If you ask shoe manufacturers, they would recommend new shoes every 200 - 500 miles. That is quite a large range and how do you actually know when you've reached that many miles! There a difference between everyday shoes and running shoes.
Let's start with everyday shoes. First, you shouldn't wear the same pair of shoes every day. If you wear the same pair of shoes every day, they don't have ample time to dry and they won't maintain their shape. Shoes need a day to air out, or the leather will warp, and your shoes will start to lose their shape - not to mention start to get musty and stink.
If you have 2-3 pairs of everyday shoes you rotate throughout the week, you may be able to get more longevity out of them. Knowing the signs of worn-out shoes, such as wear on the outsole, wear on the inside of the heel and toe area, and if they feel like they've lost their spring inside, is important. If they start to look worn out, they probably are. Make sure to examine both the outside and inside of your shoes to see if it's time for replacements.
Running or athletic shoes may not last as long due to the more demanding use, even though sometimes they are worn less, it really depends on the demand placed on them. The recommendation for replacing running shoes is every 300 -500 miles. Now, there is some disagreement in the professional community about how often you should replace your running shoes, as well as what the consequences of keeping them for too long might be.
My opinion would be to see how you feel because unless you have a fit bit, fitness watch or other GPS device, you'll never know when you reach the 300-500 mile mark. Here are a few things to make note of when thinking it may be time for new running shoes.
- Are you all of sudden getting blisters? If your once-trusty shoes rub your skin the wrong way, it probably means they've altered shape during your many miles -- time for a new pair.
- Do you have new aches and pains? If you notice that your ankles, knees or hips get more achy after a run, it might be time to get a new pair of shoes. New, unexplained aches and pains can mean that the cushioning in your shoes is worn down.
- Do your feet get extra stiff or sore after a run? When you start to notice soreness and stiffness in the bottoms of your feet, especially your arches, it might mean that your shoes have worn down to a shape that no longer fits your feet properly.
- Just like tires, are the treads are worn out? The treads on your shoes are an important part of their anatomy. If they're worn out, your shoes won't roll in sync with the natural stride of your feet.
With both everyday shoes and running shoes, keep an eye on how they look and how they make you feel, this will be your best indication on when to get new shoes.
Dr. Jeffrey S. Hurless
DPM, FACFAS Board Certified Foot & Ankle Surgeon/Podiatrist
Medical Director, HealthyFeetStore.com