If you’re tracking your steps, then at some point you’ve probably asked yourself – how many steps are in 1 mile? And also, how long will that take me? There are many variables that can affect these two metrics, such as height, stride length, and speed. Read on to get a breakdown of these things, and how to calculate your steps per mile, and how long it will take you.
Table of Contents
About step counting and fitness trackers
Before fitness trackers came on the scene, nobody gave two flying hoots about how many steps you did in a day. You would’ve got nothing but strange looks if bragging about hitting 10,000 steps. Times have changed though, and love it or hate it, step counting is now a thing. And it’s exclusively due to fitness trackers making an easy job, of what was once a difficult metric to track.
Fitness trackers can come in the form of a pedometer, a wearable device on your wrist, or an app on your phone. If you have one or know someone who does, then you’ll know all about step counting. It’s become a bit of an obsession with many, with 10,000 steps being the magic, round number everyone now wants to hit.
What affects how many steps are in 1 mile?
Your step count per mile, or any distance for that matter, is affected by one thing only –
- Step length
The factors that primarily affect your step length though are –
- Constant factors
- Variable factors
What is step length?
Use walking, jogging, or running barefoot in the sand as an example here. Step length is the distance between the heel of one footprint and the heel of the next footprint. Pretty simple really.
The difference between “stride length” and “step length”
Stride length is entirely different to step length.
Step length is the distance between heel strikes of opposite feet. Whereas, stride length is the distance between heel strikes of the same foot.
Be aware also that many fitness trackers will refer to step length as stride length, and vice versa. Generally speaking, stride length is double whatever step length is. This should make it pretty obvious what your fitness tracker is actually referring to.
What affects step length?
Obviously, not everyone’s step length is going to be exactly the same. Two types of factors have the potential to affect your stride length. Those being constant factors, and variable factors.
The constant factors that affect your step length are your gender, height, and age. When I say constant, I refer to factors of influence that will not change during your run, jog, or walk, or from session to session. Age does change from session to session, but not enough to define as a variable factor.
Factors that can change during your walk, jog, or run session are your speed, the terrain, and the prevailing weather conditions. These can also change session to session. These are the variable factors, and they can make a huge difference to your step length. Think running uphill, into a cold wind, on a wet day vs running on a slight downhill, with a warm breeze behind you. The difference is going to be significant, to say the least.
Constant factors that affect step length
- Gender – Men will mostly have a longer step length than women.
- Height – Generally speaking the taller you are, the longer your legs. Longer legs are going to mean a longer stride.
- Age – How old you are will have an effect on stride length too. Generally speaking, muscles in the body tighten as we age. Tighter muscles will inevitably result in a shorter stride.
Variable factors that affect step length
- Speed – Your current speed massively impacts stride length. Slower means shorter strides. Faster means longer strides.
- Terrain – The terrain will significantly alter your step length, think steep uphill vs on the flat.
- Weather – Weather such as wind can shorten or lengthen your step length considerably.
What is an average step length?
An average step length for an adult, walking at a comfortable pace, as found by a stride analysis study, can be seen in the table below.
|Average step length|
|Unit of Measurement||Men||Women|
Clearly, there are many variables that can affect this, meaning your step length could be very different from the above figures. Manually calculating your step length will give you the most accurate estimate.
How many steps are in 1 mile on average?
Using the average values for step length, we can make a rough calculation for an average number of steps in 1 mile.
- 1 mile = 5280 feet
- 5280 feet = 63360 inches
- men = 63360/31 = 2043
- women = 63360/26 = 2436
|Avg steps in 1 mile at comfortable walking pace|
|No. of Steps||2043||2436|
The above fits with the widely quoted rough average of 2000 – 2500 steps per mile.
How many steps are in 1 mile on average, at different speeds?
What about different speeds of walking and running though?
Using data collected from a research study about average steps at different speeds we can get some figures for that too. Check out the table below.
|Avg steps for 1 mile at different speeds|
|20 min/mile||2176 steps||2310 steps|
|15 min/mile||1868 steps||1987 steps|
|12 min/mile||1919 steps||1979 steps|
|10 min/mile||1635 steps||1709 steps|
|8 min/mile||1360 steps||1469 steps|
|6 min/mile||1064 steps||1213 steps|
How many steps are in 1 mile on average, by height?
Your height has a big influence on step length. It thereby stands to reason that people of different heights will have a different number of steps for a given distance. Reference the table below to find out how many steps are in 1 mile for your particular height.
|Avg steps for 1 mile by height|
|Height||Easy walk||12 min/mile||10 min/mile||8 min/mile||6 min/mile|
Steps to miles conversion table
You might be wondering what distance you might cover for say 5000, 10000, 0r 15000 steps. Using the average step count for 1 mile we can get a distance estimate for a particular number of steps. The table below gives the estimated distance a man, or woman might expect to travel, for a given number of steps, at a comfortable walking pace.
