How long do running shoes last?

Every runner knows that their running shoes have a limited lifespan. Nevertheless, many athletes find it difficult to part with a pair they have grown fond of, even if they have long been ready for the garbage can. However, you shouldn't wait too long to do so, because injuries or overloads can be the result. But how can you tell without a doubt that a running shoe needs to be replaced? And what can you do to prolong its life? We give you useful tips and information about the life cycle of a running shoe.

Statistically, the average runner needs about two pairs of running shoes per year. However, the durability of running shoes depends heavily on individual usage patterns. In addition to the composition and quality of the material, the frequency and speed of running, the running surface as well as the body weight, running style and any foot malpositions of its wearer have a considerable influence on the service life of a running shoe.

"A light running shoe is worn out after only 600 kilometers run, competition shoes possibly even much earlier."

In addition, the storage and care of the shoe also plays a role that should not be underestimated. As a general rule of thumb, a lightweight running shoe wears out after only 600 kilometers, while competition shoes may wear out much sooner. Sturdy models, on the other hand, can withstand up to 1200 kilometers. Towards the end of their service life, running shoes should be checked more frequently. To keep track of the running performance of the shoes, you can record the kilometers run in a running diary or training plan. Aside from the miles you've run, there are other signs that will tell you it's time for a pair of new running shoes:

How can you tell if your running shoes are worn out?

  • The outsole tread is worn and no longer grips properly
  • The upper is cracked, brittle and/or bulging, no longer fits the foot properly and no longer provides adequate support
  • The heel counter is loose and no longer provides enough stability
  • The midsole feels too hard or too soft, no longer shows sufficient cushioning and rebound. Longitudinal creases and cracks in the midsole are also a clear sign of excessive wear and tear
  • The shoe no longer stands straight when placed on a flat surface.

Running shoes that exhibit these characteristics should be replaced immediately. Also, if you suddenly experience unusual discomfort such as pain, chafing or blisters that cannot be attributed to any other reason (e.g. increase in intensity of training), a worn running shoe may be the cause. In order to have as long as possible friends with your running shoes, you should pay attention to the following things:

Tips for a long life

  1. When buying running shoes, look for good quality and workmanship. The outsole should be made of abrasion-resistant material.
  2. If you train more often, you should buy a second pair of replacement shoes. The cushioning of the shoes needs sufficient time to regenerate.
  3. Proper care is essential: If your running shoes are dirty after training, you can clean them with a sponge, lukewarm water and, if necessary, a special cleaning agent for sports shoes. Conventional soap, aggressive cleaners and washing in the washing machine will damage your running shoes. To dry them, they do not belong on the heater or in the sun - it is quite enough to stuff them with newspaper.
  4. The insole also deserves some care: it absorbs most of the foot sweat and should be cleaned or replaced before it smells unpleasant.
  5. Avoid wide temperature fluctuations when storing your running shoes. Extreme heat or cold will especially damage the midsole and its cushioning elements, which are of great importance for the performance of the running shoe.

If in doubt, replace your running shoes too early rather than too late and check the wear regularly. Nevertheless, you should not immediately dispose of the worn-out shoes, but have them with you when you buy your next pair of running shoes. The wear pattern of the sole can provide information about your running style and possible misalignments.