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Ignorance Isn’t Bliss When It Comes to Running Shoes

couple running in autumn

Research published in the latest Running Report has unveiled a startling revelation: a whopping 75% of runners could be wearing the wrong running shoes.

The implications of this are significant, as the wrong footwear can lead to injuries, discomfort, and a less-than-optimal running experience.

Neglecting Footwear Replacement

The report highlights that a mere 24% of runners replace their shoes as recommended, which is every 500 to 750 kilometres.

This statistic suggests that three-quarters of runners are pounding the pavement in shoes that have long outlived their optimal performance window.

Shoes that aren’t changed regularly can lose their cushioning and support, leading to an increased risk of injuries.

Given that the majority of runners surveyed hit the track 2-3 times per week, covering about 5k per session, it’s essential they swap out their shoes at least annually.

However, with only a quarter adhering to this advice, it’s clear that many are running in shoes that could be doing more harm than good.

Everyday Shoes and Running Shoes: A Bad Mix

A surprising 20% of runners admitted to using their running shoes for everyday activities such as running errands or shopping.

Paul Mackinnon from the Balanced Runner advises against this practice: “There’s no need to throw out old running shoes; instead, use these for all your non-running activities, so you can have the freshest pair in the rotation as your running shoes!

If you’re out all-day shopping or walking around in your running shoes and then go for a run, you’ve spent the whole day compacting the midsole.

When you go out for a run after this, you’ll be running on compacted and harder shoes, which are more likely to cause injury.”

The Gait Analysis Gap

Perhaps the most shocking revelation from the report is that only 7% of runners have undergone a gait analysis.

This assessment is crucial as it evaluates your running style, foot strike, and body mechanics, helping you choose the right shoes and avoid injuries.

Without this knowledge, over 90% of runners are essentially flying blind when it comes to selecting appropriate footwear.

Paul Mackinnon underscores the importance of this analysis: “A gait analysis can be extremely useful to get an understanding of why you may be getting specific injuries, highlight where you may be missing out on efficiencies, and what parts of the body are being used most.”

The Right Shoes for Your Running Style

Only 22% of runners purchase shoes tailored to their running style. This statistic is worrying, given that almost 80% of runners might be at risk of injury due to inappropriate footwear.

The report notes that 19% of runners have sustained injuries, with half of these individuals continuing to run while injured, potentially exacerbating their conditions.

Dan Cartner, Head of Marketing at, expressed his surprise at these findings: “With so many more people running than ever before, and with running shoes the bread and butter of who we are, we were really keen to find out how many runners could be limiting their own success, and even putting themselves at risk of injury, due to not having enough knowledge around running styles and the differences between different running shoes.”

“We were shocked that the numbers are so high, and that so few runners are investigating tools like a gait analysis that can have such an enormous impact on both comfort while running, but also improvements and minimising the risk of injury.”

Simple Steps to Improve Your Running Experience

The good news is that you don’t need to visit a specialist to understand your running style.

Dan Cartner suggests simple methods like the wet footprint test, which can indicate whether you under or over-pronate. This test only requires a bowl of water, a dark piece of paper, and your feet.

Additionally, online gait analysis tools are available, where you can upload a video of yourself running to receive a personalized assessment.

By increasing awareness and encouraging more runners to consider their footwear choices carefully, aims to help runners avoid injuries and enjoy their runs to the fullest.

For more detailed findings and insights, check out the full report at Running Report.