How To Tell When Your Shoes Are Worn Out
It might not be obvious when your walking shoes are worn out. You have to look at more than whats easily visible. You need to look at the inside and the outside.
Over time, all shoes show signs of wear, but here are some things you can check to make sure theyre still in good shape:
- How they feel: If your shoes arent as comfortable as they used to be, its probably time to buy a new pair. You might notice they dont have as much support, or that your feet hurt when you wear them, even for a short time.
- How they fit: Are your feet sliding around? Looseness can be a sign that your shoes are breaking down internallyunless, of course, youve just lost some weight. Either way, you need a pair that fits snuggly. When your feet slip around in your shoes, it can cause blisters. Weight gain can make your shoes too tight, which also requires a new, better-fitting pair.
- Look them over: Is the outsole visibly worn down? Depending on your step, the heel or any other part of the sole might be worn down. If there are any worn spots on the sole, they can affect how you step, which leads to leg pain over time.
- Keep track of your mileage: Studies have shown that the shock absorption in running shoes wears out between 350 and 500 miles. You can expect a similar lifespan for your walking shoes. Even if they still look like theyre in working condition, if theyre no longer able to protect your feet, its time to invest in a new pair.
How To Know The Life Of Your Shoe Is Coming To An End: Common Signs
On the sole
The most obvious sign of when to replace running shoes is the sole. Wearing down the tread until it is smooth and the overall change in the base-sole-shape of the shoe is one of the clearest indicators that it might be time for a replacement. This can be tricky as some parts will show much greater wear compared to other parts of the shoe . Luckily for On fans, the bottom of the soles through the patented CloudTec shows you clearly when an element is done by breaking through. When this happens, the shoe is beginning to be compromised and its time to start thinking about a new pair.
The upper wearing down
If the sides of your shoes have worn through but the sole of it still is in good health, it could mean that youve chosen the wrong size for your foot. Though length is how shoe size is measured, wider or flat feet can quickly wear through the sides of running shoes. If this is happening to you, a half-size larger could be whats needed for your shoe, or stretch laces that can adapt to the foot on the run . If youre still burning through the sides of your running shoes, a reinforced upper may also be something to consider.
Fraying of the inside heel
More than meets the eye
Pain and injury
If unsure, ask
On offers a free service where you can contact the Happiness Delivery team with pictures of your current shoes and get feedback about if they need replacing or not you can find out more about this service here.
The Material Of The Shoes
There are some fabrics and materials that are more robust than others. For example, shoes that include graphene, which is lightweight and very tough, will last longer than shoes with a sole made of a softer material.
However, just because one part of a shoe is longer lasting it doesnt mean you wont need to replace them because there will be other components, such as fabric uppers, that will wear out.
Minimalist style running shoes, with fewer details, such as protection rands and toe caps, may well wear out before running shoes made with lots of added details for durability.
There is no hard and fast rule and you will get to know which shoes last longer and which brands make more durable running shoes, but its worth being aware of the materials that are being used in running shoes.
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How To Extend The Life Of Running Shoes
Even though running shoes will eventually wear out, you dont want to send them into an early retirement. Like making a sports bra last or preventing running injuries, youll get more miles out of your running shoes if you take care of them properly.
Here’s how you can extend the life of your trainers:
- Own multiple pairs of shoes. If you run in just one pair of shoes at a time, the pair shoulders all the weight of your running. But rotating multiple pairs of quality shoes distributes the stress you put them through, so they all last longer.
- Dry them out. You shoes will eventually get wet, whether it’s an unexpected downpour or you sweat until they’re soaked. After that happens, its important to dry your shoes out to keep them in top shape . Stuff some old newspaper in them to dry them quickly, or let them air out for a couple days before running again.
- Clean them up. Like running in the rain, your shoes will also probably encounter mud or dirt on your runs. Dirt can be abrasive to the shoes upper, causing it to wear out prematurely.
- Run on the proper surface. Road running shoes were made to run on pavement, and trail running shoes were meant for the trail. Your road shoes wont hold up to the abuses of the trail, and the lugs on your trail shoes will get worn down more quickly on rough concrete.
When To Replace Running Shoes
- For Active.com
Any number of factors can make your running shoes wear out faster. Even though the bottom of the shoes may appear to have plenty of tread, the mid-sole material can still be broken down. So how do you know when it’s time to chuck out the old and replace your running shoes?
If you viewed the mid-sole material under a microscope, you would see hundreds of tiny air pockets that look a lot like a sponge. This material is a polymer called EVA, or Ethylene Vinyl Acetate. When the foot strikes this material, the tiny air pockets collapse just like a sponge reacts when it’s squeezed. This action provides your foot with shock absorption.
