People with foot pain are often extra careful about the shoes they buy (and with good reason!). A common question about shoes is how long do they last? Unfortunately, shoes have no expiration date noted on the bottom. How long your shoes will last depends on several factors, including how often you wear them, where you run or walk, how your foot functions, and your workout conditions and mileage. Contrary to popular opinion, however, you cannot always tell whether a shoe is worn out by visual inspection. With the technologies available today, the outer sole can hold up and not show deterioration even after the shock absorption and stability capacities of the shoe are gone. Wearing old athletic shoes, specifically for running, or wearing the wrong type of shoes for your foot or for a specific sport can lead to injuries. For example, running in a shoe that no longer provides traction, support, and cushioning can lead to a number of musculoskeletal complaints, among them heel pain, shin splints, and stress fractures. A basic rule of thumb for runners is to replace shoes every 300-500 miles.
Some things to consider are:
• Type of shoe/type of foot: Go to a high quality shoe store with well-trained staff. They will know how to evaluate your feet and place you in the proper shoe. Do not just go by brand. Even top name brand shoes make different levels of shoes. Remember the old saying – you get what you pay for.
• Environment: A humid climate can contribute to a shoe’s rapid
breakdown because running in a wet shoe will overstretch the upper part of the shoe while over-compressing the lower part.
• Body type: Your body weight is a big factor in determining which shoe is best for you. In general, the more you weigh, the more cushioning your feet will need to withstand the impact.
• Usage: The amount you wear your shoe and how many miles you log can also affect the life of your shoe. Runners and walkers can easily track their mileage. Shoes used outside will break down more rapidly than those in the gym.
About half-way through the life of your shoes, buy a second pair to rotate in during workouts. Having a newer pair as a point of reference will also help you identify the feel of shoes that have run their course. Additionally, by rotating your shoes you give each pair adequate time to allow the sweat to dry inside.