I wrote an article last year on running shoes and the importance of wearing the right shoe when we exercise. I was reminded of this when I accidently forgot to change my shoes before weekly tennis night and had to play in my old 7-year old walking shoes. I suffered through an hour wearing shoes with zero support and getting killed by my opponent because the sneakers I was wearing did not support my lateral movements on the court. After a while I just stopped trying because my chances of injury were increased every time I dove for the ball.
According to an article on About.com, we should replace our running shoes every 300-400 miles. They say “Running in old or worn-out shoes is one of the most common causes of running injuries.”
Since running shoes lose shock absorption, cushioning and stability over time continuing to run in them after about six months increases the stress and impact on your legs and joints, which can lead to long term injuries (like shin splints) from stress fractures to other nagging injuries. Replacing shoes frequently is the best defense against injury. It is also highly recommended that if you run daily, to alternate shoes from day to day – therefore, having two pairs of shoes is best.
I personally recommend buying two pairs of shoes a year – or every six months if you are like me and run every other day and are a moderate runner – say running 10 to 30 miles a week.
Signs Your Shoes Need To Be Replaced:
If your knees, hips or shins are hurting that is probably the #1 classic sign that your shoes are too worn down.
2. Shoe is not form fitting
If you put on your shoes and they feel loose and you have to tighten the laces to make your shoe fit tighter it’s time for a new pair.
3. Failing twist test
Twist your shoes. If they twist; especially in the center – they’re done.
Donate Old Shoes
So once you are done with a pair, where should you donate your old shoes? The answer is to NOT throw them away; we runners should not be responsible for filling landfills.
I have heard negative things about the the Nike-Reusa-A-Shoe program but I found a new site that is interesting and lets you be pro-active to collect and send old shoes- visit www.letmeplay.com/reuseashoe – this site is for people who want to see their shoes literally reused by being ground down and made into track or something like that.
This photo is right from the letmeplay.com Web site.
Also try the following sites for donating worn shoes.
Soles4Soles – www.soles4souls.org
Shoe Bank – www.shoebank.org
Sole Responsibility – www.soleresponsibility.org
Shoes for Africa – www.shoes4africa.org