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When Should an Athlete Replace Shoes?

Many people ask us how often they should be replacing their athletic shoes.  It’s hard to give a specific timeframe because many factors influence how quickly a shoe wears out.  For some althletes, shoes may be worn at 6 months; while others can go 1 year or more without replacing shoes.  It depends on how far and on what terrain you run, your gait, and the quality of the shoe.  While there are many factors that affect shoe wear, there are some things everyone can do that can slow down the process.

Switching off shoes

Wearing different shoes prevents shoe-specific pain in your foot.  Every shoe fits a little differently, and switching shoes gives feet a break from the exact contours of each shoe.  It’s important to get the best fit for your foot, but buying different styles or brands can help by changing the way the shoe affects your foot while you’re in them. When walking around after working out, it may be helpful to change into a different pair of shoes.

Different shoes to wear out better

Rotating between two or more pairs of shoes help the shoes wear out more slowly and evenly.  It’s best to change pairs of shoes every other day, not by week or month.  This way your feet don’t get too accustomed to one particular shoe and the nuances of the shoe don’t bother your foot.

 

Knowing which shoes to wear for which activity

For rough terrain, be sure to choose a shoe with a thick sole.  For activities on turf or paved road, thinner soles are appropriate.  Make sure your shoes are suitable for weather as well.  Breathable shoes are important in summer. Waterproof shoes (such as hiking boots and riding boots) can keep feet warm and dry in colder weather.  During the summer, be careful not to wear flip flops for sports and other activities that require shoes.  For activities in the water, be sure to wear water socks or other appropriate foot wear.

 

Brandt R Gibson, DPM
Podiatrist, Neuropathy Doctor, Father of 11 and Founder of Mountain West Foot & Ankle Institute