How Often You Should Replace Your Exercise Shoes

This guest post comes from Paige Corley, a Program Director at the Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge.

The question of replacing your exercise shoes is a toughie and varies depending on which activity you are doing, how often and at what intensity. Honestly, I don’t have an exact answer for you, but here are some things to consider when deciding if your shoes are in need of replacing:

  • Active Individuals: (running/walking 3-4 times a week; lower mileage) your running/walking/cross-training shoes should be replaced at least a couple of times per year.
  • Running Enthusiasts: If you are an avid runner or walker (exercise more than 4 times a week) you might need to replace them every 3-4 months.
  • Endurance Runners: If you are training for a triathlon, half- or full-marathon you will probably need to replace them every 2-3 months.
  • Check the tread on your shoes: Notice when the tread begins to become worn – this is usually a good sign that your shoes need replacing. You also want to notice any odd patterns of wear (excessive wear on the heel, or one side of the shoe could be an indication of a gait issue such as pronation or supination; these conditions can cause knee, IT band and hip issues).
  • Heavy Steppers: If you know that you are a heavy stepper – either in the toe or heel – then you might consider replacing your shoes more often knowing that you are harder on them.
  • If the Shoe Fits: If possible, when you find a shoe that you really like, purchase two pairs and alternate wearing them. This allows for the shoes to air out and dry between workouts as well as ‘recover’ from the most recent exercise.
  • Replace for Weight Loss: If you are currently losing weight you might find that your shoe size or width will decrease which means you will need to replace your shoes for proper fit even if they are not worn out.
  • Mark Your Calendar: Make a note of when you started using your new shoes so that you are not guessing about how long you have used them. Six months comes and goes very quickly.
  • Wear Your Exercise Shoes Only for Exercise. If you wear your running shoes all day long they will wear out much more quickly.

If you are just beginning a new exercise routine and you have been sedentary for at least a year, you need to purchase new exercise shoes – even if you have a brand new pair that has just been sitting there; shoes do break-down even without use. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see here at The Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge; folks showing up with very old shoes – or worse, shoes that have been worn every day for quite a while. These shoes are not going to hold up once our exercise program begins and foot/knee/hip problems are sure to follow.

I realize that shoes can cost quite a bit of money these days, but the money is well spent. The money you spend proactively on new shoes is far less than the money (and time and energy) you spend when recovering from an injury. 
Make sure you go to an actual running store with knowledgeable sales people who can analyze your gait (which is the way your feet move when you walk or run) and put you in the proper shoes. Make notes of what is said so that you know what size and kind of shoes you need (neutral, pronation, supination, etc.). After that, you can go online and purchase them, saving you a bit of money.

If you need even more rationalization for replacing your shoes more often, here’s this: many shoe stores give a discount on a new pair of shoes if you donate your old ones. These shoes are then donated to folks who aren’t looking for shoes to help them exercise but ones that simply protect their feet.
It’s a win-win.

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