Shoe wear and tear (Read 3177 times)

    Does the rubber on the very bottom of your shoes wear the same all around? Or do some parts of the shoe rubber wear faster than other areas and if so, does it matter? 

    Suffering Benefiting from mature onset exercise addiction and low aerobic endorphin release threshold. Hoping there is no cure.

      The rubber wears at different rates depending on your running stride. For example, I tend to wear out the entirety of my shoe at the same time because I run very flat-footed. My dad wears out the outside way faster.


      It does matter, but only because it's general wear and tear.

      Feeling the growl again

        If the wear is VERY uneven, it may get to the point where it changes the angle at which your foot impacts and may lead to injury.  I know a guy who claimed he HAD to change shoes every 200 miles or he got injured...I did not believe him...until he showed me a pair that had 150 miles on them, and on his right foot it looked like someone had taken a knife and shaved a big chunk out of the right inner forefoot.  Terrible form, but it didn't stop him from running a 1:52 800m and going to D-II Nationals...


        Most people (including me) will have some unevenness in the wear pattern.  Usually it's completely innocuous.

        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand


        I am spaniel - Crusher of Treadmills


          I've got some uneven wear on my shoes, especially the outside of the heel. I usually replace shoes not because of the upper or cushioning, but because of the heel being worn out.


          I run a lot.

            I get uneven wear on the outside rear of my shoe heels.  I use Shoe Goo when the wear starts to affect how the shoe feels.

              My shoes wear very unevenly.


              Looking at the shoes I ran in this morning, NB 890 with 726 kms on them, the toe area is worn through to the white midsole. The heels have very little wear on them.


              My right shoe also has very heavy wear on the outside in the middle of the shoe. Maybe my right foot is pointing slightly in when I run?


              This has been the wear pattern on my shoes since I took up running over 5 years ago.


              As far as I can tell the only way this matters is that I need to replace my shoes sooner than if they wore down evenly.


                The rubber wears at different rates depending on your running stride. For example, I tend to wear out the entirety of my shoe at the same time because I run very flat-footed.

                All due respect, you are either blowing a horn or you have no idea what you are looking at.  I can say, with almost 100% certainty, that it is absolutely impossible that this actually happens.


                99% of people wear bottom of their shoes unevenly.  I'd say the last 1% would be someone who weighs 80 pounds and runs 5 miles a week (kidding). ;o)


                Most people would have lateral side of heel and right in the middle of the forefoot would wear out first.  Often if you think you are landing on your forefoot or mid foot but still see excess wear outside the heel.  This is most probably because (1) you are walking a lot more in those shoes than you realize and you wear out on your heel a lot more than when you're running, (2) because of the thick heel rubber, your foot actually "touches" down on your heel first, or (3) because your foot is still moving (sliding) just as you land and the heel area rubs off more.  Rubbing off of the black (in most cases) rubber of the lateral side of the heel vs. compression of the midsole of the heel area are two different things.  If it's the former, you can actually easily fix it by applying something like Shoe Goo to reinforce the area.  I think it works fine.  But if it's the latter, your shoe is actually losing the resiliency of the rubber and, particularly it indicates you're landing on your heel, you should consider replacing the shoes in order to avoid potential knee problem.  


                If you are landing on the more of the mid foot area, probably more than wearing of the rubber but compression of the area that you should be concerned with.  Because of how our hips and legs are constructed, we land from the outside of hips down to more or less the center of the body.  This is the whole debate how we "pronate" but this create the tendency to land lateral side of the foot, whether it's on your heel or mid foot.  Especially if your shoe has very thick midsole or if the shape of the shoe is too straight compared to your ortho-hoop, the tendency to get your lateral side of the mid-foot (outside the ball of your foot) being pushed outward and hanging out and over the mid-sole.  This is actually the opposite of ITB problem but it would still put a lot of undue stress on the lateral side of your ankles and knees.  You can check this simply by putting the shoes on and stand straight and stick your finger right underneath the outside of the ball of your foot to see how much space you have between the tip of your foot to the actual midsole.  Sometimes you see the finger go all the way to the first joint!!  That's real possibility of injury waiting to happen.  


