When to change your trainers

How long should I keep my trainers before changing them? is one of the most regular questions we are asked in the clinic.

A runner or serious walker should expect to get no more than six months from a pair of trainers or walking shoes, some can achieve a year but we see many patients who are running in trainers that are over one year and sometimes 2 years old.

Trainers and walking shoes may look alright at first glance but look deeper and they will tell a different story.

Picture of walking shoe

Wear may not be obvious

Shock absorbing materials which offer resistance to impact are used to provide state of the art soles but they can only last for a certain length of time and put up with a limited amount of abuse.

How we run, our body weight and the surface we run on all determine the life expectancy of a shoe.

Will expensive trainers last longer?

Research has shown this not to be the case.  The compounds and materials used to make running shoes still have a finite life span.

How do I check my trainers for wear?

Hole in bottom of walking shoe

Uneven wear suggests a faulty gait pattern

Firstly turn them upside down and look at the soles – have you worn the pattern away in certain places, such as under the ball of the foot or the heel.

If so, this shows where you are placing most of your weight during activity.

If the underneath of the trainer looks quite worn and especially thin in places, then they have had their day and if there are holes in the sole…for goodness sake put them in the bin and go shopping!

Place your trainers on a table in front of you and look across the uppers – are they twisted out of shape, have you got a hole in the toe, are there cracks in the supports? – Yes then replace them.

Can I just put insoles in to extend the life of my trainers?
Please no!…..no matter how many insole companies tell you that you can, you are on your way to a whole world of problems.

The insole or footbed is really only offering a small percentage of the support your foot requires, the underlying materials of the sole of the shoe, especially in the heel and midfoot will still have lost shock absorbption and elasticity and the upper may no longer be offering support, so replacing the footbed will only worsen the problem.

Look at the side of the sole, especially around the heel area – is it looking crushed or wrinkled – if so, the materials in the sole have lost their ability to shock absorb – replace them.

What if may trainers look fine?.

These extremes of wear listed above, indicate that the trainers should have been changed a long time ago.  If your trainers are a year old or more, use them for something else and get some new ones.  You should never wait until cracks and holes appear.

I am getting pain, are my trainers to blame?

Faulty footwear can cause pain in the foot, knee or anywhere in the lower leg or even your back.

If you have not changed your usual training or exercise routine and you have had no previous injury, then there is a likelihood that footwear is the cause, so changing your shoes would be the first thing you should think about.

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