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Once I've made the decision to get new running, is it okay to use my old running shoes as walking shoes (to and from the workplace / around the neighbourhood) or is the only appropriate place for old running shoes the donation bin or the trash?

I guess this slightly depends on wear as well. When would be the ideal time so you could get the maximum amount of usage?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Sarge has a point that if they aren't causing injuries, then it might be fine to wear them. But while the forces when walking compared to running are much lower, you typically wear the shoes much longer (10-14 hours/day vs 0.5-1 hour/day).

The reason you replace running shoes is often because the midsole (and probably outersole) are permanently damaged. The damage in this cause means the little air bubbles in the material are ruptured and they loose their stability. Worse, the damage might be asymmetrical, because the material wasn't 100% uniform to begin with (they might look the same, but they probably aren't). This means that during every step you take on damaged shoes, means you subject yourself potential asymmetrical loads, which can lead to injuries.

This also goes for your regular shoes, though these tend to be made from different (hopefully tougher) materials. Though with the trend of people wearing running shoes as their regular shoes means they probably wear them for much longer than conventional wisdom would advise.

So your choice is: do you want to risk getting starting symptoms of injuries so you can wear these shoes a bit longer? To answer that question, its a good idea to look back and see if you're susceptible for injuries and if so, what helped prevent them. If you're walking pattern is very symmetrical and you hardly ever have injuries, go for it, chances are you won't get injured. If you're like me and get injured every year, don't risk it, because its not worth it.

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Sarge's answer is fundamentally correct but I feel like this has a better explanation. I wish I could pick two answers. –  Zigu Feb 27 '12 at 22:11
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If they're not causing injuries then they're absolutely fine. If all you're doing is walking a few kms (and the distance is much less than what you're running) then they're perfectly fine.

If they start wearing so much that they change your walking style or you start getting symptoms of injuries (such as shin pain) then I would chuck them.

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If they do not smell to bad and are in okay shape I do it. They make perfect dog walking shoes or working in the yard shoes.

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