I'm going to talk to you today about when you need to replace your athletic shoe, walking shoe, running shoe, or the shoe you use for your exercise.

Check the Soles of Your Shoes

First of all, the sole of the shoe is something you can observe. And oftentimes based upon the foot type you have, you may be wearing it out. If it's worn down extensively in the ball and you're losing the tread, that shoe needs to be replaced.

What Is Your Shoe Mileage?

Next, the shoe will last for about 400 to 600 miles of exercise activities. You have to determine how much of that activity you do every week, and then you can figure it when to replace them. 

How To Tell If Your Shoe Is Worn Out

The best way to test your shoe, to see whether the shoe is worn out besides looking at the sole is to hold it firmly in the back and the front and bend it. In the new shoe, that shoe should bend here at the ball. Where is that, where's the ball? That's where your toes join the foot. When you go up on your toes, that's the ball of the foot, that's here. So let's check this shoe and it doesn't mean just doing this both hands, front back and give it a good push. When you go to the store, be sure you pull all the foam and cardboard and whatever they have in it out when you're checking out that shoe. So you can see, not bad, bends at the ball, not in the middle. And that generally means I can't really twist it side to side very easily. You don't want it flopping and twisting like a piece of taffy. Lastly, the back of the shoe should also stay firm. And if it's been pushed out of shape, it won't be that way.

Finally, when we look at the shoe, either from the back or the front, look at the upper part of the shoe, that's important too. We all wear shoes differently and you may be pushing the side of the shoe out over the sole, even though the bottom looks okay. All of those are reasons to then replace the shoe.

Let's Test A New Shoe

So let's take a look at another new shoe, first to see if it has the right qualities and second, where would it wear out? Here's a new shoe, and this shoe is very lightweight, actually meant for diabetic patients, but that's a different category. We're talking about exercise shoes. So when looking at this shoe and I bend it front to back, you look and see that it really bends easily, really floppy. And furthermore, it's bending all the way back to here, almost to the middle. When I twist from side to side, not too bad. And the back of the heel is pretty square to the bottom. It's a little too lightweight for extensive exercising, maybe okay for around the house and the sole is in good shape.

Let's Test A Worn Out Shoe

Finally, let's go to a really worn out shoe. Notice the N on the side of the shoe, that's New Balance, great company, just because it's a great company, you still need to test the shoe. You look at the sole, that's okay, but let's bend it from front to back. Hmm, there it is, right in half. This shoe likely never had a shank in it or a stiffener from the heel to the ball in the first place. And then that means it'll flop from side to side, that one is ready for the trash.

With the following information, you should be better equipped to, number one, get a good shoe in the first place. And number two, know when to replace your shoes.

To learn more about how to tell your shoes need replacing, check out this blog!  

5 Ways to Tell It's Time to Buy A New Pair of Shoes


Dr. Rion Berg
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A podiatrist in North Seattle treating families for over 40 years.