The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Longer-Lasting Athletic Shoes Promote Better Foot Health: Tips on Prolonging Their Life

Posted by on Friday, November 29th, 2013


Athletic shoes are a lot like tires. You can get better mileage with proper maintenance and rotation — but, eventually, they wear out. We know that tires should be rotated every 3,000 to 6,000 miles and that they’re good for about 40,000 miles. Yet, what about athletic shoes? How long do they last? Are there ways to extend their lifespan?

How Long Do Shoes Last?

The American Podiatric Medical Association says that walking shoes should be replaced every 300 to 600 miles, or every six months. Even if you only use your shoes for everyday walking, you are not getting adequate support past 500 miles. That can result in foot pain and other adverse effects on the health of your feet.

In fact, you might need to buy shoes every three months if:

– You walk 60 minutes a day.

– You are overweight or obese.

– You walk on rough roads mostly.

Keep in mind that athletic shoes begin aging in the warehouse. The glue that binds them together is already drying out while the shoes sit on the shelf. That being said, there are steps you can take to get more bang for your buck.

buy new shoes
It may be time to say “farewell” to your shoes if it’s been more than three to six months since you bought them. Image Source:

5 Ways To Get Better Longevity From Your Footwear

1. Rotate your shoes and air them out. Allowing proper drying time prevents degradation from foot oils. Buying two pairs of shoes at once will let you alternate footwear — which not only gives them a chance to dry and regain their shape again, but also reduces wear and tear on your foot muscles.

2. Skip the dryer. It’s possible to hand-clean your shoes, but never dry them — as this will assuredly disintegrate your shoe glue — not to mention, create a loud clanging that adds wear-and-tear on your expensive dryer, as well. If you’re mostly worried about shoe bacteria and stink, you can use the SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer to clean the insides without fear of destroying them.

3. Use your laces. Resist the temptation to wiggle in and out of your shoes. By unlacing and lacing every time, you will avoid wearing out the heel of the shoe faster (and giving yourself monster blisters!) Using a shoe horn can also help save the collar of your shoes.

shoe tips
Don’t be lazy — lace em up! You should also probably wear socks. Image Source:

4. Buy the right shoe for the job. You shouldn’t buy running shoes if you only plan to use them for walking. By the same token, a runner shouldn’t buy soccer or basketball sneakers simply because they’re “cool-looking.” Speak with a sales associate about your needs and buy a shoe designed for that purpose.

5. Waterproof your shoes. Waterproofing spray and shoe leather cream are great products for protecting shoe exteriors. Make sure you know what your shoes are made of — and that you buy a product that is compatible with that material. A leather cream, for instance, will destroy suede or nubuck.

How A Podiatrist Can Help Your Shoes Last Longer

Podiatrists can help you maintain shoes in several different ways:

– Help you find a quality shoe brand that is guaranteed to last.

– Fit you with custom insoles that will take some of the burden off your shoe insoles.

– Assess your shoes for signs of wear that could cause foot pain.

– Correct imbalances that cause shoes to wear out sooner.

If you’re in the NYC area, please call to set up an appointment with one of our shoe experts. We’d love to help!


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.