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Can I race in my training shoes?

You can race in training shoes if they are still alive.

Shoes don’t last forever. And when they’re dead, they’re done. That’s a fact that doesn’t occur to everyone. Those that do realize it, have some questionable ways of deciding when a shoe needs to be replaced.

Some will look at the outsole to see if the treads are well-worn. Or they’ll look for tears and holes in the upper.

Those inspections aren’t helpful.

Others count the miles that they run in the shoe. But running-mileage doesn’t include time spent simply standing and walking around in the shoes. Bodyweight kills midsoles—regardless of what the body is doing. That’s why a nurse will kill shoes much faster than a Marathon runner.

Here’s what you should look for:

Alive training shoes

training shoes

Alive shoes compress when you land and then rebound to their original heights, more or less. That compression followed by rebound contributes a lot to the new-shoe feel. So after you buy a new shoe, just stand on it before you do whatever you’re going to do, every time you put them on. Rock back and forth and feel the shoe. In the beginning, the shoe will feel like new every time.

Dead training shoes

A dying shoe rebounds less and less. The shoe will gradually feel less bouncy. It will feel harder, more rigid, and less flexible. Eventually, it doesn’t rebound much at all. That’s when it will feel flat…like it’s dead. You won’t enjoy wearing them and your feet may even start to feel tired. Those are not the shoes to toe the line in!


training shoes

If you wear running shoes with any regularity, you can expect them to last about 6 months. If you wear them 8-12 hours daily, throughout the week, they will probably be dead in 2-3 months.

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Phil Clark