How Often Should You Replace Your Athletic Shoes?
Buying new sneakers is a lot like changing the oil in your car. You have to pull the trigger depending on either time or mileage, and even though it's easy to forget, it's essential for overall function. Whether you've been tackling HIIT classes on the regular, pounding pavement, or spending more time at the squat rack, your workout is only as good as the shoes you do it in.
"Having a solid pair of shoes is important because of your foot health," says Ben Sweeney, coach at Brick New York. "When your shoes wear down, the molding for your foot becomes flatter and flatter. This can cause stress on the foot and ankle leading to injury, and even change your gait—that's how your foot comes into contact with the ground—over time."
It's fair to have a love affair with the lucky sneaks you tackled a half-marathon in last year. But your feet could suffer if you're a sucker for sneaker symbolism. Put those puppies in a special keepsake box if you must, and ask yourself: Are you overdue for a sneaker swap? Check out these guidelines on the right time to splurge on new kicks.
THE LIFESPAN OF AN ATHLETIC SHOE
If You're Running...
Shoe lifespan: 300 to 450 miles, or every six months
How can you tell? This is one sneaker you can put a mileage count on. Still, you know it's time to replace your kicks when they begin to have less "pop" (or response) upon contact, there are visible signs of wear on the sole, and the upper (the part covering your foot) shows signs of breaking down, says Ted Fitzpatrick, director of product footwear running and training at Reebok.
Factors to take into account: "A heavier runner might break the shoe down faster than a lighter runner," says Fitzpatrick. "Surface matters, too. Someone who runs on soft surfaces might get more miles than someone who exclusively runs on cement or pavement."
If You're Weightlifting...
Shoe lifespan: Roughly 12 months
How can you tell? Since you wear weightlifting shoes dramatically less than other sneakers, they're going to take a lot more time to wear down. They will also show fewer visible exterior signs of wear. You may not see substantial breakage on the sole of a lifting shoe, but the upper will lose some rigidity. "Listen to their body," advises Joe Nguyen, senior merchandiser at Asics. "If the cushioning is off or you feel like it's not giving you the same experience, then it's time to switch."
Factors to take into account: "They may not break down all that fast," says Sweeney, "but once they start to really smell, it's time to ditch them."
If You're Training...
Shoe lifespan: Roughly 6 months
How can you tell? Like running shoes, training shoes will shoe signs of wear on the sole and upper. Training (like banging out box jumps and tackling lunges) involves a lot of lateral movement, so look specifically at the lining of the sneaker for fraying and ripping. If you're seeing the inner materials, it's time to toss 'em.
Factors to take into account: "If you work out all the time, it's smart to have a couple pairs you alternate between," says Sweeney. "If you don't, you could bust through a pair of training sneakers much sooner."
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.