#AskCoachCourtney: When should I buy a new pair of running shoes, and how do I know when they’re broken in enough to race?

Welcome to this edition of #askcoachcourtney: Your running questions answered by an RRCA certified coach and other experts/research!

Ah, the mystery of running shoes: When should you buy a new pair? How do you know which ones to buy? How can you tell if they’re broken in enough? How can you tell if they’re broken in a bit TOO much?

These are important questions considering that the wrong or old running shoes can cause pain and injury. Today, special guest Josh Boggs and I will give you the answers to some quintessential shoe questions.

Josh Boggs is a manager at the Youngstown location of Second Sole and the director of timing for Second Sole Racing. Plus, he was one of my picks for the very first Youngstown Marathon Foundation board (remember that time I started a marathon in my city?). I’ve worked with Josh myself to get my feet in the right shoes, so I knew he was the perfect person to help me answer your shoe questions.

First, it’s important to get a gait analysis through a running specialty store such as Second Sole or Fleet Feet. Second Sole performs a gait analysis during the fitting process, and according to Josh, “[A] gait analysis is important because it determines the type of shoe you should be running in.  Some people need support, others do not and some need a combination.”

Before I became serious about running, I admit that I bought shoes based on color. #sueme. When I ran through 40 weeks of pregnancy, though, I received multiple gait analyses. My arches suffered from an identity crisis! Throughout the pregnancy and through losing weight postpartum, I changed my shoes up quite a bit to keep myself comfortable and injury free.

According to Josh, shoes should be replaced every 300-500 miles depending on the amount of cushion in them. So, when you get that gait analysis, be sure to ask when the specific shoe you’re purchasing needs to be replaced according to mileage. Josh also says it’s important to purchase a shoe that meets your needs based on terrain: Some are better from treadmills, trails, road, etc.

And…if you’re like me, maybe you don’t track the miles on your shoes diligently (or at all…). I asked Josh to identify some of the signs that shoes need to be replaced aside from tracking the miles: “Worn soles, shoes that sit off to one side, and wear patterns are ways you can tell if a shoe is ready to be replaced.” That’s another thing a running specialty store can help you with: Identifying if you need a new pair now or later. If you don’t replace them when necessary, Josh pointed out that “Josh pointed out that “Multiple types of injuries can occur if shoes are not replaced when needed.  Most common injuries include plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, bone spurs, IT Band Syndrome, and knee, hip, and back injuries.”

Oh, and once you get those shiny new running shoes, Josh says it’s best to put 3-5 miles ONLY for the first couple of weeks. After that, enjoy increasing mileage and entering a more serious relationship with your kicks.

If you haven’t visited your local running store for a gait analysis, please do so before you start training for spring races. ProTip: A running specialty store is different than a sporting goods store. A sporting goods store might be able to assist you, but running specialty store (Second Sole, Fleet Feet, and others) is focused mostly on one sport: Running!

Special thanks to Josh for helping answer your questions! Josh is the president of the Siembida & Boggs Philanthropic Foundation. You can read more about Josh’s foundation here, and you can check out the hours to visit him for a shoe fitting by visiting the Second Sole website.

Happy running!

XOXO,

Court


Have a running question? #AskCoachCourtney! Fill out the contact form on this blog or send a DM through Instagram.

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