Worn Down

If your workout garb is giving you grief, your performance will suffer. And since most exercise relies on foot power, tip–top athletic shoes can be the make–or–break item in your closet. Keep tabs on their condition in case it’s time for a new pair.

  • Track the numbers. Tread and cushioning in your shoes deteriorate with every step. Experts recommend replacing them every 3–6 months (or 350–500 miles). If you’re a walker or jogger, base your turnover rate on how often you hit the pavement. If you’re averaging 7 hours/week or more, you’ll probably need a new pair closer to 3 months. And take into account your weight — more pounds mean greater wear and tear.
  • Look for obvious signs. Tattered tread, flattened mid– or insoles, and wrinkles or fissures in the sides and bottom of the shoe all indicate death of your footwear. Before you throw them out, though, take them along when you shop for another set — the wear pattern can give insight into your gait style and support needs.
  • Note pain and discomfort. Cramped feet, shin splints, even back pain can derive from poor shoe quality. Pay attention to your body’s cues during and after workouts. If those once–comfy shoes seem to be changing their tune, it’s probably time to hang them up.

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