Ask the Coach – When do I get new shoes?

Ask the Coach – When do I get new shoes?

I just purchased a new pair of running shoes, which reminded me of Kevin’s recent question: “How soon before a half-marathon should I get a new pair of shoes?”

Proper running shoes are critical to any runner or triathlete, and shoes should definitely be considered a consumable product. How soon you purchase new shoes before an event depends on the condition of your current pair of shoes. The general rule of thumb is to replace running shoes every 300-500 miles. How much you run, where you run, your weight, and your running mechanics also play a role in when you will need to get new shoes.

Shoes these days are high quality and shouldn’t really need “breaking in,” although I find mine most comfortable for longer distances about three weeks after purchase. (I’m usually running about three times a week.) I can tell I wear my shoes down on the shorter end of the mileage recommendation, and usually need to replace them about every three months or about 300 miles. (I do probably average 20-25 miles per week during half-ironman training). How can I tell I am ready for new shoes? My shins start to hurt. I have a moderately heavy stride and run a tad flat-footed (working on this!) rather than mid-to-forefoot, so I wear out the support a little quicker than most. Ideally I would get new shoes BEFORE any pain sets in!

Here are some general rules of thumb on determining you might need new running shoes:

  • Pain that wasn’t there before (shin, calf, hips)
  • You have more than 500 miles on your shoes
  • The tread is worn
  • There are creases in the support cushioning
  • They just don’t “feel” the same and you aren’t liking it
Even though I have a “go-to” shoe that I know works for me, I usually will try on several other brands just to make sure there isn’t a better fit out there. Sometimes manufacturers change their models so a shoe that worked for you last year, might not work for you this time. With regards to shoe shopping, everyone’s feet are different so it is best to find the shoes that fits you the best, not necessarily the brand that others are recommending. Over time you’ll learn how much cushioning and support you like and need and will be able to use shoe reviews as a guide, but always go with what is most comfortable to you.

Here are some more details on how to go running shoe-shopping.

Coach Nicole is the author of The Triathlete’s Guide to Race Week. She is also the founder and head coach for NEO Endurance Sports & Fitness, a Colorado-based endurance sport coaching company. She is a USAT Level 1 Certified Coach and also coaches triathlon for Team In Training. Learn more at You can contact Coach Nicole with your questions for the Ask the Coach column on facebooktwitter or via email at
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Nicole Odell


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