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How often should I be replacing my shoes?

When was the last time you checked the bottom of your shoes?

One of the most commonly asked questions we receive as podiatrists are ‘how often should I be replacing my runners?”. The answer is not always as straightforward as you may think. Many factors lead to the correct answer.

Typical running shoes last between 8-12 months, which can be a little misleading. A more accurate way to track the lifespan of a runner would be between 500 to 750kms of use. Other factors that determine the wearing patterns of shoes include your biomechanics, weight, and what you use the shoes for and the terrain you use the shoes on.

To understand the wearing patterns, it’s important to break down the different layers within the shoe. The midsole layer of the shoe is typically made of a material called EVA, which compresses slightly when weight is distributed through it, supporting you when walking or running. A good sign that these shoes are past their prime is when you start to notice cracking and wrinkles in this layer.

The outsole of the shoe can easily be inspected. This layer of shoe typically wears the fastest as it is in constant contact with the ground. It is common for shoes to experience general wear and tear evenly across the balls of the foot and the edge of the heels. However, if you find extreme wear anywhere else or wear that is unevenly distributed, this could indicate that there is an underlying biomechanical cause that will need to be addressed.

Another way to check for outsole shoe wear is to place your shoes on a flat surface. Most shoe models should sit evenly without any rocking. If you notice an angle or if they feel unbalanced, this indicates the outsoles are worn.

The most apparent sign of wearing patterns is found in the upper mesh portion of shoes. Rips and tears within the upper mesh reduce the ability of the shoe to hold your foot stable and secure.

If you’re ever unsure about when you should be replacing shoes, please don’t hesitate to see your podiatrist.

To book an appointment with our podiatrists, click here!

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