How Long Do Running Shoes Last

I never stopped to think about how long running shoes last until I developed plantar fasciitis. Well, after developing plantar fasciitis, going to a podiatrist and then entering physical thereapy, that’s when I learned this important fact: running shoes, sneakers and, in fact, all shoes eventually wear out and need to be replaced.

How long do running shoes last? When to replace sneakers

So, how do you know when to replace your running shoes? There are a couple of things to keep in mind, including the following:

  • How often do you wear your running shoes?
  • When was the last time you bought new sneakers?
  • What condition are those running shoes in?
  • Are you experiencing any pain or new soreness?

How often do you wear your running shoes?

I walk my dogs every day. And before I head out for these daily walks, I put on my sneakers or a pair of running shoes. (I don’t run, only walk, but I do wear running shoes, such as my Hoka sneakers.)

When was the last time you bought new sneakers?

I’ll admit that when I started paying attention to this notion, I had to look back in my shopping purchases to find the answer. Primarily, I buy shoes from three sources:

You can search previous purchases on each, in the app or on the web. Personally, I find using a desktop computer easier for this kind of search. You want to look for something says “View Orders” or “Past Purchases” or “Order History.”

What’s nice in your Amazon account on the web is you can search for things by name. So, I searched for Brooks sneakers. This is what it looks like when I’ve searched for shoes bought online in the past on Amazon.

Anyway, I do this if I’ve noticed that my shoes are wearing out, Or like with my pair of Brooks running shoes, the sole has cracked.

For some reason, I love this brand, despite the fact that each and ever pair eventually cracks underneath the ball of my foot.

cracked sole on my brooks sneakers
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

I started wearing Brooks sneakers about six years ago after getting fitted for them at a local running store. Then, Brooks discontinued the style of shoe I loved. So, I bought them in bulk when I could from Zappos. And eventually I had to go to Amazon for my sneakers.

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As you can see from the order snapshot from Amazon above, I purchased the red sneakers in 2023. Before that, I’d purchased three pairs of these sneakers in 2020. So, it’s fair to say that each pair lasted for about a year.

However, I say that with a caveat: I never just have one pair of running shoes in rotation. I usually have two or three. This helps you not to have to buy new shoes more frequently.

How often to replace your running shoes

This article on REI, about how often to replace your shoes, confirms what I’ve learned about this timeline. And that is that you should replace shoes every 300 to 500 miles.

So, if you walk your dogs, like I do, about three miles every day, then you should replace your shoes every 100 days or a little more than every three months. This assumes you’re wearing the same shoes for every walk.

What condition are those running shoes in?

Besides a cracked sole, as I experienced with my Brooks sneakers, there are other signs that your running shoes need replacing. For starters, look at the soles — not for cracks, though those count, but for other telltale signs.

For example, all sneakers have some sort of tread on the bottoms of the shoes. Can you still that tread or design on the sole of the shoe? If not, then chances are they are worn out and you should buy new running shoes.

worn out soles of my hoka running shoes
Worn out soles on my Hoka running shoes. Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Next, has the fabric ripped? Can you still lace them up? What does the innersole look like?

Also, are you shoes dirty? Turns out that if you don’t clean your sneakers on a regular basis, you could be contributing to a shortened lifespan.

Pain or soreness from shoes that need to be replaced

As I mentioned at the top of this article, it was only after I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis that I learned my worn-out sneakers were partially to blame. In case you didn’t know, plantar fasciitis is pain in your foot and heel caused from swelling along the plantar fascia, whic runs along the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes.

However, foot pain is hardly the only place you might feel pain or discomfort when your shoes are worn out. You might feel it in your hips, low back, buttocks or legs.

If you feel any of this and haven’t been in an accident or changed up your workout routine, then I would recommend looking at your shoes. Go back to the questions we asked earlier: Do they need to be replaced? When was the last time you bought new shoes?

Final thoughts on replacing running shoes

I realize that running shoes are not cheap. Then again, your health and well being is worth wearing good shoes. My plantar fasciitis physical therapy ended up costing a lot of money — expenses I could have avoided if I’d replaced my sneakers more often.

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