Over time, running shoes lose their ability to absorb shocks, properly cushion steps, and support arches. If you continue to run in old sneakers, it increases the stress and impact on your legs and joints, which is a surefire way to develop shin splints, stress fractures, or other overuse injuries. You're supposed to replace sneakers after 300 to 500 miles, but that's not too helpful if you're not keeping track of mileage and can't remember the date you bought your last pair.
Depending on how hard you are on your shoes, you'll know it's time to buy a new pair when you notice they are becoming too loose, you feel joint or muscle pain while running or after you run, or they're obviously worn with fray or holes. The bottom line is go by how they feel, and if they are not as comfortable or as supportive as you think they should be, it's time to go shopping!
Keep the old pair around for dirty house projects or weekend errands, or, even better, donate them — it's Earth Month after all!
Learn where you can donate your shoes after the break!
- Soles4Souls: This company collects new and used shoes and donates them to those in need. You can donate your used pair at one of these drop-off box locations. Or you can host a shoe drive, collect gently used shoes from your area, and ship them off to Soles4Souls.
- One World Running: This nonprofit has been serving runners around the world since 1986. Through collection programs, One World Running is able to provide new and "near-new" shoes for runners in many Third World countries. Check out these drop-off locations.
- Nike Reuse a Shoe: Nike will take all brands of sneakers that are beyond "gently worn" and turns those old shoes into a recycled product known as Nike Grind. Once your recycled shoes are reformulated into Nike Grind, they are used to make tracks, indoor basketball courts, fields, and playgrounds. Just drop off your retired sneakers at any Nike store, or check here for locations.
- Shoe4Africa: Sometimes we try out a new pair of sneakers and realize they're not for us. If you have a pair that has at least 100 miles left in them, mail them to Africa to help prevent the spread of disease.
Source: Flickr User Don Jamiesrabbits