Few things are more exciting than a brand new pair of running shoes. Those squeaky clean soles and bright colors provide a burst of motivation that all runners appreciate. However, learning how to break in running shoes properly is key to making the most of your new gear.
Do I need to break in my running shoes?
Transitioning to new running shoes used to involve a lengthy process of breaking them in. It would take weeks of continued effort to finally get comfortable in new shoes.
Luckily, as technology has evolved, the process of breaking in new running shoes has gotten significantly easier.
Most running shoes require at least a few runs to be fully broken in. However, most of the time now is focused on providing your body with a chance to adjust to the new shoes, as opposed to the other way around.
Runners should always make a point to break in running shoes, whether they are the exact same model or a brand new style. But luckily, this process usually requires very little time and effort.
How long do you need to break in new running shoes?
The length of time needed to break in running shoes depends on the differences between your old and new shoes.
For a new pair of the exact same running shoe, it will likely only require about 5-10 miles to fully break the shoes in. If your running shoes have upgraded to a newer model, it’s worth giving your body a few extra miles to adapt to the slight upgrades.
On the other hand, if your new running shoes are a different brand or style, it will take a bit more time to fully break in your new shoes. Expect to dedicate about 2-3 weeks to breaking in your running shoes.
Regardless of whether you’re simply upgrading to a newer model or changing things up entirely, there are a few strategies you can use to help ease the transition for both your body and shoes.
How to Break In Running Shoes
Breaking in running shoes is necessary not just for the shoes themselves, but for your body as well.
Learning how to break in running shoes correctly will help ensure a smooth transition from old to new by avoiding injuries as well as any inadvertent changes to form, stride or foot strike.
These 4 strategies will help you properly break in your running shoes and give your body time to gradually adjust to the different support and materials of your new shoes.
1. Wear them around
A simple, practical way to help expedite the process of breaking in running shoes is to wear them initially for more than just running.
Walking around the house or yard in your new shoes can help your body adjust more quickly than saving them for running alone.
Wear your shoes for your daily chores, run errands in them, or test them out the next time you walk your dog. The extra time will help you wear them in much quicker than simply waiting for your next run.
After just a few days of household use, your feet will be comfortable and the shoes will be ready to go for all of your training.
2. Phase them in
Another way to break in running shoes more gradually is to phase them in over time. Rather than simply switching to your new shoes as soon as they arrive, try alternating between new and old shoes.
Test out your new running shoes during an easy, mid-week run, and then switch back to your old shoes for your next tempo workout. Continue to alternate between the shoes, gradually increasing the length of time you wear the new ones until you are ready to completely drop the old.
Phasing them in slowly can help avoid potential changes to your form or foot strike that could occur with a sudden change in support. This strategy requires a bit more patience, but is very helpful for avoiding any injury or unintentional changes that would lead to injuries over time.
3. Start with short, easy runs
The golden rule for trying anything new on the run is to first do so during an easy run. Try to avoid wearing running shoes (or any other gear) for the very first time during a hard workout or long run.
Once you have your new running shoes, you’ll want to save them for your shorter, easier efforts first. Breaking in running shoes can be done with just a couple easy runs. These first few miles provide your body time to adjust to the new structure or support before requiring higher efforts.
After just a few runs, your body will have adapted and your new shoes will be broken in and ready for training.
4. Pay attention
One final, frequently overlooked, strategy for breaking in running shoes is to pay attention to your entire body – not just your feet. Be aware of any aches or pains you may have been feeling before transitioning to the new shoes.
Listening to your body and being present on the run is especially crucial while you break in your running shoes. Being able to tell if a new ache or pain arises during the breaking in process can help you avoid any injuries down the road.
Lucky for us, breaking in running shoes actually involves very little time or effort. Using these few simple strategies can help you successfully transition to new shoes without a break in your training.
With just a little effort and intentionality, your body will adapt to the change and adjust to the new shoes seamlessly. Before you know it, you’ll be logging mile after mile and those “new” shoes will no longer be new.