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Do Running Shoes Break Down Even When You're Not Using Them?

Is It OK to Stock Up on Running Shoes?

I'm very particular about the type of shoes I choose to run in, so if they're ever (miraculously!) on sale, I'm always tempted to stock up on a few pairs. Similarly, if I see an older version of my shoes on a clearance rack, I want to grab them right away. But every time I think about it, I remember reading somewhere that running shoes start to age as soon as they're produced. You know you're supposed to replace your shoes every 350-500 miles, but is it possible that your shoes can also age if they're just sitting on a store shelf, or even in your closet?

I have no idea where I read or heard this sneaker tale, so to get to the bottom of this issue I called a friend at Jack Rabbit Sports, a favorite NYC running store, and a great resource for running information. While they were adamant about replacing shoes based on mileage and wear (yep, that 350-500 miles rule came up again), they see no problem with stocking up on your favorite pair of sneaks. In fact, according to Jack Rabbit, "Keeping a new pair of shoes in the box for a few months will not affect the performance of the shoes."

That is excellent news for me, and anyone else who loves a good deal. While it's important to make sure to choose the proper running shoe, once you've found a pair you're comfortable in, it's OK to grab a second (or third!) pair to stash in the closet. Just be sure to try each pair on, even if it's the exact same shoe, since the manufacturing process may cause slight differences in each pair produced.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
inlove23 inlove23 7 years
I personally have a ton of running shoes from being a high school athlete, so I mix them up depending on what I am doing. I use my track shoes (thin on bottoms, but no spikes) when inside, my extra supportive ones the majority of the time, and another pair that are also pretty good when I plan on getting dirty.
socalbeachgal socalbeachgal 7 years
When I find a pair of shoes that fit and it goes on sale I will buy another pair or two since I have a really hard time finding shoes since I have small, fat feet and the newer models of the same shoe never seem to fit the same way.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I don't stock up on running shoes, mostly because that would be really expensive. I suppose you could probably keep them for a year or two in a closet before they start to maybe break down somewhat.
rebelkate rebelkate 7 years
I always have alternated my running shoes. It does help the midsole to recover as well as gives my shoes a chance to breathe and dry out from my sweaty feet! Also living in the Pacific NW if you don't run when it's raining, well you will almost never get out for a run! Need to let the shoes dry out from the puddles.......
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
SKG - I used to alternate two different pairs, but since I bought custom orthotics, I find that I'm too lazy to constantly change the insoles in my shoes, so I just use one pair until they run out. I haven't noticed a difference either way. Sourcherry - I don't think elliptical miles count since your feet don't leave the eliptical machine and thus there's no impact or wearing down of the soles that occurs.
lydialee_home lydialee_home 7 years
I do alternate. I have one pair that I use for my Treadmill day (when raining) and another pair for outdoor run.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 7 years
Does the 350-500 miles include eliptical "miles" or just running outside miles? Is treadmill better for them than the outdoors?
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
I always stock up on shoes as well, and I've never had any problems.
Susmita Susmita 7 years
I actually change my shoes every 250 miles. I know that's conservative, but after having had some stress fractures several years ago, I decided it's worth it. I just got new shoes yesterday, and I do notice the difference!
They're shoes, not bananas, it's hilarious to think that they would "spoil" by sitting on the shelf.
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