You’re supposed to replace running shoes every 480 to 800 kilometres, the running shoe companies tell us. If you follow their recommendations, you’ll be throwing out shoes that may still look brand-new. How do you know if you really need a new pair? Turns out there’s a quick hack that will answer your question.
It’s as simple as this: order yourself a brand-new pair of the shoes you love. (Same model, same size, if you’re smart.) Then try on one of the new shoes, and put its elderly counterpart on your other foot.
If the difference between the two is night and day, it’s time to trash your old shoes, recycle them, or retire them to lawn-mowing duty. If they feel about the same, or close enough, keep on wearing the old ones a bit longer. How big a difference is significant? Let your feet tell you. If you don’t mind the one that feels a bit flatter, the choice is up to you. Eventually, your old shoes will get so beat-up that the new pair feels like heaven by comparison.
You can do this test in a shoe store if you don’t want to shell out for the new shoes, but I like to actually order a pair. First, it’s safer to buy online during a pandemic (feel free to pick them up curbside from your local running store). But more importantly, you’re going to need those new shoes someday, if not right now.
I like to keep an eye out for end-of-season sales and buy a spare pair when the price is right, which I then keep in the back of the closet until it’s needed. Then you’ll always have a new pair at the ready, and you can do this comparison any time you like.