Extending The Life Of Your Running Shoes

Here’s a secret i and some others have been doing to extend the life of our running shoes.

I’m basically a heel striker although i’ve recently switched to midfoot running to improve my form and ease-off the pounding on my heels which recently had been injured. Still, it’s in the outer heel area of my shoes’ outsole that’s the most worn down and i’ve done a remedy that has minimized its scraping wear and has extended all of my shoes’ life considerably.

We as runners tend to look at the outsoles first (the black rubberized material that directly makes contact with the ground) to determine the shoes’ over-all condition and it’s a factor whether the shoe, after using it for say, 700 kms should already be discarded.

Now, for those who are heel strikers and tend to wear the outer heel part of their shoes easily, here’s what i do:

  • I break-in my brand-new shoe, use them in my training runs, races, etc. until they have reached 100kms.
  • It’s during this time (100kms) that i notice the shoes’ outer heel showing a slight wear, abrasion and de-compression.
  • I bring the shoe to my local shoe repair shop and have that part reinforced by adding a piece of rubber sole, twice the size of a regular plastic tap (Boston) which the shoemaker shapes and glues to that part of the heel where the wear is evident. (Please see pictures below).
  • The piece of rubber is shaped to contour with the edges of the heel. It’s like a plastic or rubber tap nailed to the heel part of a leather shoe.

The rubber sole tap. The repairman covered the whole left-right heel portions and this was made after running 100 kms.

Another view of the reinforced rubber sole tap

So, why do i have to run at least 100kms before i have the shoe reinforced? It’s because i don’t want to alter the shoes’ balance and equilibrium, the way the manufacturers designed it to be while i’m using it new. Well, this is just how i feel it should be, maybe you would want to have a re-tap outrightly after you buy it brand new so, it’s totally up to you.

This rubber tap is much, much better than applying Shoe-Goo which rubs off easily.

An old running shoe that has already 800 kms to it. The midsole still feels ok and the reinforced heel taps could still support the heel area.

In my experience, you can reasonably expect to get an additional 150-200 kms to your shoes’ life expectancy of 600 to 700 kms, depending still on many variables such as your weight, stride mechanics, the type of surface you run on and the durability of your shoes’ midsole.

The price for this simple piece of rubber? P40.00 to P60.00/pair including labor! Having it repaired at Mr. Quickie should cost you more but your neighborhood shoe repair stand can do the job as well.

So, when does a running shoe outlive its use?  If you can feel some brittleness in the cushion, sponginess of the support system, when the white part of the outsole (midsole) is already showing and have logged more than 800 kilometers on it, it’s time to reward yourself with a new one!

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