Do you love to run? Do you enjoy the freedom of the open road, the sound of the birds, the wind in your face and being alone with your thoughts?
If you answered yes to any of those questions then you will understand what I mean when I speak of your favourite pair of shoes. That pair that fits comfortably, are an extension of you and are a dream to run in – whether it is 5km around the block or an ultra marathon – your favourite pair of shoes are your preferred companions on the road towards the endorphin induced rush only a runner knows and loves.
But then, at some point, those beloved shoes that feel like heaven on your feet one moment suddenly feel different:
- You start experiencing pain in your foot arches
- Your calves are tight and stiff
- You have shin splints
- You begin to experience lower back pain
- There is rubbing and chafing on your feet and you start to get blisters
These are some of the common tell-tale signs that it is time to change your shoes. Sadly, after many kilometres together (generally 500km – 800km) our favourite companions need to be retired and replaced.
The average mileage one can do with a pair of shoes varies and depends on a few factors:
- The athlete’s height, build and weight
- The terrain the athlete prefers to run on
- The running style of the individual
A lady weighing 50kg with a height of 1,56m running on the smooth suburban asphalt road in her neighbourhood will get more mileage out of a pair of running shoes than a 1,8m, 80kg man who prefers to mix up his running between the road and some trails on the weekends.
When looking to replace your favourite pair of ON’ running shoes – here are some simple guidelines to follow:
- Consider your running style and how your foot strikes. Look at the Clouds at the heel, where your foot first strikes the ground for signs of wear or damage. In extreme cases of long wear, the clouds may actually become very soft.
- The Midsole of your shoe (the area supporting your midfoot and heel) is the area of the shoe that carries the most weight and impact during your run. To test whether the support in the midsole is no longer effective, try these 3 simple tests
- Step 1; with your thumb and forefinger – press down in the midsole area of the shoe, you are looking for some pushback against the compression you are applying. If there is no pushback, then the support is no longer effective.
- Step 2; try and push the toe of the shoe back towards the heel. This movement should not be easy to do. If the shoe just folds over, this is a good indication that it is time to change.
- Step 3; motion control is vital in your shoe when running, so twisting through the midsole is not what you want in your shoe. Hold your ON’s and try twist, you should not be able to do so. If your shoe twists easily, you can be sure the support is gone.
Test each shoe separately as you will find that your shoes will not wear evenly. Checking your shoes for wear about once a month is a good habit to get into.
Having determined that a new pair of running shoes is necessary, you will want to care for your brand new “babies” to extend their life and your running relationship. Consider buying a second pair if your budget allows it. Alternating between 2 pairs of running shoes allows your shoes to “breath and rest” between workouts thereby extending their life. Always untie your laces before removing them or when putting them on. This will prevent tearing the fabric around the heel area. Consider the socks you run in as these may over time rub up against the soft fabric of your shoes and cause unnecessary wear.
Finally put on those new ON shoes, step outside and RUN.
Article By: Ioanna Zografos