How Often Should You Replace Walking Shoes?
If you love walking, then you know how hard it is to replace a pair of comfortable walking shoes. It's like coming to the end of an era. And at that point, it feels like you're going back to square one.
Don't worry, though.
It gets easier with time. And with the new trends and features in the footwear market, you'll get the perfect pair in no time.
Still, many walkers cling on to their worn-out shoes long after its time. But according to health specialists, it’s dangerous to walk in a worn-out pair of shoes. More so, you're likely to damage your legs in the end.
To prevent that from happening, you need to be aware of the signs that show you it's time to replace your walking shoes.
How Long Should a Pair of Walking Shoes Last?
Walking shoes typically last longer than running shoes. Usually, the shock handled by your feet is often less when you walk than when you run. As such, the effect of wear and tear tends to be minimal.
Ideally, how long walking shoes will last depends on the following factors:
How often do you wear your walking shoes? For example, if you wear them every day of the week, then you’ll have to get a new pair sooner than someone who walks only three times a week.
Do you get the drift?
The lesser the time you spend walking, the longer your sneakers will last. And that mean you won’t have to replace them with a new pair every now and then.
There’s something else you need to know:
Just because you don’t walk all day in your shoes doesn’t mean they’ll still be new when you finally decide to wear them frequently. That’s because they’re still subject to wear and tear even when they’re not in use, although the effect tends to be minimal.
For example, when on your rack, your shoe air pockets may be dissipating slowly, this lowers the quality of cushioning. In some instances, the glue holding the shoe together also tends to dries up.
Even the best designs have their limit, and your sneakers aren’t any different.
The right design is good until it hits the 500-mile mark. But after that, your shoes are as good as dead.
How to Know If Your Walking Shoes are Dead
For you to experience the full benefits of walking, your shoes need to be in mint condition. But if they’re dead, and they will be anyways, upgrading your collection would be the only way to go.
But before you go ahead to choose sneakers to replace your current pair of shoes, you need to check if your current shoes are actually dead so you can retire them. Here’s how to do that:
Check the Inner and the Outer Soles
If you notice that the grip is loose and, to an extent, the color isn't the same as when you bought the shoe, that’s a good sign that your shoes are dead.
Also, check for foot imprints on your inner sole or less cushioning when you walk. Both these signs indicate that you should prepare to buy a new pair of walking shoes.
Check the Heel Section
If the heel wears down in one area, it causes your shoe to bend toward a particular direction.
Stretched heels are also a sign you need to get a new pair of shoes soon.
Check the Uppers
The upper is one of the most important parts of a shoe. It needs to be in good condition and comfortable enough for your toes and insteps.
However, even the uppers wear out with time just like the other parts of your sneakers.
So if you notice that they’ve broken down, you had better be prepared to get yourself a new pair of shoes as soon as possible.
Test Your Walking Shoes to Determine Whether They’re Dead
Buy a new pair of walking shoes once you’ve used the current ones for about two or three months. Then, take shifts wearing the old and the new pair to determine the difference in the level of comfort.
This way, you’ll be able to determine if the margins are significant to warrant throwing away your old sneakers.
Why You Should Never Wear Worn Out Shoes
Even with all factors considered, some people still struggle to move past worn out sneakers. In some people’s eyes, the shoes still look okay to handle a couple more miles before they’re truly dead.
But it’s not always a good idea to wear worn out shoes.
Dead Shoes Can Cause Heel Spurs
Heel spur is a foot condition where you feel pain on your heel after you sit or lie down for an extended period.
It's as a result of the tension or inflammation of the bone on the bottom of your foot.
More often than not, this condition arises from poorly cushioned walking shoes.
Worn-out Shoes Can Cause Shin splints
Without the right support that a pair of shoes should offer, you may feel sharp pain inside the lower leg bone.
Such a condition is more common when you start walking as an exercise without the right shoes or when using worn-out sneakers.
Dead Shoes Trigger Stress fractures
If you have a habit of overusing your walking shoes, then you're likely to develop thin cracks on your foot.
If it gets worse, the pain extends to the lower part of your leg, rendering you inactive.
So why would you want to go through all these when you can save yourself the trouble by simply changing your worn out walking shoes?
The Right Time to Replace Your Walking Shoes
Now that you know why it’s a bad idea to wear old, worn out shoes, it’s time to look at how often you should replace them.
It’s important to understand that the lifespan of a pair of walking sneakers differ from person to person. That’s to say you’re likely the one to decide when exactly to get a new pair.
Even then, there’re tips that can point you towards getting a new pair of walking shoes at the right time. These are as follows:
Time Spent Walking
Ask yourself this simple question:
How long do I walk in my current pair of shoes?
If you walk for an hour, say four times a week, then you should consider replacing your shoes after four months.
If that seems like a stretch and you walk two or three times a week, then get a new pair after about five months.
Total Distance Covered
If you walk fast and cover a relatively large space, then you should look at getting a new pair of walking shoes once you hit the 500-mile mark.
After all, 500 is the standard rage for many designs.
Your shoes are in their final stretch past this limit. And you may start to feel some discomfort, especially in the inner sole.
Check Your Weight
Your weight determines the pressure you put on your shoes.
If you’re an overweight walker, or someone who weighs above 180 pounds, consider getting a new pair of heavy duty walking shoes within two to three months.
How to Increase the Lifespan of Your Walking Shoes
This guide wouldn’t be complete without some tips on increasing the lifespan of your walking shoes.
So here’s how to make sure your pair sticks around a little longer.
Air Your Walking Shoes After Use
Place your shoes where they can breathe easily. Air circulation helps to dry up any moisture that forms and sticks in the shoes when walking.
Moreover, airing your pair of sneakers is also a good way to prevent your shoes from making a squeaky noise.
Use Your Walking Shoes Strictly for Walking
There’s a reason why footwear brands design different types of shoes.
For example, New Balance walking shoes are strictly for walking. And subjecting them to any other kind of activity will simply make your pair wear out too soon.
What we’re saying is this:
Treat walking shoes as strictly walking shoes. If you need a pair of sneakers for other purposes, look for the ones designed for those activities.
After all, you want your walking shoes to last for long and, if possible, give you some few miles past the 500 range.
Always Air Dry Your Shoes After Washing Them
Always use cold water and a soft brush to wash your shoes. That way, you won’t interfere with the adhesive force of the glue holding the sole unit and the upper together.
Once you wash your shoes, give them time to air dry. Avoid using a dryer because the heat from the device can mess up with the glue.
Replace the Insoles
Most walking and athletic shoes have an inner sole that you can remove. So if you notice that yours aren’t in good condition, get some new custom inserts as soon as you can.
After all, it’s cheaper to replace the insoles than buying a new pair of walking shoes.
Always Remove Your Shoes by Hands
Sure, you're tired after a long day. But that shouldn't be a reason to kick shoes off your feet.
Use your hands instead. It’s safer that way. In fact, you don’t risk ripping out the bottom of the sole while you’re at it.
Wrapping This Up
Even the best walking shoes don't last forever, and if the makers point out that you need to get a new pair, then, by all means, do.
It will save you the stress and cost of dealing with the consequences.