                Some today's shoes have heel plug with harder rubber as well as right in the middle of the forefoot area.  Usually at the root of your big toe and the second toe area.  Those two are the most-wore spots of your foot.  If anything, this MAY be the MOST wore-off spot because this is where you "push-off" and often the push-off involves more "slide" than landing.  If you actually see some wear on the very tip of the shoes, that most probably means you are pretty fast!!  That's where you really extend your toes and you're kicking off on the top of pushing off.  If you see most track spike shoes, you see the "teeth" at the very tip of the toe area.  This is because when running very fast, that's where you take off.  If you hardly see much wear on the forefoot area, whether it's the middle of the forefoot or tip of the toes and you see distinctly more wear on the heel, that probably shows you have lots of room to improve speed.  This seems to happen often with "plodders".  They hardly push-off; they think they propel their body, not by pushing off, but by bringing their feet out in the front, hence, landing hard on their heel.  


                Most people, I'd say 90..., no, let's say 80% of people have different wear pattern from the right foot to the left.  I was watching Ryan Hall doing a tempo run over Lake Mary Road the other day...(on video).  I can't remember which foot, I think it was his left foot, his left foot sticks outward a bit more than his right.  It could be just where he runs (he was running on the right side of the road) but all these things would be reflected on the wear-pattern of your shoes.  It's kinda fun to know; it gives somewhat important information at times but is it really necessary to analyze it?  Well, I think Spaniel summarized it well:


                If the wear is VERY uneven, it may get to the point where it changes the angle at which your foot impacts and may lead to injury.  


                In most cases, you can track the injury pattern and that could be reflected on your shoe wear pattern.  My wife's wear pattern is quite obvious; she wears out the middle of the forefoot of her right foot.  All these years of running, all it had suggested is; it's time to get new shoes.  She wears only one pair pretty much through the year; she completely ignores this 300-mile rule; she hardly rotates shoes; she has this very obvious wear on one spot...and she hardly ever gets injured.

                  Wow.  Great post from Nobby. 


                  In terms of uneven wear...how about this?  And yes, I am injured at the moment...no doubt the cause and consequence of this....the uneven wear has worsened over time with shoes I retired last year not showing this pattern (I'm guessing as whatever else is going on as worsened and I can no longer compensate for it).  Most wear is on the MTA: RIGHT (thank you for pointing my inabilty to point my injured leg out Nobby ;-)) (and currently injured) leg...with most obvious discrepancies at the outside of the forefoot.  I previously injured my left leg though and used to consider that as my bad leg.   I think, as Nobby said, the majority of people will wear their shoes out unevenly.  However when it gets to the stage in these photos, it really can be a sign of something worth worrying about.  I don't actually know what is going on with my leg...however the pelvis is rotated and the injured leg is 1.5cm shorter than the uninjured.  I also have reduced throacic spine rotation, knee pain (medial and lateral), back of knee pain, shooting pains, spasms in the leg, tight hamstrings, buzzing at the ankle, inability to lift the leg if I do run for more than 30 minutes...the list goes on!  My running gait has become more weird with far more turning-in of the knee.    Apologies to those who have seen these pictures already and heard me moan already too.


                   "Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow.  Don't walk behind me; I may not lead.  Just walk beside me and be my friend."

                    Hoppity!!  My most patient friend from England!! ;o)  You know, you were the first person to ever write to me of RA.


                    Your wear pattern is pretty interesting.  I see when a person gets injured it's either on your stronger leg because it's too strong and doing too much work; or it's on your weaker leg because it's not strong enough and it's over-loading.  Yes, it's one or the other but the point is; you can't really simply predict.  I'm sort of assuming you are working on mid-foot landing???  And probably that's what shows on the excess wear on the outside the mid-foot area on your right shoe (your longer leg).  I'm not sure if it's universally the same but mine does that too--my longer leg, my left, seems to almost drag a little, rubbing through the ground and wear out slightly quicker.  But then again, in your case...  Well, I'm a bit puzzled; you said your right leg is longer then left and most injuries are on your left leg?  But in your post, you said "most wear is on (your) left shoe" but it seems the most wear ON THE OUTSIDE THE MID-FOOT is on your right shoe.  However, I actually noticed more wear on the middle part of the forefoot on hour left shoe--I can't circle the area off your image but right where the white line makes a Big Bend (honoring your being from England...???); the flex groove is almost gone compared to your right shoe.  This almost looks like your left leg is working harder to keep up.  This pattern usually shows on your stronger leg; my left shoe and my wife's right shoe (more visible with my wife's than mine).  I actually don't think leg length discrepancy cause injuries; but more so with leg strength discrepancy, caused often by the leg length discrepancy, more likely cause injuries.  You might want to check the strength difference between your left and right leg and, if it's significant enough, you may want to concentrate on strengthen the weaker leg.  Over the last couple of years, I'd been doing eccentric heel raiser to work on my Achilles tendonitis on my left leg.  I feel I might have overdone it and I can really feel my left leg stronger than my right.  I'm sort of trying to catch up right now.  So far, no sign of injury had crept up yet; but I don't want to take a chance.

