Despite having an obscene number of running shoes I always find myself reaching for the same pair - my 361 Spinject trainers. They're responsive, versatile and the bright orange colour brings a little punch to my day! Wherever my run takes me I know that these trainers are going to do the job, which is probably why they're now knackered!
I'm really gutted, and it's very tempting to keep wearing them, but that's probably not the best idea. Worn out running shoes are less supportive and protective than a fresh pair of kicks, which leaves you open to an increased risk of injury because the integrity of the shoe has broken down. And the last thing I want right now is an injury.
So how do you know when it's time to upgrade? Well, other than when a new colour-way get's released (I wouldn't mind the Spinject in black, just saying!). There are all sorts of estimates out there for how long your shoes should last (somewhere between 500km and 750km), but I prefer to keep an eye on the condition of my shoes. We're not talking superficial stains here (although don't you wish your shoes would stay box fresh forever?!), but wear that'll affect the integrity of the shoe. Things like whether the outer sole has worn through, whether the midsole compresses easily under pressure, any asymmetry in the wear and whether the tread has worn down and is smooth. I look at the upper, is there fraying, have I worn through at the heel or the toe box, how are the sides of the shoe?
For me a sure sign that I need to change up my shoes is that a blister appears on my instep. Seriously, it surprises me every time, and then I remember that it's because my shoes are worn out. It's worth keeping an eye on things and seeing there are any patterns when it comes to foot injuries - blisters that appear in the same place every time, toe nail damage, all that lovely stuff - it could be your feet trying to tell you something!
Finally I think about where I've been running. The type of terrain you run on is a huge factor when it comes to how long your shoes will last. I try to wear shoes designed for the terrain I'm running on - so trail shoes for trail, road shoes for road - but my runs don't always pan out as expected. A path might be a track, a trail might appear somewhere unexpected, I might need to make up miles on a playing field, so my shoes will take a beating that they might not be designed for. My most recent pair of Spinject trainers ended up taking me along trails in Menorca, which no doubt caused them to wear a bit sooner than expected!
When you're a runner your feet are your tools. While I don't really advocate new shoes for the sake of it (unless they're really pretty, sometimes these things need to be done), you can't assume you can wear the same pair for years if your running regularly. Your shoes are your tools. They help you stay on your feet injury free, protect you when you're on the move and support you to go beyond your expectations, so when they're past it be kind and allow them a happy retirement!
How often do you change your running shoes?
*I'm an ambassador for 361 Europe and I love that they keep me kitted out but as always all opinions are my own.
**images: Anna Rachel Photography