Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Analyzing My Running Shoe Wear Patterns

Here we are three days from the marathon, and all of the doubts/negative thoughts are starting to creep in. 

Here are some of the thoughts I have scrolling through my brain today:
"You should've practiced more with the Garmin."
"What if the Garmin dies in the marathon?"
"Have you really trained enough for this?"
"What if you wear too much and get hot during the race?"
"Did you just slack off after Chicago?"
"Are you tapering enough?" (Ran 6 miles Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday of this week)
"What if you can't do it?"

I usually find that I will overfocus on one thing when I have all of this nervous energy.  It is currently on the wear on the bottom of my shoes.

I mentioned to Rick one day that I felt like I was wearing out my shoes really quickly, more like 200 miles instead of the 300-500 miles you are supposed to be able to run in them.  I told him that I start to hurt when I run in shoes with worn tread, so I replace my shoes a lot.  There were something like five old pairs in our garage just cluttering it up, so Rick decided to take those over to Fleet Feet to donate them.  He looked on the bottoms and told me that I really was wearing my shoes out pretty badly.  I decided to take pictures and bring the old shoes in to Fleet Feet to see if someone can help recommend a shoe that is better for my foot.  It is obvious that I am wearing the outside heel of my shoe out, so I did a little research on my own.  Here was an article about the different types of runners--pronators, neutral, and supinators (or underpronators).  Runner's World had more on supinators.  This one seemed to agree with my wear pattern the best. 

Why focus on this now?  As I said before, I think I am diverting some nervous energy.  But there are many benefits to making sure I am in the right shoe!  I can think of several.  Saving money on shoes that fit right and wear correctly, avoiding injuries, and just minimizing my annoyance of watching my foot striking the ground on the outside edge as a run.  I have been staring at my feet as I run lately, and that's not a good thing. 

Here's some pictures in case you wanted to see the evidence:

Uneven wear

I'd say that the outer edge is pretty worn out.

The black tread is separating from the shoe.

Another picture of the left shoe, which is slightly worse than the right.  I actually notice this foot landing incorrectly as I run.

Any thoughts/advice on the matter?


  1. I've got nothing on the shoe wear pattern except that it could possibly be corrected by a slight change/improvement in running form instead of a pair of shoes.

    BUT, as for those worries you listed above, I think you are ready, you have NOT slacked off since Chicago, you've had some GREAT pacing runs, and if you charge your Garmin the night before, it will not die during the marathon. And I will be thinking of you and sending steady pacing thoughts, so there's that too. :)

  2. I sold running shoes for two years and everyone's foot (even in the three categories you listed) is a little different. I put a lot of trust in whatever Fleet Feet advised you to do. Personally I'd try a different style or some insoles to see if that won't correct the problem.

  3. Wow...if those shoes only have about 200 miles on them...there's definitely a "problem". I agree with Jane. I would try to find out what's going on biomechanically and work on that not just get a shoe to compensate. I don't know anyone around here who does that sort of thing but I had a trainer back in AR who evaluated athletes' muscle development. He said in most cases correction is stretching one set of muscles that are too tight and strengthening the opposing set which are weak. I wasn't a runner when I worked with him, but he corrected my pigeon-toe walking!! There's a name for that sort of specialty training...I'll find out what it is and see if he can recommend anyone. I've been meaning to do this for a while for myself--thanks for the visual reminder!! are going to do GREAT today. You're trained, you're ready, now have fun!! :D

  4. Wow, I am kind of worried with everyone's advice here. Sounds like it is a pretty big deal and may even require changing my gait!!! I was thinking a simple shoe change would work. It DOES explain some of my aches though---shin splits, foot pain, and nagging calf pains. I'm such a cheapskate and could probably live with the pain, but the "pain" of having to fork over $ every 200 miles for shoes was the straw that broke the camel's back in this case! I want to have shoes that last 500 miles not 200!

  5. Did you ever find out what the correction for this was? I happened to come across this while googling my same exact problem. I have 5 days before my half marathon and my shoes are shot...ugh... Same style and just wear them out constantly, different style of shoe or do I need to change my running form?

    1. Same here Maggie! Exact same problem, except on both feet. I didn't use to have this problem with stability shoes- they would wear down in the same spot, but it would take longer for them to do so. In my neutral shoes I can only get 200 miles out of a pair, so I might just go back to stability.