Treat Your Feet Right: When to Replace Your Worn Out Shoes

Your shoes are an investment in your whole body. STACK Expert Jennifer Miller offers an informative guide to selecting the right shoes for you.

Shoe graveyard

Your shoes are more than a fashion statement; they are an investment in your whole body. Wearing worn-out shoes can adversely affect how your feet and ankles move. Do you have shin splints or plantar fasciitis? These conditions may be caused by old shoes.

Your feet are not the only part of your body that bad shoes compromise. They can also cause sacroiliac joint pain, leg fatigue,  and back and knee pain.

When to replace

As a general rule, you should replace your shoes every 300 to 500 miles. But if you wear your shoes only to run—or switch off between two or more pair of shoes—you may be able to keep your shoes for between six months and a year. If you wear your shoes for daily living, those 300 miles are going to add up quicker.


A good pair of shoes will cost you about $100. If you have specific foot/mechanical problems, you may need orthotics. Orthotics are meant not just to correct foot alignment but also to control the speed and magnitude of the motion you generate when you walk and run. A pair of custom-made orthotics will cost you or your insurance company about $400. Depending on your weight and activity level, they should last between 3 and 5 years.  If you are under 16, you are better off purchasing a temporary pair of inserts for about $45 until your feet stop growing.


A good pair of shoes will "fit like a glove." Your heel should be snug, your arch should be supported, and your toes should have room to wiggle. The length of your runs will also factor into determining the correct shoe size. Sprinters want their shoes to stop at the end of their toes, while marathon runners want a thumbnail's width of space from their toes to the end of their shoes.

Arch Type

Your foot type and the way you walk and run will determine the proper type of shoe for you. If you have a normal arch and neutral foot alignment, you should buy a stability shoe. This is the case for most runners. These shoes usually last about 100 miles more than a cushioned shoe.

If you have a high arch and your feet roll out when you walk or run, you will benefit most from a cushioned shoe. Cushioned shoes should be used by light, efficient runners with no history of injury. They are lighter, less stable and break down faster compared to other shoes. If you have flat feet that roll in when you walk and run, you need a motion control shoe. Very heavy runners also need a motion control shoe.

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