We all know that nagging pain in our shins and calves. It is the little voice in your muscles saying, "Hey you, yes you, it is time to buy new shoes." (Always listen!)
The midsole in a running or athletic shoe is engineered to break down over time. Really smart people at Nike, Brooks, Saucony, etc. have spent their entire careers designing shoes to help you reach your goals. They, of course, want you to look good, but more importantly, need you to FEEL GOOD while doing it.
How do you know they are 'the one?'
There is something called the "first feel". This is the really cushy feeling you get when you first slip on a pair of new shoes. There is a science to getting you to choose one shoe over another. This feeling goes away in about two weeks when you regularly work out in your shoes. Remember that your shoes should be comfortable from the moment you put them on—you DO NOT have to break in running shoes (as some may think). The happiest runs should be when you first open the new box and slip those puppies on your feet.
So how do you tell when you need a new pair of goal-stomping kicks?
Flip your shoe over and press on the spot where the ball of your foot strikes with your thumbs. If this part of the shoe proves to be very soft or easily pushes in, it means it's time to invest in a new pair of wheels. If you're a numbers person, a good rule of thumb is to replace your running shoes every 300-400 miles. With that said, this number depends on your running style, body weight, surface on which you run and type of shoe. Some may need to throw in the towel sooner than others (if you're unsure, any specialty running store near by can help you).
Think about it this way: If your body is a car, your shoes are the wheels. If your shoes are very soft, it's like driving on bald tires. In turn, your shoes won't be able to absorb the shock that you produce when you're running on the treadmill, taking Body Attack or smashing box jumps.
Bottom line, if you start feeling pains in your legs, it's time to move on to a new pair. It's important to make sure you are protecting your muscles, especially if you have a race coming up in the near future.
We want a smile on your face while you are crushing those goals and crossing that finish line.