How do I know when to replace my athletic shoes?

Before you dust off that treadmill or get out your dumbbells, take a look at your athletic shoes that will carry you through. Are your shoes in shape enough to help get you in shape? Your athletic shoes have a limited life span. With each walk or jog, you’re breaking down their cushioning and support.

500 mile limit = Replace every three to six months

Your typical athletic shoe is only built to last you 350 – 500 miles. Depending on what type of athlete you are may depend on how long your shoes will last. If walking is your choice of exercise, you are likely to get 500 miles out of your shoes in four – six months. But if you are more of a runner, those 500 miles will come sooner, and you may likely want to replace your shoes at three months. Your weight can also be a factor – the more you weigh, the faster your shoes will wear out.

Go get your shoes, and let’s take a look. Do they show any of these signs?

  • Sole tread pattern is worn down
  • Heel worn more on one side than the other, to the point of leaning
  • Wrinkles in the side or bottom of the sole from breakdown of the support and cushioning
  • Uppers broken down around the ankle.

Once you notice any of these signs, you need to replace your athletic shoes immediately. Using worn out athletic shoes can lead to shin splints, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures and more. You can keep a pair or two of shoes that have seen better days, but use these strictly for things like gardening and other non-exercise activities.

Once you’re set with a good pair of athletic shoes, follow these shoe care tips to help you get the longest life out of your shoes:

  1. Use your walking/jogging shoes simply for that: walking and jogging – Don’t wear them all day long. If you prefer to wear athletic shoes all day long, wear a different pair than the ones you use to exercise in.
  2. Depending on the type of exercise you participate in, choose your shoe accordingly – If you like to run, make sure you have a pair of shoes that were built for runners. Like to walk? Same goes for you. Choose a pair of athletic shoes for walking. Cycle numerous times per week? Get a good pair of cycle shoes. Shoes are designed to match the activity allowing the mechanics of your feet, knees and legs to work correctly and efficiently.
  3. Air your shoes out between uses – Store your shoes where they can get exposure to air so they can dry out fully between uses. Do not place and leave them in a gym bag.
  4. If you wash them, let them air dry – If you do wash your workout shoes, use a gentle soap and cold water so you don’t destroy the glue that holds them together. Always air dry them rather than putting them in the dryer. Avoid heat, as this will contribute to breaking down the glue faster.
  5. Replace your insoles – If you need a custom insole, replace it each time you replace your shoes. But note that changing the insole is not a substitute for replacing your shoes. Just because you have a cushioning insole doesn’t mean you get the same cushioning and support that the shoe itself can provide. Once the shoe is broken down, you can’t remedy that with an insole.

One thought on “How do I know when to replace my athletic shoes?

  1. Replacing insoles is a very important step because it is so crucial for providing comfort and support for feet, if the insole has worn out then it only makes things worse for the runner. This was a great read.

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