Spring is a great season for runners. The cool, crisp air is refreshing on the trail, and the changing colors make for beautiful scenery. Whether you’re a casual jogger or training for your next race, Spring is a great time for a run. It’s also a good time to evaluate your orthotics, particularly if you’ve had them for a while. Custom supports are very durable, but they don’t last forever. To keep running your best, you need to be able to recognize when your running inserts are wearing out.
Custom orthotics are made from durable materials, including dense foam, cork, and plastic, depending on your needs. These materials last for a long time—typically several years. However, heavy wear and pounding from running stresses the inserts over time and wears them down. The harder and more frequently your feet strike the ground, the quicker they deteriorate. Eventually they aren’t able to support your feet as they used to and need to be replaced.
Consider several factors to determine if it’s time to replace your orthotics, including how long you’ve had them, how much you use them, and how they feel when you wear them.
How long: A normal pair can last anywhere from one to five years on average, though this will vary with the materials. Consider when you got the pair of inserts you’re wearing. If it’s been a few years, it may be time to have them evaluated.
How much: The more often they’re used—and the harder you are on them—the quicker they’ll wear down. A pair of custom insoles you wear and run in every day will deteriorate more quickly than a pair you only use on occasion. Consider how often you run and how hard you strike the ground, which can make the insoles wear out more quickly.
How they feel: This is a huge factor in replacing your inserts. If they do not feel right when you run, or you notice you’re developing foot pain again, they are most likely worn out and no longer fitting correctly.
Orthotics don’t last forever, but they don’t have to be replaced every year, either. Pay attention to your custom insoles.