Tip of the day: Remembering to retire your running shoes


The other day I had a minor epiphany.  I realized that somehow along the way I had forgotten to retire my current pair of running shoes.  I normally try and aim for about 500 miles per pair before recycling them to the running gods and beating in a new pair.  Of course, one could be more technical about retirement decisions and look at wear and rubber depth on the shoes…but honestly I was never very good at the whole judging anything to do with shoes thing.  Be it running shoes or dress shoes.

So instead I just track mileage.  And since I track runs in a training log, it’s super easy.  Virtually every log program out there has a ‘equipment’ option that allows you to create, assign and then track equipment.  Some are more full featured and even allow you to track components of the equipment, like specific mileage for tires on the bike.

The only problem is remembering to look at said odometer every once in a while.  And by ‘while’, I mean ‘sometime this year’.  By default, Training Peaks keeps track of my shoes for me. That means that when I open a box of new shoes I simply go into Training Peaks, create a new shoe and assign it a number.  From there I then retire the old shoe both physically and virtually.  This ensure that any new runs are automatically assigned to the new shoes.  Pretty much all training log programs work the same ways.


The issue being that this whole concept really only works if I actually remember to look at the counter.  And that’s the situation that I found myself in recently.  Being it’s now April, and being that the last time I had remembered to look was…oh…August, things couldn’t have been good on the odometer front.

Luckily though, according to TP I’d only put in some 600 miles on this pair – which at first surprised me as I expected it to be closer to 1,000+ miles.  Then I realized that for better or worse with all the work travelling I did my running mileage was down quite a bit between October and January.

Finally, while I could use a two-shoe rotation system (which has many legit benefits, including reducing wear), that would require much more thinking.  It would also require me to swap back and forth my little Garmin footpod.  And require me to actually remember which shoe I used so I could update my new runs in the log appropriately.  So to me, that’s just three times more work that my little brain wants to do.  I’m a keep it simple kinda person.  That’s what my Dad taught me, it’s all about the KISS principle.

Speaking of KISS, I just buy the same pair of shoes year in and year out – two pairs at a time.  They just arrived last week, and life is great again on the footwear front!

Enjoy your weekend all!

Quick Product Testing Note: The new Polar RCX5 arrived on my doorstep early yesterday morning.  This is Polar’s latest running heart rate watch aimed at triathletes with GPS support.  Look for more details on that after my weekend training.  I’ll be doing a full bike through (and a little run) of the Rev3 Quassy Half-Iron course tomorrow morning (not because I’m racing it, just because I’ll be up there with family/friends and it’s less than half a mile from their place), so I’ll get a good bit of experience to jumpstart my review of it.  Look for a review in about 7-10 days or so.


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  1. SSB

    I have 4-5 different pair that I wear at any time (2-3 different models of the same brand) and when one starts to feel a little less comfortable I pitch it and rotate in a new pair. I think about logging my miles on them, or even just # runs, but can barely remember to download my garmin. If there were a way to do it in the garmin I could totally do it.

  2. I keep track of which Ghost 3’s I’m wearing by writing a number on the inside of the tongue using permanent marker. Now I just load the data to Garmin and look at the tongue to see which of the 3 pairs it was. Of course you have to be diligent about logging your data after each run ;)

  3. It is usually when some mysterious ache pops up that I go oh goodness it’s time for new shoes isn’t it…Still horrible about tracking it. New shoes are HEAVEN :)

  4. Anonymous

    Hi Rainmaker
    Please read the book “Born to run” from Christopher McDougall.
    In chapter 25 he says several important thing but one is ” … The more cushioned the shoe, the less protection it provides. …”
    Which means if you run more than 500 miles in your shoes the better they get.
    Which means you don’t need to buy new shoes so often.
    By the way this book is really mind opening.


  5. Kim

    i really need to start tracking the miles on my shoes. i just decided to retire the shoes i ran the marathon in because my big toe can almost poke through the top of the shoe, even though i only started wearing them in january!

  6. So I’ll point out the obvious that if you transfer your foot pod to the shoe you run in each time, if you alternate, you will always know which shoes you ran in last :-)

    (I haven’t rotated in a while, but when I have, the orthotics are the dead give away as to which ones I ran in last!)

  7. Argh. Right now I have 3 pairs of shoes each a different model (gt2150,kayano,kinvara). I’m new to running and was testing what fit my foot best.
    Ever since I got rid of training peaks and just use my lazy upload directly to garmin connect I havent tracked the mileage.
    Problem is I don’t rotate them equally (the footpod gives very different distances if I dont recalibrate it for the specific shoe!!!) and have probably the same mileage out of the kayano as the 2 other shoes combined….
    Next time I’ll just buy the exact same shoe like you do and not rotate.

  8. I’ve been doin the whole shoe rotation thing for a while now. I know the benefits, but I honestly haven’t gotten any more life out of the shoes – about 400 miles per pair (Brooks Ghost 2). SportTracks makes it pretty easy for tracking multiple pairs and I use a permanent marker on the actual shoe to indicate which shoe is which, since I’m on my 6th pair of the same shoes. If I had the footpod though, that would complicate things for calibration purposes, so it makes sense.

  9. Jiminy Cricket

    I also buy more than one pair of the same shoe and alternate between pairs. Using a permanent marker, I write the date I that I place the pair in service on the medial side of the midsole. This helps me distinguish between the pairs, and also reminds me each time I wear the shoes how long I have been using them.

  10. i have an excel sheet that has the miles of my shoes on them. sadly it doesn’t guarantee that i retire them when i should!

  11. Tracking milage is very easy on sporttracks! I got every km tracked since I started running. I even track milage on cloths and other items such as ipod and headphones ;) …. freak! … yes I know ;)