Once you find a comfortable pair of walking shoes that support your feet right, it is hard to part with them. But walking and running shoes have a limited lifespan. With each step, you are breaking down their cushioning and support. By 500 miles, most shoes are dead and need to be recycled or saved for non-exercise purposes.
The 500-Mile Walking Shoe Limit
The typical athletic shoe is only built to last 350 to 500 miles. While walkers are not pounding their shoes as hard as runners, you are unlikely to still get good support and cushioning past 500 miles. Your weight is also a factor—the more you weigh, the faster your shoes will wear out. If you are walking 30 minutes a day, or an average of three to four hours a week, replace your shoes every six months. If you are walking 60 minutes a day or an average of seven hours a week, replace your shoes every three months.
Plan on replacing your fitness walking shoes every three to six months, or by 500 miles.
Shoes Are Aging Before You Buy Them
Athletic shoes are glued together. While in the warehouse and on the store shelf, they are already aging. The glue is drying out. The air pockets in the cushioning may be slowly dissipating. You will often find that shoes on sale are old models being discontinued. They may already be over a year old and may give you less wear before wearing out. To get the longest life from a shoe, buy the current model and question the shoe store staff about how long they have been in the store.
Shoe Care for Longer Shoe Life
You can help your shoes last longer with these tips:
- Save your walking shoes only for exercise walks. Don’t wear them all day; slip into them only for your exercise time. If you keep them on your feet, they get more wear and they have longer exposure to foot moisture and bacteria, which will break them down faster.
- Air out your shoes between uses. Store your walking shoes where they are exposed to air so they can dry out fully between uses. A gym bag isn’t the best place to let them breathe.
- If you wash them, air dry. I do not wash my walking shoes, but if you do you should use gentle soap and cold water so you don’t destroy the glue. Always air dry them rather than throwing them in a dryer. Avoid heat, as this will contribute to faster breakdown of the glue.
- Replacing the insoles. If you prefer a custom insole, replace it each time you replace your shoes. Changing the insole is not a substitute for replacing the shoe. Cushioning insoles don’t provide the same cushioning and support that the shoe itself provides. Once the shoe is broken down, you can’t remedy that with an insole.
Rotate Your Shoes to Know When They Need Replacing
The best way to discover your shoes have died is to rotate your walking shoes. Start wearing a pair of walking shoes, and alternate them with a new pair of walking shoes after one to two months. When the older pair begins to break down, you will sense the difference between the newer and older pair. If you walk one or more times daily, alternating shoes allows each pair to fully dry out between uses.
Signs Your Shoes Are Dead
Most people wait until their shoes look bad before replacing them. By that time they have been toast for many months. These signs of long-dead shoes should prompt you to replace them immediately:
- The heel is worn down more on one side than the other, sometimes to the point that the shoe is leaning to one side.
- There are wrinkles on the side or bottom of the sole from breakdown of the support and cushioning
- The uppers are broken down around the ankle
Shoe Wear Patterns
Where and how you wear down the soles and heels of your shoes can tell a shoe fit expert what kind of shoes you should buy. Bring your old shoes with you when you buy new shoes. They can be indicators that you overpronate, have a neutral gait, or supinate.
Dangers of Dead Shoes
What’s wrong with wearing dead shoes? They are dead because they no longer provide good support and cushioning. Lack of cushioning and support can lead to:
- Shin splints
- Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis
- Iliotibial band syndrome
- Stress fractures
You can read more on this by clicking here.
Article by Wendy Bumgardner on https://www.verywellfit.com/when-should-i-replace-my-walking-shoes-3436325.