Catalyst 4 Fitness

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When to Replace Your Workout Shoes

Buying the right pair of shoes for exercise is important so you perform well and not hurt your feet. But the next question is – when to replace your workout shoes?

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The answer to this question isn’t as straight forward as when many people replace dress shoes.  Often, the athletic shoe’s exterior looks in good shape, but the midsole – the layer between the top and the tread – wears out much quicker.

Invest in the proper footwear for your activity.  You shouldn’t be exercising in the same pair that you mow the grass in or that you wear everyday with a pair of jeans. If you run frequently, buy running shoes; if you play soccer or tennis, buy soccer or tennis shoes; and if you do a combination of strength training, cardio classes, and runs of less than 5 kilometers, buy cross-trainers.  Wearing the right shoes will provide the proper support, stability, and cushioning, and reduce the risk of injury.

While many running shoes may boast of increased support, cross-trainers give the amount of support and lateral stability that is truly needed in classes like Cross Training Circuits (aka Boot Camp), Metabolic Explosion Training, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and CrossFit.

If you are a runner, you should generally replace your shoes between 350 – 550 miles.  Golfers should look for new shoes after 100 – 125 rounds. And if you play specific sports such as tennis, soccer, racquetball or basketball, or if you wear cross-trainers, the time to buy new is after 60 – 70 hours of actual exercise time.

However, each person is different. Some run “heavy” and really pound the midsole while others are light on their feet.  You should also pay attention to the signals your body gives you.  If you begin to experience knee or shin pain after every run, yet you only have 250 miles logged, it could be due to your shoes wearing out or it could signal an injury.  You know your body so be sure to listen to it.

To help you know about when to replace your shoes, track how long you have worn each. Use a thin tip permanent marker to write the purchase date on the tongue of the shoe. Don’t use a ball point pen because it will smear from moisture.  Then, if you know you exercise 5 hours a week, run 10 miles a week, or play 1 round of golf a week, you can quickly calculate about how many hours, miles, or rounds are logged on them.  Because marathoners run so many miles each week and professional athletes practice several times weekly in addition to their games, many have two or more pairs of shoes that they alternate between.  Find what works for best for you and stick with it.

When it is time to replace your shoes, try to shop for them at the end of the day when your feet are slightly swollen from your normal daily activities, and bring the socks that you would normally wear when exercising.  Check the size by ensuring there is about a thumb’s width of space from the tip of the toe on your longer foot to the end of the shoe.  Walk around the store, or jog or jump in place to get a better feel for the fit of the shoe.  Most stores will allow you to return shoes within thirty days if they are not worn outside.  Take advantage of this.  Go home and wear them around your house for a few days.

Or if you buy online, you can try them on in the comfort of your own home.

With any pair of shoes, if you experience discomfort, rubbing, or pain, take them back and try another size or look at another model or brand.

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