I have to say I have never had to think about do running shoes have a shelf life before…
I mean, I am normally so excited to get out there and test them out.
However, recently I started to look at a subscription model of buying running shoes through a company called Atreyu.
And I just wondered if I did not wear the shoes for a while, is there a lifespan for running shoes?
Plus, if sometimes you want to perhaps buy your favourite running shoe at a rock bottom price and buy 5 pairs at a time, you aren’t going to be wearing all 5 at once.
So that then begs the question…
Do Running Shoes Have A Shelf Life.
Well, yes, they do; it’s not something many of us running shoe hungry runners have to worry about, but because the
running shoes a predominantly made with rubber outsoles and have foam midsoles that help runners have a less jarring and smoother running experience; however, both these materials, by their nature, will deteriorate over time.
When uses, this deterioration comes about because of use, and that’s when we will often find the shoes feeling less springy or supportive and purchase another pair.
However, if left in storage and unused, deterioration will occur due to the types of material used.
How Long Do Running Shoes Last If Not Used And Stored?
So if you do have not to use your new running shoes, how long would they last?
Well, it’s not like the shoes would melt away; however, over a 6, to 12 month period of no use, a reduction of shoe performance does occur as the microbubbles within the foam base of the shoes, which can be seen under magnification that are within the rubber sole, begin to reduce.
Some runners depending on their ability and weight, may not notice this degradation of performance. Still, it may mean a less comfortable running experience or perhaps even a slightly increased risk of injury to others.
It needs to be said even when buying running shoes we are planning to wear and run in straight away, there is no real way of knowing how long those shoes have been in storage, especially if an older model.
What To Do To Slow Down Unused Running Shoe Deterioration.
Just keep them away from extremes of heat or humidity, store them indoors, and that should slow any decline in the shoes.
A Reality Check About Do Running Shoes Go Bad?
Look, while the above is true, I have to say I have shoes from as far back as 2012 in my cupboard at home, and if I had to run in them, they would be fine.
Not perfect, not great … But fine.
And this is my point; it really comes down to your expectations from a shoe as to you will notice or care if a shoe’s performance has been reduced by being in storage for 3 months plus.
How Long Do Running Shoes Last When Used?
Yet again, you have industry recommendations depending on the shoe from as little as 200 miles up to 500 miles.
Many maximalist running shoes have recommended milage of 300-400 miles
I recently wrote a blog post about a pair of On shoes that I ran over 700 miles in and actually only retired at just over 1000 miles.
If you are interested here is my review of 700 miles in my Cloudflyer 2s
Is the above recommended, no not really,
is it possible? Yes, it is.
A lot will depend on the shoe originally purchased—you as a runner and your expectations of the shoe.
Let me explain.
The Type Of Shoe You Purchase.
Some shoes by design are made to last longer or less time based on their cost and materials used, so sometimes, if you want to get extra mileage out of a shoe, it’s worth investing that little bit more money.
You As A Runner.
What type of runner are you? Do you really hit the ground hard? Do you road run, or do you mainly trail run?
Are you a pretty heavy set or a more lightweight runner?
What’s your foot type?
All of the above will determine how much or little punishment you put your running shoes under and, in turn, how many miles you will get from them.
Your Expectations Of The Running Shoe.
This is important; if you like a maximalist running shoes feel to your running shoes with good midsole cushioning and support levels, you will be aware earlier on in the shoe life that some of those features of the shoe are not performing to such a high level.
However, if you are more minimalist in running performance as the above factors become less effective, it may not bother you as much as a runner.
I tend to fall into this second category.
Even though I could see wear on my ONs, and compared to my recently purchased ONs, it’s quite noticeable that performance reduction was not a major issue for me or my body, so that’s why I ran 1000 miles in them.
However, that s not to say that’s recommended if you need more support and cushioning, so your running shoe life is maybe 300 miles or so.
Why Change Running Shoes At All?
This question runs through my head when I have a pair of running shoes I love.
When is the right time to change running shoes?
However, in the end, even if my needs from the shoes are pretty basic, I start to feel a reduction in performance that manifests itself in more tired legs and more risk of injury.
Of course, every runner will be different in this aspect and at what mileage they replace shoes.
However, it would be best if you changed running shoes because, like everything, in the end, it wears out and becomes ineffectual.
I will say is often the manufacturer’s recommendations have to be taken with a pinch of salt as for obvious reasons they are in the business of you buying new shoes and are looking for you to replace running shoes.
First Signs Of Wear In Running Shoes.
So what are the first signs of wear in a pair of running shoes that might mean it’s time to start thinking of a new pair?
Toe Box Wear And Tear.
The toe box in a running shoe is a key area of a shoe that supports the foot and, of course, protects the toe area of the foot.
If the toe box becomes degraded, this can mean less support for the upper part of the foot and less protection for the toes.
Reduced Cushioning -Midsole.
When you experience cushioning in a running shoe its comes from the midsole cushioning, which is a form of foam; of course, different shoe brands have different names for it. However, it’s there to reduce impact, act as a shock absorption mechanism, and make you run more comfortable and less impact your body.
When you start to feel this reducing, this can be a sign of diminishing effectiveness of your shoes, and it might be time to purchase another pair.
The Outsole-Bottom Of Shoe
It is the part of the rubber at the bottom of your running shoes, this part of your shoe gets the most impact from the ground you are running on and helps give you grip.
If doing trail running, your outsole becomes of paramount importance due to the need for grip on uneven surfaces, and this would be another indicator that perhaps it was time for new running shoes if you felt that grip and traction reducing.
Bottom line change running shoes when you feel that they are not supporting you in the way that works for you as an individual runner.
Replace running shoes if they no longer are helping you avoid unnecessary stresses and strains on your body.
No one runner is the same, so the above is just a guide because runners have their own running style, that it is best to listen to your own body.