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First Of All Running Shoes Actually Do Break Down
Before we get into how to tell when your running shoes are circling the drain, its important to understand whats actually going on there with their breakdown. Yes, running shoe companies have a vested interest in encouraging you to fork over $100-plus every few months. But the idea that you need to replace your shoes regularly isnt just a marketing ploy, Robert Conenello, D.P.M., a sports podiatrist and founder of Orangetown Podiatry in Orangeburg, New York, tells SELF. Your running sneakers actually do break down over time, starting with the foam that cushions each collision with the ground.
When you run, you take an average of 160 to 200 steps per minute, each of which compresses your shoes in between the ground and the weight of your body, Brian Metzler, a dedicated shoe geek, tester, and the author of Kicksology: The Hype, Science, Culture & Cool of Running Shoes, tells SELF. This causes the midsolethe squishy part in between the shoes bottom and the fabric upperto break down.
Midsoles are made of foams with technical-sounding names like ethylene-vinyl acetate or polyurethane , which trap air in small cells to absorb the shock of each foot strike. Over time, the impact of running causes these cells to warp and flatten, Dr. Conenello says. Even if youre not using your shoes regularly, the foam still loses some of its shape and resiliency, or the ability to bounce back after its compressed.
Shock Absorption Is Limited As Shoes Get Older
In a fairly old study, Cook, Kester, and Brunet at Tulane University examined the degradation in mechanical shock absorption in a variety of different shoes.1
First, using a running machine which simulated the impact associated with running hundreds of miles in a pair of shoes, the researchers tested in a controlled way how the shock absorption changed over time.
Then, they compared these artificially worn shoes to shoes worn by actual runners over an equivalent volume of running.
In the machine-simulated running, shoes had decreased to 75% of their initial cushion after only 50 miles this cushioning dropped to 67% after 150 miles and ultimately to 60% after 500 miles.
The shoes worn by the real runners also declined in cushioning, following the same pattern of rapid decrease in cushion initially, tapering off and nearly leveling out at 500 miles of running.
But when worn by real runners, the shoes only dropped to 80% of their initial cushioninggood news for shoe-shoppers.
Heres something you probably want to know:
The researchers found no significant difference in wear properties amongst many different brands.
The Nike shoes deteriorated just as much as the Adidas or Brooks shoes, despite each shoe boasting different cushioning technology.
So much for a superior brand!
Finally, Cook et al. tested the decompression theory, which many runners have likely heard of.
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How Often Should You Replace Cycling Shoes
Turns out that worn-out ones can wreck your ride
Running shoes are easy. You retire them after six months, 300 to 400 miles, or when theyre falling apart at the seamswhichever happens first. But what about those other workout shoes that are made of carbon and dont pound the pavement, but spin round and round sans impact?
Replacing cycling shoes every few years will probably work, says Eric Doyne, a spokesperson for Shimano cycling equipment. After all, your cycling shoes are practically impossible to walk in, meaning their super-stiff soles get very little wear. The big, triangle cleats, however, wear out faster. Constant clipping-in and clipping-out can wear down the plastic pieces and make detaching far too easy for riders who dont want to dismount mid-ride. If youre a real cycling junkie and you bike several times per week , its best to replace your cleats yearly, he says.
For the rest of us, apart from trading in your shoes every third Tour de France , Doyne recommends paying attention to changes in the cleats fit. Cycling shoes are meant to have an extremely snug fit and form to your foot. It helps you deliver the most power to the pedal for optimal performance, he says. So if you find yourself wiggling your piggies in your shoes way more than when they were new, it might be time to go shopping.
More from Womens Health:
When Should I Replace My Running And Walking Shoes
Finding the right shoes can feel like an endless journey. So once you find a comfortable pair of running or walking shoes, it is extremely hard to part ways. Rule of thumb is most running shoes last between 300 to 500 miles and should be replaced every three to six months. So, is it time to replace my running and walking shoes?If your exercise routine consists of walking 30 minutes a day, or an average of 3 to 4 hours a week, consider replacing your shoes every six months. If you are walking 60 minutes a day or an average of 7 hours a week, consider replacing your shoes every three months. After three to six months, shoes lose support and shock absorption, which may leave you prone to injury.
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How Do I Know If My Upper Is Worn Out
Visually seeing your foot pattern when inspecting the shoe usually indicates that the shoe has lost some structural integrity. The best indicator that your upper is worn out is if any part of your foot is proceeding to protrude out of the upper. Any holes, tears, or parts of the upper coming loose from the stitching indicate wear and tear and needs to be replaced.
