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How Often Should You Replace Your Walking Shoes?

The sole of a woman's shoe as she walks.
AlexMaster/Shutterstock

Shoes aren’t made to last forever, and sports shoes are subjected to even more wear and tear than your everyday pair. But how often should you replace your walking shoes, and how do you know when it’s time?

Why You Should Replace Them

Even if your walking shoes still look okay, they could be worn out. And if you wear them past their lifespan, your risk of being injured increases.

The support within your shoes can wear down, and they might lose shock absorption. These issues aren’t always visible, but they can cause foot pain.

If you continue to wear worn-out shoes, you might experience shin splints, or neck and back pain.

How to Tell When Your Shoes Are Worn Out

It might not be obvious when your walking shoes are worn out. You have to look at more than what’s easily visible. You need to look at the inside and the outside.

Over time, all shoes show signs of wear, but here are some things you can check to make sure they’re still in good shape:

  • How they feel: If your shoes aren’t as comfortable as they used to be, it’s probably time to buy a new pair. You might notice they don’t have as much support, or that your feet hurt when you wear them, even for a short time.
  • How they fit: Are your feet sliding around? Looseness can be a sign that your shoes are breaking down internally—unless, of course, you’ve just lost some weight. Either way, you need a pair that fits snuggly. When your feet slip around in your shoes, it can cause blisters. Weight gain can make your shoes too tight, which also requires a new, better-fitting pair.
  • Look them over: Is the outsole visibly worn down? Depending on your step, the heel or any other part of the sole might be worn down. If there are any worn spots on the sole, they can affect how you step, which leads to leg pain over time.
  • Keep track of your mileage: Studies have shown that the shock absorption in running shoes wears out between 350 and 500 miles. You can expect a similar lifespan for your walking shoes. Even if they still look like they’re in working condition, if they’re no longer able to protect your feet, it’s time to invest in a new pair.
Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow has been a professional writer for almost two decades. Yvonne has worked for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and much more as a writer and editor. She's also a published poet and a short story writer. Read Full Bio »

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