Product Review: mino Shoe Life Tracker

I have always had trouble deciding when it's time for new shoes. I never remember to write down when I get new shoes or how many miles I've run in them. I just tend to go by feel. Sometimes that means I wear my shoes way longer than I should. So, when I heard about mino Shoe Life Trackers, I knew I had to try them out. Minos are a thin (2.5 mm) insert that you put inside your shoe underneath the insole. The chip inside of the mino measures the distance you put on your shoes without the need for any outside devices. Just stick them in your new shoes and you're ready to run. Periodically take your insert out and check to see how your shoes are doing. There is a place to press and hold which causes indicator lights to come on showing either new, good, caution, or dead. The caution light will come on at 350 miles and the dead light will come on at 400 miles.

I tested the 5K version of the mino. This sampler gives you an idea of how the shoe tracker works within a shorter distance. The caution light comes on after running a 5k distance and the dead indicator will light up after 5 miles. I put the tracker into my shoes quickly and easily, then headed out for a 3 mile run. When it comes to running gear, I tend to be a lot like The Princess and the Pea. I notice petty little things that most people can easily ignore. I have to admit that I could feel the 2.5mm difference in my shoes. I thought I was over-reacting initially, because, come on, it’s 2.5mm!  I figured I’d settle in after a bit, but since I run in minimalist shoes, I did notice the slight change in the drop.

One of the minos has a chip in it and the other is just to keep the shoes at the same drop. Not long into my run I could tell which shoe had the chip in it, as it felt harder than the other side. Again, the lack of much cushioning in my shoes had to be the issue, because it became very uncomfortable under my heel during my short run. (Go ahead, call me Princess!) I’m sure if I had more cushion in my shoes I wouldn’t have noticed the slight difference. I was really bummed that I noticed the tiny little device, because I love the idea of knowing when it’s time for new shoes.

When I got back from my run, I took out my insole and pushed the button to see the lights come on indicating “caution.” Just as advertised, the 5K mino seemed to accurately measure my distance and it lit up indicating “cautio.” When I took the minos out of my shoe, I discovered that they were well set. The stickiness that put them into place was a challenge to remove. A good sign, as you don’t want the trackers moving around once you put them inside your shoes. And, with the real version, you shouldn’t need to remove them during the life of your shoe, so the stickiness is important.

The 5K version of the mino Shoe Life Tracker indicates “caution” after running a 5K.

Since I seemed to be so sensitive to the mino inside my shoe, I contacted mino and let them know about this issue. They agreed with my assessment that my minimalist shoes were most likely the issue. They were kind enough not to tell me that I must be a pansy if I felt the tracker. 🙂  I asked if I could use them in my workout shoes or shoes meant for other activities besides running. They assured me that the mino would work for any activity and could still track the life of the shoe. So, I decided I would try the tracker in the shoes I wear to work/workout.

As a personal trainer, I spend most of my day on my feet and in running shoes. I chose a “cushier” pair of shoes and inserted the minos before heading to work. I could tell they were in my shoes, but I didn’t feel the hardness of the chip like I did in my other shoes. Eventually I pretty much forgot about them. I even did a High Intensity Interval workout without noticing anything at all. Awesome! Since I have multiple pairs of shoes that I wear to work and for working out, the minos are ideal. I alternate between 3-4 pairs of shoes throughout the week, so I can’t accurately track how much wear is on each shoe. Inserting a mino in my shoes (when new) would help me make sure I didn’t wear one pair for way too long – which I tend to do. I usually notice that my shoes are too old when my feet start hurting, and we all know that is a little too late!  I plan to try out the real version of mino in my next new pair of workout shoes. I know it will give me a better idea of shoe life, keeping my feet happier.

Overall, I would recommend mino if you, like me, need help tracking how much mileage you’ve put on your shoes. However, I would not recommend them if you are running in minimalist shoes or if you have a Princess and the Pea complex when it comes to your running shoes. If you’ve got a handle on tracking the life of your running shoes, consider using mino in other shoes you may be wearing too long. As long as you have a removable insert in your shoes, minos can be used to track your shoes with any kind of activity.

You can purchase your mino Shoe Life Trackers here. They are $15 for one pair, $25 for 2 pairs, or $30 for 3 pairs.


About Annette Vaughan (493 Articles)
Annette Vaughan is a runner and personal trainer in Canby, Oregon. She began running at the age of 30 and became hooked after her first race (even though she is a self-proclaimed slow runner.) She enjoys small local races from 5Ks to half-marathons, with a 30K on the books as her longest run ever. She has also become a huge fan of obstacle course races and just can't get enough of them. Annette is a certified personal trainer, who believes in promoting movement since our bodies were designed to move. The more we move, the better we move and function in everyday life.
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