running shoes on Black Friday online. I’m not gonna lie, it was 30% off of an older model so it was dirt cheap. However, this made me re-assess (I know, I shouldn’t have done it post-purchase…) whether I needed to rotate these shoes in right away or wait on it. Considering I had 4-5 pairs of shoes in rotation, that was a big question. I realized that I wasn’t sure, which led me down the rabbit hole of Googling “when do I need to replace my running shoes.”
Here’s what I found in short:
- Running shoes GENERALLY last 300-500 miles. For the average runner running in the same shoe, this is around 4 months. However, a 200 mile difference is pretty big and can mean a 2 month difference in replacing your running shoes. e.g., Buying 3 pairs of shoes a year or 2 pairs, or ~$130 (depending on the shoe). This “rule of thumb” is going to vary drastically, though, depending on what kind of runner you are, how you strike the ground, how heavy you are, and what kind of shoe you’re wearing.
- Lower drop or more minimal shoes tend to run down faster because there is less material all around. I run alot in the Saucony Kinvara and they probably last closer to 200-300 miles.
- If there is obvious wear, particularly if it’s uneven or through a layer, on the bottom of your shoes, it might be time to replace them. This is for two reasons: 1) You’ve worn through a layer that is meant to absorb shock and you are now increasing the amount of shock on your legs, which can lead to increased chance for injury. 2) If you are asymmetrical in your stride and it’s obvious from the bottom of your shoe wear, I would consider rotating your shoes out earlier. This is because the more you wear them unevenly, the more likely it is to contribute to your continued asymmetry. I’ve noticed that my Newtons show the greatest difference in wear. The lugs on my left shoe show wear more than my right–and this is visually obvious because I’ve worn down to a different layer of color (I’ll try to upload a picture later). You can even test for unevenness in wear by putting your shoes on a table and gently rocking them to see if they move or checking the heel stack.
This video actually does a nice job of showing you how to check the heel stack.
- If your shoe is abnormally “flexible,” it’s time. So if you can twist it in the middle like you’re wringing a wet towel or if you can bend the toe up and back towards the heel a good amount.
- Finally, the easiest test? Try on a new pair of the same shoe and see how it feels. If it feels amazingly better, you’re due for some new shoes. If it’s “meh,” you’re ok. That’s a hard one to not have a “scientific” test. If you look at the data, though, you lose a pretty significant amount of shock absorption and bounce from the first run out (this is not unlike how you start losing value on a new car the minute you drive it off the lot). This is why you should generally try to use your running shoes for just running and not keep them on all day. You’re losing value!
So how do you keep track of mileage? Back in the day, when I only bought one shoe at a time, I used to write the date I started wearing them on the shoe. However, since I rotate through so many pairs at once, that’s alot harder to keep track of. There are apps out there, or I can even note what shoe I’m wearing on what run in my Garmin Connect. BUT, I’M LAZY. That’s alot of work. Easiest and probably best way? How you feel in the shoe. If you’re feeling like your shoe is starting to feel icky, it’s probably PAST the time you should have swapped them out. I know, it’s a money-making industry. Unless you’re planning on being a barefoot runner, though, that’s part of a good injury-prevention plan.