How Long Should Your Shoes Last?

I used to tell my aerobic students that they should never wear their aerobic shoes outside of the dance studio.  This was to protect the dance floor and to keep it clean.  But it also had another advantage for them.  It allowed them to wear their aerobic shoes longer before they would need to purchase a new pair.  We estimated that they could wear their shoes for 6-8 months before replacing them.  This was for students who took an hour class, 3-4 times a week.  After that time, their shoes became their everyday shoes, used for casual wear since they were usually still white, very clean and looked great. Personally, I rotated my workout shoes every day.  And since I taught 3 classes a day, 6 days a week, I bought new shoes 4 or 5 times a year.  My closet was always full of shiny white aerobic shoes.

Now that I am walking instead of dancing on a “floating wood floor” in a dance studio, I have shortened the “formula” I used for my students. I am now walking on pavement or hard dirt trails so I only allow my shoes to be worn for less than 5 months before I change to a new pair.  I am also still rotating the shoe I wear each walk, since shoes need a rest time too.  Tests have also shown that this will help prevent injury.  I value my body, so a few extra dollars spent on shoes is well worth it!

If you want to physically test your shoes to see if they need to be replaced, here are a few things you could do:  1) look at the bottom and sides of your shoes.  Are the bottoms worn to a slant?  Is the tread worn down?  Do the sides take on the shape of your toes?  These are signs that it is time for a new pair.  2) Notice how they feel, or especially how your body feels while using the shoe.  Aches or pains in your arches, knees, hips or back may be caused by an over use injury or your walking/running style, but it may also because your shoes need to be replaced.  Also, if you are getting blisters that you never had before, it may be time for new shoes. 3) Take a look at the insole.  If you can see the shape of your foot pressed into the insole, you have worn out the cushion.  Time for new shoes.  4) Try turning the shoe over and with your thumb, press on the sole. Press upward into the middle of the shoe. If you find that there is little compression, it is time for new shoes.  In a new shoe, the midsole will compress easily and show a few wrinkles.

So, let’s think about it.  Maybe it is time for a new pair of shoes.  My motto is, “You can never have too many athletic shoes!”

Written by Joan Barch, 2016 Fitness Ambassador