When Should I Change Shoes?

How can you tell when it is time to change your athletic shoes?

Whether you are a die-hard runner or an occasional gym user, there are lots of different opinions on this topic. Many of them are based around mileage and time, or age of the shoe. For example, discard your shoes after 700 km. I don’t necessarily subscribe to that theory.

A lot of different factors should come into play, like the body weight of the individual, their gait style, what they are using the shoe for, and what sort of surfaces they are running on. A bit like tyres on a car, depending on their usage, the wear and tear will be different for everyone.


Basic Anatomy of the Shoe

Before we can analyse our shoes, we need to understand the basic anatomy of the shoe. First, we have the outsole, its primary intention is to grip the ground and provide an interface with the shoe and the ground. This definitely needs to be durable to enable it to last.Next, we have the midsole component. This provides the shape, the cushion and the contour of the mid foot.Lastly, we have the upper, which is the bit that fastens the foot to the Midsole..


Predominantly, you will find one of the first areas to wear on the shoe will be the outsole. This is also the area where gait patterns can affect the wear of the shoe. For example, someone with an abducted gait (turned out feet) you will get a very specific wear site through the back outside quarter of the shoe. This does not mean this is where all the compression is going, it is where the impact is so friction of the surface causes the wear pattern.

So When Should I Change Shoes?

Once the outsole shows significant signs of wear, and is perhaps starting to wear through, you need to start looking for a new pair of shoes.

Another sign to look out for is when the midsole starts to show little lines of compression, which can deviate or distort the upper of the shoe. The shoe will begin to take on the position of the foot. Different shoes will deform at different rates, depending on the construction and stability of the shoe as well as the materials used. This is one of the reasons that you need to get a shoe that matches your gait style and foot type.

Another area of common wear is through the inside of the back of the heel. When this starts to wear through, you are more likely to be prone to blisters, so it is a good idea to change shoes before you get to this point. Another option at this point is to have this area lined before you wear it in.

So, the three basic things to look out for are outsole, midsole and upper wear.

“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” or “ better the devil you know” are important points to consider when assessing your next shoe purchase.

If you need any advice on new shoes, please do give us a shout!

Intro Sentence – How can you tell when it is time to change your athletic shoes?

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