Tips For Extending The Life Of Your Running Shoes
To keep your shoes going strong for as long as possible, try these tips:
- Rotate two pairs of shoes: The benefit is greater if you use different shoes because your body gains a slight cross-training advantage as it adapts to subtle differences in shoe design. Shoe rotation also gives midsoles time to decompress and the entire shoe time to dry out.
- Remove your shoes properly: Using the other foot to rake down on the back of the heel to pry off a shoe is bad form. Unlace each one instead and slip it off with your hands. Your shoes will thank you by serving you longer.
- Use your shoes only for running: Wearing running shoes around the house or town might make you feel empowered , but it will also prematurely wear your shoes down. They were born to runnot run errands.
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What Is Your Favorite Running Surface
Above: Running on hard versus soft surfaces has a direct affect on how many miles you can log on your running shoes.
Depending on the exact surface you run on, the bottom of your running shoes will wear out at a different rate. For example, grass or dry sugar sand trails are much easier on the bottom of your shoes compared to asphalt or cement sidewalks.
Common running surfaces include:
- Technical hilly hiking trails filled with rocks and gravel
- Treadmill at home or the gym
Another factor that affects mileage depends on your specific shoe type such as a minimalist racing flat versus a beefy trail running shoe.
How Do I Know If My Heel Counter Is Worn Out
The plastic insert wont be worn down, but due to the rest of the shoe showing signs of decline, it will change the angle of support of the heel counter, which is just as bad.
- Take your thumb and push the heel counter. A good working heel counter will not be able to be pushed inwards or downwards with your thumb.
- When checking your heel counter, place your shoes on a flat surface and look at them at eye-level from the back. If the shoes are tilting to any side, it will increase pronation while you run together with possible foot or knee pain.
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You Suffer From Plantar Fasciitis Following Your Workout
“The most prominent symptom of plantar fasciitis is arch and heel pain. It may feel like a stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot when you get out of bed in the morning, after standing for prolonged periods of time or when you stand up after sitting for a while. It’s also common to experience pain after you exercise, not during your workout. If your shoes are no longer supporting your feet in the way they used to, you may be at risk for plantar fasciitis. Make sure you get the proper workout shoe to support your arch type,” Dr. Cunha said.
Major Wear And Tear Signs
- Worn upper: If the sole is fine but the sides have worn through you might need larger shoes, stretch laces or shoes with a reinforced upper
- Fraying inside the heel: this might indicate the wrong size shoe as the friction from your ankle could wear it down while you run. This could be helped by tying shoelaces more securely to prevent your foot from leaving the shoe.
- Midsole feels too soft: if it doesnt spring back and collapses under pressure its time to replace the shoe. You might be able to spot creases, particularly in the impact zones.
- The shoes dont stand straight when on a flat surface
- Heel counter becomes less supportive, even mobile
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Key Areas To Spot Early Signs Of Wear
Running in spent trainers can increase the risk of picking up an injury, especially in the delicate joints of the ankles, knees, and hips. Losing the shock absorbency of the midsole can be serious, potentially leading to microfractures that take some eight weeks to heal.
Here are some of the main areas where excessive wear can suggest its time to replace your running shoes:
A: Excessive wear or balding in the toe area of the tread indicates an aggressive and powerful running style. Early wear in this area could indicate there may be damage to the midsole spring. Plus, losing grip in this area will affect your running efficiency.
B: Worn tread under the ball of the foot, especially when accompanied by similar wear across the heel, suggests a normal healthy gait, this means your weight is evenly distributed throughout your stride and there will be less obvious shoe damage to the sole. Dont be fooled by the evenly spread wear pattern, as this may be underplaying the damage to your midsole. Make sure you check for other signs of damage.
C: Excessive wear on the back of the heel suggests you may have a pronation issue, so ensure youre not using the wrong type of shoe, and check the midsole is still providing support.
A & B: If you notice creasing in the midsole materials in these areas, this would indicate your midsole has lost its ability to rebound sufficiently and is no longer providing the shock absorbancey it did when new.
The Importance Of Rotating Your Running Shoes
Hard core runners often have multiple pairs and styles of running shoes including racing flats, trainers, long distance shoes and trail runners. Another great reason to have more than one pair of running shoes is that rotating your shoes gives them a chance to air out, dry out and rebound between workouts.
This last point is extremely important and you should always have at least two pairs of running shoes at any given time. Midsole cushioning materials and memory foam inserts can take as long as 24 hours to fully recover after a run. If you have two or more pairs of running shoes in your athletic shoe stash at all times, this means you can rotate between shoes and let one pair dry out and recover while you are wearing a second pair.
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