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Q&A: When to Get New Shoes Before a Big Race

My shoes are good now, but I’m concerned they will be worn out by race day. When do you recommend that I get new shoes?


When it comes to running shoes, the general recommendation is to replace shoes every 300-500 miles. Keeping within this time frame prevents excessive wear, which can lead to injury. Worn out shoes can still have that new look on the outside, but if you look on the tread you can see that they are actually worn down. Worn treads can lead to heel and toe pain and discomfort, especially after long runs.

When purchasing new shoes before race day, try to leave enough time—about three to four weeks—to  break them in adequately. Before running in them for the first time, it’s a good idea to wear them around the house or walk outside with them, to get your feet adjusted to them. Doing this prevent blisters and other skin irritation. You can also prevent blisters by making sure to have dry socks that fit snugly and don’t bunch. Running specialty stores sell running socks that are form-fitting and allow your feet to breathe, preventing excess sweat from building up in your shoes.


Michael Silverman

Michael Silverman, PT, MSPT, USATF-1, is a physical therapist at Hospital for Special Surgery’s James M. Benson Sports Rehabilitation Center, specializing in rehabilitation for runners and other performance athletes. He has a special interest in running-form analysis, which he performs at the Tisch Performance Center at Hospital for Special Surgery. 

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