Are you holding on to a pair of shoes that have seen better days? Old shoes that are past their sell-by date can not only look unsightly but have a detrimental impact on your feet. Learn how to tell when shoes are worn out and should be replaced with our guide to dealing with excessive wear.
This post may contain affiliate links which means that we get a commission if you choose to make a purchase through the link. This is at no cost to you. Please read our disclosure page for more information.
How Often Should You Replace Shoes?
As a general rule shoes last for up to 12 months if they are worn regularly. Obviously, if you alternate shoes or have two pairs that you wear or have a large collection to choose from they will last a lot longer. Running shoes tend to need to be replaced after 500 miles of wear.
This doesn’t however tell the whole story. This is because some footwear will need to be replaced because it looks worn whilst other shoes may look a bit battered but still function well.
How to Know When a Shoe is Worn Out
Learning how to tell when shoes are worn out is sometimes blatantly obvious. A case in point may be shoes that you wear to work. Clearly wearing worn-out shoes in the workplace doesn’t send the right impression. In order to look the part in your role at work, you need to look smart. That means that even if your current shoes are causing you no pain or discomfort but look messy or very worn they need to be replaced.
There are however less obvious scenarios. For example, expensive quality leather shoes are designed to be repairable and therefore can last for years longer than a cheaper pair.
If this is the case then how do you know when you need to replace worn-out shoes? Well, the following pointers can help you to decide whether to ditch a pair of shoes, repair them or buy something new.
Worn Out Shoes and Aesthetics
The fact is that you know it is time to replace your shoes when your shoes become unacceptably scruffy to wear in your chosen surroundings. That point in time where you need new shoes will depend on where you wear those shoes on a daily basis.
You should replace your shoes when you start to see obvious problems like holes or burst seams for example as your shoes will no longer be watertight or be helpful when you are walking outdoors.
If your shoes are worn with very obvious scuff marks which can’t be covered by polish or staining then it may also be time to replace your worn footwear. The color and markings on the surface of your shoes may not impact your ability to wear those shoes but clearly wearing them in the workplace doesn’t give the right impression.
Replace Your Shoes When You Have Shock Absorption Problems
Cushioning in certain times of footwear is an important part of the shoe design as it helps to protect your feet and support your body weight comfortably.
That cushioning is even more essential when it comes to running shoes and athletic shoes. It also matters if you have walking shoes that need to be super comfortable.
Of course, over time a pair of shoes cushioning and support will begin to be compressed. Those layers will start to be less able to offer shock absorption and no longer fit for purpose.
Having adequate support in athletic shoes is vitally important as without it you can damage your feet and cause foot pain problems such as plantar fasciitis or shin splints which can be hard to get rid of. This is why you need to be more meticulous about replacing shoes that you are wearing for sports because of the impact problems.
So whilst a running shoe may look ok outwardly replace your shoes after the 500-mile mark to protect your feet.
Get Ready to Buy New Shoes When They Lose Support
You know it is time to replace your shoes when you discover that the support you used to get from them is no longer there.
Arch support in particular may be incredibly important if you suffer from plantar fasciitis or flat feet. When that arch support starts to degrade then you are likely to find that your insoles no longer cushion you from heel pain or provide the foot alignment that you need for walking shoes. Whilst you may be able to get away with just buying new insoles in some shoes in others the arch support is built-in.
Shoes also need to support your foot through the upper as well. When the shoes become overused the upper part of your shoe naturally stretches out of position and no longer holds your foot in the right place anymore. A new pair of shoes is the only way to solve this problem.
Look At The Shoe Tread Pattern On The Soles of Your Footwear
When you are assessing whether to buy a new pair of shoes turn them over and check on the shoe tread pattern.
When you walk or run regularly in a pair of shoes your natural gait will cause certain parts of the shoes to fail before other parts, particularly on the soles. Most people expect some wear and tear on the heel of the shoe but you may find that the sole of your shoe has other areas that are more worn than others.
Many people find that one side of their sole contains greater wear and tear. Also, the area where they place pressure on the shoe with the ball of their foot can often start to create cracks or weaker spots in the shoe base.
Whilst some expensive shoe soles can be repaired it is much more difficult when this problem is happening with walking shoes and sneakers. As this breakdown of the sole will only continue to get worse this is the point where you should buy a new pair of shoes.
Examine Your Shoes Heels Before Replacing Your Shoes
It is not always time to replace your shoes when there is heel wear because in some cases the heels of your shoes can be repaired relatively easily by a cobbler.
Most shoes are going to get heel wear and tear and in many cases, the rubber heel of a shoe can be removed and replaced quite easily. In fact, many people may change part of the heel section of their shoes two or three times before the upper part of leather shoes starts to fail. You can even buy replacement heels to put on your shoes online.
The time to replace your shoes is not when the superficial part of your heel section is worn but when the internal structure begins to have problems. Many heel sections of shoes have a structure that acts as a block for the rubber part of the heel to sit on. Whilst the rubber section is easy to replace a base structure problem is usually a sign that the shoe or boot is past its sell-by date.
Discard Out of Shape Shoes
When you look at a new pair of shoes or sandals they have a defined shape with cushioning and support. Over time as your shoes are worn the shoes will start to change shape to adapt to your particular feet.
Over time this distortion in shape will get worse to the point where they start to no longer look or feel great anymore. Shoes that are too loose or that don’t offer cushioning and support can cause foot pain or contribute to foot problems such as corns and bunions.
Learning how to tell when shoes are worn out in this case is a simple matter of assessing whether they no longer resemble the original shoe or are hurting your feet.
What Are The Effects of Worn Out Shoes?
Worn-out shoes don’t just look unsightly but can impact your health and wellness. Shoes need to be replaced regularly and if you don’t then you may start to suffer from:
- Knee Pain
- Plantar Fasciitis
The consequences of not replacing your shoes can lead to long-term foot and knee problems that can be difficult to resolve and could be permanent. This means that saving money in the short term has bigger consequences in the longer term. Buying a new pair of shoes doesn’t have to be expensive and will help you to take care of your feet.
More Articles About Shoe Maintenance
How to Prevent Mold on Shoes In The Closet
How to Fix Peeling Leather Shoes
*This site is owned and operated by Chicpedi.com. Chicpedi.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.