Whether you participate in a sport or use them for day-to-day life, a good pair of athletic shoes is always worth the investment. There are many design and function options to help you pick out the best pair. However, just like most things, sneakers eventually break down. Broken-down shoes can cause pain or discomfort in your feet or legs.
Most sneakers for women retain their structure for up to 500 hours of use. If you are using them repeatedly for a certain sport, like basketball or volleyball, for example, that number can drop to 300 hours. Frequent turning, stopping, and jumping can all impact the life of the shoes. However, if you wear your sneakers for casual wear, you should start examining the condition of your shoes after about six months. Here are the most common warning signs that it is time to replace your shoes.
Start by looking at the interior and upper shoe. Friction breaks down the interior sole, causing physical damage to the structure. Make sure there are no holes or worn spots on the inside sole. Next, examine the upper portion of the shoe. Feel for signs of wear where your toes and heels rub. Pay close attention to the tongue, lace cage, and overlays. They should have the same shape as when you initially purchased your athletic shoes, which are available at high-quality retailers such as Browns Shoes.
The bottom of the shoe is usually the first part an athlete will look at to verify the condition of the shoes. There are four different areas to examine:
- Take a look at where your heel strikes the ground. Look for unbalanced wear patterns on the outsole. Your shoe may be breaking down or your gait patterns may demand a different shoe.
- Examine the rest of the outsole for similar uneven wear patterns. Shoes that show this damage may not be providing the necessary shock absorption.
- Set your shoes on a flat surface at eye level. Athletic shoes that rock or tip when you set them down should be replaced immediately.
- Grasp the upper shoe and outsole. Gently pull on the outsole. It should remain attached to the upper shoe and midsole. If there are no other concerns, a local cobbler may be able to re-glue the outsole.
The midsole is the layer of cushion between the outsole and the upper shoe. Its primary function is to absorb the shock when your feet hit the ground. Over time, you may feel the amount of cushion diminishing. If you see creasing on the midsole, that means that it is failing to properly support you, and the shoes need replacing.
New leg pain that is not caused by an injury is a sign to replace your sneakers. Even when shoes show no external signs of damage, they could break down or your gait may change. Some symptoms of neurological conditions can also start to show up in how you walk. New pain can be an early warning sign of arthritis. Alternatively, your shoes could be rubbing, causing you to develop blisters or corns that are not yet visible.
Plantar fasciitis causes sharp pains in the heel and arch. If the support structure of the shoe does not protect your feet, your mobility can be limited by this pain. This can also be an early sign of the shoe breaking down. If you are prone to plantar fasciitis or have other underlying foot, leg, or hip conditions, speak with a podiatrist to help determine the best shoe for your needs.
Just like a good pair of athletic shoes improves your game, bad shoes can also directly affect it. A ruined pair of shoes can also cause long-term injury and take the joy away from you when fully enjoying your sport. Make sure your shoes stay in good shape to keep the fun in your game and a spring in your step.
Athletic shoes are an important investment for anyone who wants to enjoy their sport. By examining your shoes for damage on a regular basis, you can ensure that you get the most out of your purchase. Look for holes and worn spots on the inside sole, uneven wear patterns on the outsole, and creasing on the midsole. If you experience new leg pain, this may also be a sign that it is time to replace your shoes. Most importantly, have fun and stay safe while enjoying your favorite sports!