How To Break In Running Shoes – Do You Need To Break Them In?

how-to-break-in-running-shoes

Today, we’re going to talk about how to break in running shoes.

As excited as you are to put your new shoes on and go out for a run, not giving your new shoes enough time and distance to break in might give your body a bit of a shock and even discourage you from giving that new shoe a try at all.

If you’re new to running, it might be kind of be discouraging to have sore achy feet if you were expecting to put on those new shoes and feel like you’ve been doing it all your life.

So, how do you actually break your shoes in? And what does broken-in even mean?

Let’s find out…

Related: How To Choose Running Shoes – The Ultimate Guide

How To Break In Running Shoes

In order to prevent completely destroying your shoes right out of the gate, it’s important to start slowly and break in your running shoes patiently. It’s also a really important step so that you can avoid getting injured as that can ruin your training.

Breaking in a running shoe is kind of similar to breaking in a new car where you don’t want to push it too hard too fast.

There’s a few key things to keep in mind that if you just slowly transition into your new pair of running shoes, you’ll be able to get the most out of them and you’ll be able to have the best time hitting the gun.

Related: Best Running Shoes

Do You Need To Break In Running Shoes?

Something that I saw all the time when I was working in the shoe store, people would say how long does this shoe need to break in? Or, will I feel comfortable after I’ve broken it in?

In terms of the initial step-in comfort, the truth is that your new shoes should be comfortable from the get-go. But in terms of performance, you do need to wear and run in your shoes before they completely break in.

The Hoka Bondi, for example, feels comfortable right out of the box, but the midsole requires some time before it performs the way it’s intended to.

Related: Hoka Bondi vs Hoka Clifton

Make Sure Your Shoes Fit Properly

The first important part about breaking in a running shoe is make sure that the shoe fits.

Whenever you’re buying your running shoes, make sure you go and you bring the socks that you plan on running in. And, you want to make sure that you go in the afternoon and you want to make sure that your toe box is nice and open because if these things aren’t, you may never be able to break them in at all.

Related: How To Make Big Shoes Fit Smaller

Transitioning To Your New Shoes

If you get a new pair of shoes and it’s something completely different from what you’re been running in, it may be a good idea to do a break-in period.

This is when you’re slowly transitioning to that new shoe because the way the foam is both in terms of resistance and the different setup in the shoe may work your muscles differently and your feet and your legs compared to the old shoe.

Also, if you’re transitioning from a higher drop to a lower drop or even a zero-drop shoe or from a lower drop to a higher drop shoe, the transitioning period should be even longer and you should be careful not to run in your new shoes too soon.

Related: How To Get Better At Running Long Distances

How Long Does It Take To Break In Running Shoes?

On average, truly breaking in your running shoes could take four to six weeks and, again, even longer if you’re transitioning from a standard drop shoe to a lower drop shoe, especially if that change is significant.

So, if you’re looking at running a marathon or a longer-distance racing event, you really want to completely break in your shoes before you actually go racing in them. If the shoe actually hasn’t been properly broken in, your body might be affected because of it.

Related: Should Running Shoes Be A Size Bigger? Or, is Going Half Size Up Enough?

How Many Miles To Break In Running Shoes?

Typically for breaking in a running shoe, you want to look at anywhere from 40 to 60 miles and maybe upwards of 70 miles of running.

Walk In Your Shoes

Your new running shoes will likely be kind of stiff. So, I like to just wear them around the neighborhood a little bit and around the house when I first get them while I still get to before they’re dirty and they’ll never be inside again.

While doing that, try to see if something is rubbing, causing blisters, or causing chaffing somewhere in your feet.

You can prevent that by wearing dry-fit socks. Try to avoid wearing cotton socks which can cause blisters and chaffing by holding in that moisture and that sweat.

Warm Your Shoes Up

Walking around in your new running shoes will warm both them up and your feet!

The warmer they are, the more pliable they will start to feel. And sometimes I’ll actually do that for a couple of days before I go running in them.

Related: 14 Best Running Shoes For Easy Days

Start With An Easy Run And Gradually Increase Mileage

Plan an easy one or maybe two miles depending on the severity of the transitioning to your shoe. If it’s vastly different from anything you’ve been running in before, take it really easy. Your feet will thank you.

Each time you take them out for a run, go a little bit further. Your body will definitely let you know if you’re breaking them in too quickly.

Keep Your Old Shoes And Rotate

If you’re on a strict running plan and need to log higher mileage, swap out the new shoes for the old ones. At least in that couple of week period, while you’re breaking in your new shoes, it’s really good to cycle in your old ones.

Even when your new shoes are worn in, it’s good to keep a second pair to rotate in. This helps prevent repetitive stress on the body and strengthen those smaller stability muscles.

So, what you’ll do is take it on a short slow run. Then, slowly start to add it in more days replacing that old shoe. Optionally, if you do follow the two-shoe rule or multiple-shoe rule and you have multiple shoes, then you simply replace one of those pairs as you slide the new one in and you never have to worry about anything.

But don’t forget that it’s probably best to replace your old running shoes every two to three hundred miles.

If you need more ideas on how to rotate your running shoes, here’s how you can do that.

To Wrap up,

So, our bodies do change over time and so does shoe technology, but the good news is your feet will adapt quickly.

when you leave the store with your new pair of running shoes, they really should fit. But at the same time, if you have a long run or a long race coming up, you don’t want to wear that brand new pair of shoes for that long run.

Again, breaking in running shoes is a very important process. If you don’t do it properly, you can end up with injuries and blisters.

So that’s it for this post. I hope we were successful enough talking about how to break in running shoes. I hope you’re staying safe on your runs and see you in the next one 🙂

About Eric

Eric Barber is a happy father of two little angels, a husband, and a runner. He eats, sleeps, and dreams anything foot related: running shoes, walking shoes, sneakers, you name it. It all started when Eric was a shoe store specialist watching and fitting people's feet day in and day out.

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