Friday, September 30, 2011

Fitness Friday- Shoe wear patterns

Do you remember when you first decided to get serious about running and were told that if you take your old running shoes into your local running store that they could look at the wear pattern and tell more about your foot strike and what would best be suited for you?!?

Well I do! Now what I HAVEN'T done is repeat that step for every pair, I think this is due to the fact that I just assumed that the way you run is the way you run, so why have the 'experts' take a second look?

Originally when I started to get back into running, the first thing that would wear down was the lateral sides of both toe boxes- both feet were worn evenly and thats just how it was for awhile. The other day I was debating on if I should pack my new running shoes (worn them on about 5 runs) for my half this upcoming Sunday in California. My co-worker who knows quite a bit about running asked to see the shoes and we both started laughing instantly...

I had never noticed until I took a closer look, but my left heel was completely worn down- I'm talking can see the main layer of the shoe because that little black rubber piece is gone- WOW. The crazy part was that the right heel was COMPLETELY in tact. (sorry no photo)

So I was brainstorming what would cause this and the most logical explanation I could come up with is that my RIGHT IT BAND is the one that has been acting up, maybe now i'm OVER compensating and landing harder on my left?!?! Why don't I haven't any pain then in my left side because of this?!?!

any other thoughts or explanations???

This leads me to my more important question to all of you:
What causes us to change our running gait / foot strike over time??! 
maybe I'm solo on this and everyone else remains the same, but I'm curious to know why I've changed. 

How do we know when, although we like our shoe, its time to re-evaluate to a different model based on our change?
When I return to Tennessee, I plan on taking my shoes into Fleet Feet to see what their opinion is.

So I did end up just taking my newer model Saucony ProGrid Guides with my to Cali for my race, I figure that I've ran a few 5 mile runs in them as well as worn them to work 3x, that should be enough breaking in... or at the very least better than running sans left heel?!?!  Which leads me to my last question:

How do you determine how much 'breaking in' is appropriate to transition your new shoes  to be worthy of a race?
This piece I'm struggling with, any feedback is appreciated. I generally go by feel and if the new / stiffness feeling has transitioned to more of a contouring to my foot kind of feel. 


  1. I definitely check the bottom of my shoes for wear patterns, but your story sounds crazy! Make sense about your IT band though. I think if you have worn the new shoes 3x already for runs they should be ok, but normally I would want to wear them more first!

  2. I always look at my running shoes for wear patterns. I haven't seen any significant changes, but I expect to on my current pair as I am now doing the Chi Running technique and no longer heel striking.

    good luck with your race.

  3. I look at the bottoms of mine, and it's amazing, but they wear very minimally and very evenly. Slow and steady must work for me!

    I knew it was time for new shoes when I was getting heel pain after my long runs. I have very sensitive heels and need good cushioning. Once the cushion wears out, my heels let me know!

    I used my newer pair of shoes for my marathon. Maybe only ran in them about 5-10 times and they worked great. I think shoe technology is so good now that you only need a couple runs to really 'break them in'.

  4. I have the wear pattern checked about every other shoe. Don't know why I started doing that but I'm glad I did. The last pair of shoes I retired had a noticeably different wear pattern and I changed shoes. Love them!

    The owner of a local running store and club said about 50 miles on a new pair of shoes before a race that is a half or longer. I use that as a general guideline.

    Good luck and enjoy the race!

  5. I know this is not a very technical answer, but when I get new shoes, I alternate for my first couple weeks with my old ones and then as long as my new shoes are not rubbing or causing blisters or soreness, I go for it. I would say maybe 5-10 runs is a good estimate.

    I do not take my shoes in for a gait analysis.

  6. I look at the bottoms of my shoes to see wear but not real hard. I know that for me I changed running form when I was lifting weights. My legs were stronger so my gait changed. When I had IT band issues my gait changed again. So I have had several different support shoes throughout the years.

  7. I think strength and conditioning changes can change your gait. Also, if you have any imbalances or acquire any imbalances, that could do it too I'll bet. I alternate shoes when I get new ones. Hope the race rocks :)

  8. Want my expert advice?

    I have NONE! These are all questions I have, too!