                       Hi Nobby!  Thank you for your reply.  I'm patient with people (even more so if they offer good advice and helpful comments) but not very patient with being injured Blush


                      You are correct.  It is my right foot that shows more wear (and the right leg that is injured)...my brain seems to be dysfunctional when I cannot run.   You would think I could tell right and left, especially when one is painful and the other isn't!


                      I haven't been working on a midfoot landing, but my running seems to have mutated to have one (as well as the uneven wear and the pointy in knee).  There is also heel wear on these shoes, but not as strong as the forefoot wear (more wear on the right still, but again uneven places of wear between right and left),   You're also very correct about the wear in the middle of the forefoot on the left being greater than that on the right.   Big Bend Smile


                      Yep, it is my left leg that is usually injured.  The left is the one that had the ruptured ligaments in the ankle and also the accessory navicular syndrome (neither were running-related injuries).  I have always regarded it as my weaker leg though (I land rightfooted and would use my right leg more to walk up stairs etc if that makes sense).  I had a fall in the summer that set off sciatica in that leg as well.  However at the moment the left leg seems to be able to do more, I guess partly because it isn't in pain. 


                      Sorry for being unclear, It is the left leg that is longer.  The left is the leg that is normally more injury prone...and it seems it is the longer leg, however the right is the injured one at the moment (and it seems pretty injured in terms of inability to run).  They think because my SI joint has rotated a bit so the right is shorter (rather than it being a length of femur issue).  Why am I always so confusing when it comes to injuries?!!!  I think you're right that leg length discrepancy doesn't cause injuries (but the leg strength instead).  I'm not sure I've always had one though, but whether that happened before or during the path to injury I don't know. 


                      As the right leg seems weaker at the moment that is something I will work on.  Weak glutes is something else that has been pointed out as a possible contributor (helping cause valgus knee rotation and then weird pronation at the foot too...or maybe it's the other way round...injuries and the mechanisms and order in which they occur confuse me).  It's interesting about your heel raises and achilles issues and needing to adapt the balance in the strength again.  I think I should be working the right at the moment, but I don't want to neglect the left...especially because I worry that the reason the right is injured is because the left was weak and lazy to begin with (if that makes sense).


                      Thank you again!

                       "Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow.  Don't walk behind me; I may not lead.  Just walk beside me and be my friend."

                      sport jester


                        Everything you write about expresses the classic symptoms of side dominance issues. I've posted here before that right handed people have issues with their right knees, and left ankles if they're right handed.


                        You wear out the toes of your right shoe first simply because you're pushing yourself not only forward with your right foot, but also to the left as a result of your outward rotation of your stronger (right) side. Didn't you ever wonder why track events are held counter clockwise in rotation???


                        How far you push yourself to the left with each step is called your drift rate. How well you can calibrate your body to recognize and correct your drifting is a skill to learn called binocular rivalry equalibrium training. For every 20 seconds you run, you add about 5 feet in lateral drift distance if you're a typical runner.


                        What causes your drift is due to the strength difference between each of your legs. Your strongest leg doesn't determine your top speed, your weaker one does. So your stronger leg pushes your body forward with greater outward rotation (pronation) and to the left the same distance your weakest leg pushes yourself forward to compensate for the strength difference. The greater the pronation differential, the greater the drift and torque strain to your right knee results.


                        Because of the strength inequality, the left leg usually ends up with ankle problems from the imbalance of trying to push your body as straight forward, but has better internal rotation, and thus less strain to the knee.


                        Aside from specific strength training models which equalize the defferences, you can also adjust your running technique to better equalize the motion between both legs and reduce your drift rates as well as adjust your posture to remove the ankle strain


                        Your shoe wear is merely a documentation of all of the above issues.

                        Experts said the world is flat

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                        Experts said we'd never go to the moon


                        Name me one of those "experts"...


                        History never remembers the name of experts; just the innovators who had the guts to challenge and prove the "experts" wrong


                          Everything you write about expresses the classic symptoms of side dominance issues.



                          nuthin' wrong with a little dom on the side


                            My shoes always wear out in the same spots because of how I stride.  One thing that is annoying though is I always get a hole by my big toe.  I must like stick my toe up or something.  Either that or I need to cut and file down my razor sharp toenails more often.