You’ve probably heard once or twice before that you should switch out your walking and running shoes every few hundred miles. What you may not know is you should also be getting new shoes for each specific season.
Each season brings different activities that often require specific foot protection, and because these times only come once a year it can be easy to forget to replace them! Today, we’re going to be going over reasons why you should be replacing your shoes and signs that it’s time to do so.
Why Should You Switch Out Your Shoes?
First and foremost, your shoes help with posture and overall comfort when walking, running, and standing. With each step you take you are breaking down that barrier between your feet and the ground and wearing down the insoles that benefit you. This might not seem like a big deal but over time you will be doing more harm than good by wearing worn-out shoes.
If you have flat feet or high arches, your feet will not be properly supported with worn-out shoes. If you have running shoes that no longer have insoles, your legs and back will suffer and you can experience extreme pain.
Overall, the lack of cushioning and support can lead to:
- Shin splints
- Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis
- Stress fractures
How to Tell When Shoes Are Worn Out
Most people wait until their shoes physically look worn-out, but there are signs of bad shoes to watch out for, way before the appearance even starts to decline. These are signs that you should replace your shoes immediately:
- The sole pattern is worn down. Modern shoes are designed so that when the soles are worn down, they will start to show a different color.
- The heel is worn down only on one side. Often you can see this if the shoe is leaning to one side.
- There are wrinkles on the side or bottom of the shoe
- The uppers are broken down around the ankle
Podiatrist tip: Bring your old shoes with you when going to purchase new ones. These can be used as indicators that you overpronate, have a neutral gait, or supinate.
How to Give Shoes a Longer Wear Life
There are a few things you can do to make your shoes last longer.
Save walking shoes for exercise walks – Instead of wearing walking shoes for every activity, save them only for exercise or faster walks. Not only will this help prevent rapid growth of bacteria but it will save them from unnecessary wear
Air out shoes – Believe it or not, you should let your shoes air out between uses, especially if they get wet from exercise. Avoid leaving them in a closed space for a long time (like a gym bag).
If you wash them, let them air dry – If you decide to wash your shoes, use gentle soap and cold water to avoid breaking down the glue. Avoid throwing them in the dryer because this contributes to faster glue breakdown.
Replace the insoles – Changing the insole should not be substituted for getting new shoes but it can definitely help. If you have custom insoles, be sure to replace them every time you get a new pair of shoes.
Replacing your shoes is yet another easy way to promote healthy feet. If you don’t feel comfortable completely throwing away shoes every few months, you can keep them for activities like gardening, or you can recycle or donate the shoes.
If you are concerned your old shoes are the cause of your foot and ankle pain, call us to schedule a consultation! For more podiatry tips and tricks, subscribe to our blog.