How Often to Replace Your Shoes

Best Foot Forward: Here's How Often You Should Be
Replacing Your Shoes

When you find that perfect pair of shoes that fits just right, it can be really hard to let it go. But the reality is, all shoes have an expiration date – it’s a matter of knowing when exactly that expiration date is. (Hint: It’s not when your sole begins to peel off your shoe.) 

With each step you take in your shoes, you are slowly breaking down much-needed cushioning and support. That means if you hold on to a pair of shoes for too long, it can cause some serious problems, from leg and foot pain to plantar fasciitis. Here, we’re sharing some insight into how often your shoes should be replaced.

The 500-Mile Limit

As a rule of thumb, most everyday shoes – including athletic shoes – have about a 500-mile limit, max. If you walk for an average of three to four hours a week (about 30 minutes a day), then your shoes should be replaced every six months. If you’re a runner, on the heavier side, or regularly walk more than four hours a week, plan to replace your shoes every three months or so.

Signs Your Shoes Should Be Replaced

Beyond the 500-mile rule, there are several red flags that indicate a pair of shoes is past its prime. These include:

  • Heel breakdown / Feeling a little uneven?
    When your shoe’s heel starts to break down, one will typically outpace the other. This causes the shoe to lean more on one side than the other – a pretty good indication that the shoes are toast. 
  • Worn down sole tread pattern / Turn your shoes upside down and examine the outsole.
    Excessive wear, such as the tread wearing down or even disappearing in parts, is a sign that it’s time to retire the shoes.
  • Loss of comfort / This one may seem obvious, but if your shoes are starting to feel uncomfortable, you should probably replace them.
    Any discomfort likely means that the midsole, which offers your feet cushion, is wearing down and not providing the same support as before.
  • Pain in your feet, arches, or heels / Foot pain is always a major red flag and should never be ignored.
    Experiencing foot pain, especially during a workout, could indicate that your shoes no longer deliver adequate support. When in doubt, replace!

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