The Ultimate Guide To Breaking In New Running Shoes

For runners, there are few things more exciting than picking up a new pair of running shoes! And, while you might be itching to get out there and start pounding the pavement, it is important to take the time to break in your new running shoes!


But, what exactly does it mean to “break in” new running shoes?


Well, we aren’t actually breaking in the shoes, we’re breaking in ourselves! Properly breaking in your running shoes is important to reducing the risk of injury, including more minor irritations like blisters. The bottom line is that although our feet are incredibly adaptable, you have to give them time to adjust!


In this blog post, we’ll cover tips for breaking in new running shoes, as well as some things you’ll want to consider before you lace up your shoes and hit the ground running.

How Often Should You Get New Running Shoes

We won’t pretend that there is a one-size-fits-all answer to the lifespan of running shoes. However, in general, the standard lifespan of road running shoes ranges between 300 and 500 miles. Again, this lifespan is contingent on several factors which can include everything from the surface you run on to your running style, body weight, and the weight of your running shoes.


So, if there is no one-size-fits-all rule for the lifespan of running shoes, how is one supposed to know when it’s time for a new pair of shoes?


Seasoned runners often use technology like Strava to keep track of the distance they’re running and the shoes they’re wearing. This trick makes it extremely easy for runners to keep track of the life of their running shoes, even when rotating a few pairs of shoes.


Another strategy, which is significantly more intuitive than using technology, is to assess how you’re feeling during and after your run. If you’re suddenly experiencing new and unexplained aches and pains or muscle fatigue while running, it could be a sign that you need new running shoes. Other signs are more obvious like uneven or worn out treads, fraying inside the shoe, and a collapsed heel counter.


In general, it’s a good idea when your running shoes are beginning to wear out to go get a new pair right away! If you wait too long, the damage is already done. Think of it like an oil change, stay regular with getting it changed and the engine (or you) will run forever! However, neglecting the timing of the oil changes and running it too long without a change will create an unhealthy engine in years to come. We recommend keeping two pairs on hand (one getting old and one new) so that you always have a better experience waiting in the wings right there in your own closet! 

What to Consider Before Breaking In New Running Shoes

Now that we’ve covered how long running shoes last, it’s important to note a few important factors you’ll want to consider before breaking in your new running shoes. 


Firstly, you’ll want to consider the brand and make of your new running shoes. If your new running shoes are the same model as the ones you’re currently wearing, then they aren’t likely to need a break-in period - good news for runners who loathe this adjustment period! The reason they won’t require the same break in that a different model will is because your feet are already accustomed to the cushioning, shape, and support that they provide. 


On the other hand, if the fit is correct you shouldn’t have to ‘break-in’ the shoe. Whenever you change running shoes, you can expect it to take time to adjust to them. Even though our bodies are smart and incredibly adaptable, it's important to avoid sudden changes! Even subtle differences can affect your gait and disrupt your stride, so you must give yourself time to adjust. For example, if you switch to shoes with a lower heel-to-toe drop (the elevation difference in the heel over the toe) there may be muscle groups that are challenged by the lower drop. This will inevitably take some time to adjust to, as it significantly changes our posture while we’re running, namely the posterior chain from the heel to the back. 

How To Break In New Running Shoes

Congratulations on the new running shoes! Now, time for the part we all loathe, breaking them in. But first, don’t throw out your old running shoes yet, you’re going to need them until your new ones are ready to wear. 


Here are our tips for breaking in your new running shoes and avoiding both discomfort and even injury! 


First, and probably the one you’re most familiar with, wearing your running shoes around the house! We get it, you’ve probably been told this tip a million times, but the truth is that it’s an important part of the breaking in process. By wearing your new running shoes at home, you’ll have the opportunity to notice any immediate issues. These could be areas where the shoes rub which could lead to blisters, or even the need to swap your socks for something thinner or thicker!


Next, if you have a treadmill at home or access to a gym with a treadmill, it's recommended that you take your shoes for a test run here before taking them outside. Running on a treadmill will help you learn how the shoes perform. 


If your new running shoes pass the treadmill test, it's time to take them outdoors! It’s normal for your running shoes to feel different at first, but after a while your feet will adjust and feel good to go! 


At Newsole Running, we allow customers to run on our treadmill, run down the sidewalk, and walk around the store as much as possible to get a good feel of the shoe. 


Some will say, “I won’t know until I run 5 miles in them tomorrow.” 


No worries! At Newsole Running, you have 30 days to see if the shoes work for you or not. Regardless of us recommending this shoe for you and the fit feeling great in the store, bring it back within 30 days and we will find you the one that will be better for you or you will be fully refunded.


Important! If you develop blisters or feel pain or discomfort, you should pause your running session to avoid injury. It’s possible that the shoes just aren’t right for you. And, even if you develop blisters or discomfort on day 29, bring them back and we will swap them or refund you without hesitation.


If you’ve bought your shoes online and you think they might be the wrong size, refer to our last blog post about how your running shoes should fit. Signs your shoes might be the wrong size could include rubbing, pain at the end of your toes (particularly your big toes), slipping of the foot inside the shoe, or restricted movement/articulation. 


Alternatively, it’s possible that you’ve just progressed too quickly and that your feet haven’t had enough time to adapt to your new shoes. If that’s the case, we recommend walking in your shoes and taking short runs until you’ve had time to adjust to the level of support and stability your new running shoes provide.

How long does it take to break in new running shoes?

In general, you should give yourself between two and three weeks to adjust to your new running shoes. When you’re used to wearing running shoes with a certain amount of stiffness, support, and flexibility, changing up those variables can throw off your typical running cadence. Even something as simple as a thicker tread can take time to adjust to, as it requires you to lift your feet higher off the ground with each stride! 


The key to breaking in new running shoes is to try to enjoy the process and practice patience. Your body will adapt with time!


Buying new running shoes can be very exciting. And, that often means that the crucial phase of breaking them in takes a back seat to the excitement of hitting the pavement. Yet, this process is vital for preventing injuries and ensuring optimal comfort. Understanding the lifespan of your running shoes, tracking their mileage, and recognizing signs of wear are essential considerations. Transitioning to a new shoe model requires patience, as even subtle differences can impact your gait. 


Follow our tips for breaking in your new running shoes, from wearing them around the house to testing them on a treadmill before conquering the great outdoors. Embrace the adjustment period, and your feet will thank you in the long run. Discover our running shoes online today at Newsole Running and feel free to contact us if you have any questions!