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Show Me Your Sole

A powerful and ancient proverb* states, “You better check yo’ self before you wreck yo’ self.” And you know what? The same thing goes for your running shoes. Ask me how I know.

I’ve always tried to stay on top of my running shoe situation. I track my mileage carefully (I use dailymile, but there are loads of apps that’ll do that for you). I take care to wear quality shoes that are built for the type of runner I am (mid- to forefoot striker as opposed to heel striker).

But, during a conversation with Coach Patrick a couple of weeks ago, I found a glaring hole in my plan. I never bothered to actually look at the bottoms of my shoes. Because when Patrick turned them over and caught a glimpse at what the sole near the ball of my foot had become, his jaw dropped.


“You’ve been wearing these? To run? Like, recently?” he asked. “Jeez, how many miles do you have on these things?”

I looked it up, and I was right around the 250-mile mark — enough to be getting ready for my next pair (which I already had on hand, but just hadn’t started to wear yet), but nowhere near the danger zone, I thought. I was way, way wrong.

Basically, the part of my shoe on which I land was … gone. Totally worn down. No tread, no nothing. The heel, however, looked nearly new.

So! Moral of the story is, even if you’re tracking the mileage on your equipment, keep an eye on the bottom of your shoes. Especially if you’re doing everything else you can to prevent or improve, let’s say, your arthritic knee situation, like some folks around here (*cough* me *cough*). It’s just silly to try to scrape an extra month or two out of an old pair of kicks if it could be sacrificing your comfort and joint health, right?

*Fine. It’s neither ancient nor particularly powerful. It’s from a 1992 Ice Cube song. Whatever — it’s still solid advice.

Go ahead — take a look at the bottoms of your running shoes and tell me what you see! —Kristen

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