How long do you run in your shoes?

This seems to be the eternal runners’ question. How long do you keep your shoes for? Strava has this nice little shoe section that allows you to put your shoes in a select the correct pair for the run you went on. The default setting is 250 miles! I don’t know anyone who only runs 250 miles in their shoes before buying a new pair.

My rule of thumb for Hokas is 400 miles, and if they still feel good after that, I go to 500 miles. Many different types of shoes and shoe soles greatly impact your shoes’ wear. I am going to generalize into four categories, minimalist, neutral, cushy, and performance.

Minimalist

I will qualify for the minimalist shoes and something like Vibrams with either no cushioning or very little cushioning to wear out. I have had a pair of Vibrams for 7 years now, and I have no idea how many miles I have on them. Probably very little, and I am not sure how they can get worn out other than putting holes in them.

Neutral

I will group this into normal shoes but not the super cushion shoes like New Balance Fresh foam or Hoka Bondi. I think these middle of the pack shoes can be worn for 500 miles, but I will add that I have had the experience of shoes that try to correct some pronation, and after a certain mileage, this can give you IT band issues.

Cushy

Hoka started this maximalist craze with their original Bondi, and I got on board about eight years ago. I went from minimalist to neutral to full-on running on marshmallows. I love running in Hokas, but the downside is they wear out quickly, and it seems the plusher the foam, the faster they wear out. The other observation I have is when you wear through the harder rubber and get into the foam, it exponentially wears more quickly. For example, my left outside back corner of my shoe drags at the end of longer runs. As I get tired, the more I shuffle and drag, especially my back left foot. Once I get through the 3/8 inch of rubber, it will wear faster. I extend the life of my shoes by dabbing on some ShoeGoo. I learned this trick from my dad, who used it to extend the life of his New Balance Waffle shoes in the 1970s. I tend to replace my Hokas at 400 miles.

Performance

The new craze for running shoes is super lightweight performance shoes with a carbon plate. I don’t have a lot of personal experience with these shoes, but I have been told they do not last long as regular running shoes. I am told that you should run only races in your VaporFlys to keep them responsive and fresh. I have seen anywhere from 150-300 miles before replacing these shoes.

Brent W. Peterson

Commerce running, talking geek

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