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Photo: FOTOKITA (Shutterstock) You’ve probably heard the advice that running shoes are only good for about 300 to 500 miles, and after that, the cushioning is so broken down that they’re an injury waiting to happen. But that’s not always true, and there are more ways to figure out when to throw out your shoes than just counting the miles. How do running shoes break down? When you put in the miles, your shoes undergo wear and tear. The first thing you’ll notice is that the tread on the bottom wears down, but that’s okay; there should be more than enough rubber under your feet to last the lifetime of the shoe. Another place you’ll see visible wear is on the upper. Maybe you tend to get a hole in the toe box where your big toenail rubs; maybe you run on trails and tend to scuff up the sides. But these scrapes are usually a cosmetic issue, not a functional one. You can patch them up or just run in them despite the holes. What really matters is the cushioning on the inside. It gets compressed with every step, and the more it gets squished, the less it bounces back. There will come a time in the life of every running shoe when it provides substantially less cushioning than it did when it was new. That’s when it’s arguably time to replace them. How fast do running shoes break down? The “300 to 500 miles” rule benefits running […]