Distance for No. of steps at easy walk pace.
|Steps to miles on avg (easy walk pace)|
|No. of Steps||Men||Women|
Manually calculating your steps for 1 mile
You may not have a step-counting fitness tracker, or just want a step count you physically calculated yourself.
If so, you can manually calculate your step count for 1 mile. This will give you as close to an exact number of how many steps there are in 1 mile for you.
You will perform a manual step count over a distance shorter than 1 mile, where you know the exact distance. Let’s call this the measurement distance. This could be something like a football field, or a running track. The number of steps recorded from that measurement distance will then be used to calculate how many steps you take for 1 mile.
When you perform this measurement, do so on a calm day, and on as level a surface as possible. Obviously, the longer your measurement distance, the more accurate your count for 1 mile will be.
How to manually calculate your step count for 1 mile
- Find a flat area where you know the distance exactly between the starting and finishing points.
- Get to your desired speed before the start point.
- Once you cross the start line begin counting your steps.
- Stop counting once you cross your finishing point.
- Record the number of steps taken.
- Convert your measurement distance to meters if not already.
- Perform the following calculation-
- recorded steps/measurement distance in meters
- result * 1609 = total steps for 1 mile
You can also count strides (every second step) instead of individual steps if required. If you do, simply double the total you get at the end of the calculation. This will give the correct step count, as opposed to a stride count, for 1 mile.
Example steps per mile calculation 1
- You recorded 640 steps over 400m.
- 640/400 = 1.6
- 1.6 * 1609 = 2574
- Total steps for 1 mile = 2574
Example steps per mile calculation 2
- You recorded 140 steps over 110m.
- 140/110 = 1.272727272727273
- 1.272727272727273 * 1609 = 2047
- Total steps for 1 mile = 2047
How to calculate your step/stride distance
After manually calculating your number of steps in 1 mile, you may be curious to know what your step/stride distance is. If you know you’re step count over a known distance, then calculating your step, or stride length is simple enough. Simply do the following.
- Divide your distance (in meters) by the number of recorded steps.
- Multiply the result by 100.
- The result will be your step length in centimeters.
- To get stride length, multiply step length by 2.
Example STEP length calculation
- You recorded 640 steps over 400m.
- 400/640 = 0.625
- 0.625 * 100 = 62.5
- Step length = 62.5 cm
Example STRIDE length calculation
- You recorded 140 steps over 110m.
- 110/140 = 0.7857
- 0.7857* 100 = 78.57
- Step length = 78.57cm
- 78.57 * 2 = 157.14
- Stride length = 157.14cm
How long does it take to walk 1 mile?
Generally speaking, for the average person in decent shape, it should take 13 – 20 minutes to walk 1 mile. Personally, I walk 1 mile comfortably in around 15 mins.
- Walking 1 mile should take 13-20 mins.
How long does it take to jog 1 mile?
My definition of jogging is a pace somewhere between a fast walk and a slow run. It should feel like you’re running deliberately slow.
However, this can be a bit subjective between different people. For me, I feel like I’m jogging, as opposed to running, if I’m doing about 9 min/mile. Because of this, it becomes difficult to answer how long it takes to jog 1 mile.
However, if I had to put a timeline on it I would say that jogging 1 mile should take you about 10 – 15 min.
- Jogging 1 mile should take 10-15 mins.
How long does it take to run 1 mile?
If you are doing 1 mile in 10 minutes, or under, then I would say you are now running. It should feel more purposeful than a jog. Depending on whether you’re an experienced runner, or a couch potato just getting started, running 1 mile should take 5-10 minutes.
- Running 1 mile should take 5-10 minutes.
Do counting steps help with weight-loss?
Walking and running is a great way to encourage weight loss, or maintain a healthy weight. Nobody wants to check in on their step count at the end of the day and see 2000 steps, or a similar sorry number. Fitness trackers and step counting can give us a bit of (sometimes badly needed) motivation to get out there and do a bit. That in itself is a good thing, and shouldn’t be underestimated.
If you’re currently trying to lose weight it might be worth checking our other weight-loss related articles –
Answering “how many steps are in 1 mile” with precision is difficult, if not impossible. Many variables can affect your step length, and that’s the thing that determines your number of steps over a particular distance. We can get a pretty good estimate using height, and a given speed, just don’t expect it to be 100% accurate.
The most accurate estimate for how many steps you’ll do for 1 mile, is by calculating it yourself. Even then though, there’ll be small differences from one mile to the next.
With all that in mind, it’s fair enough to say that steps are not an accurate unit for measuring distance. That being said though, it will definitely get you a respectable estimate of how far you’ve traveled.
On the plus side, it means less reason to become obsessed about hitting a very particular number of steps, as many of us do. Two or three hundred steps short of 10,000 shouldn’t be something to agonize over anymore!
As always feel free to leave a comment if you have any thoughts, opinions, or advice related to this article.
Always consult your GP before undertaking any form of weight loss, fitness, or exercise.