Today’s cardio-kickbox class was unlike any other day. My DJ had just given me a brand new cd that he’d created especially for my class; I was already fired up and ready to get folks moving. So I pop in the music, start the class and kick it into high-gear. We’re kicking, jabbing, jacking, and striking to the beats; oh the energy was high tonight. But for some reason I kept getting distracted. My shoes, even though I was wearing thicker socks, felt loose. I looked down several times to check if my laces had come undone, but whenever I looked down expecting to see the laces untied, they weren’t. So at one point, I finally bent down and re-tied my laces tighter than what they already were. It was at that point that I really paid attention and realized that it’s time for a new pair of shoes. Yes, even though I know the rules, like many others I also get “comfortable” with my favourite pair of sneakers. Even though I have other pairs that I rotate out to help minimize the wear and tear, my white,-now beige- shoes with the pink and black trim are still my favourites. But because I do know the rules and the tell tale signs of a worn out shoe, I know that it’s time to give them up. Why you ask? They’re already broken in, aren’t shoes supposed to be comfortable? Yes, shoes are supposed to be comfortable, but not worn out.
For the same reason that we need to change the tires on our cars and have them rotated periodically, we should also change our workout shoes. The purpose: to protect the body from injury and to increase performance in activity. Think of your workout shoes as the tires for your body. The difference between good tread and worn tread on tires can be best judged on the road during slippery weather conditions. I once had a friend tell me that he’d just bought new tires for his car, the old tires weren’t really old enough to be changed, but for him, the tread made the difference between driving 90mph and 110mph on the road. With the better tread, he was able to get more traction and ultimately better performance. Many car manufacturers will tell you that if you want to save on gas, make certain that the air pressure in the tires is adequate. Yet again, it’s about safety and performance. When thinking of fitness equipment, most people will consider, apparatus for strength training, a fitness DVD, music to inspire during workouts, and workout attire. But most will not even consider their footwear. For any activity that requires you to use your feet, which is just about everything, special consideration should be taken to make certain that they are protected.
Worn out shoes can lead to increased injuries to the body since the shoes begin to lose their stability, support and shock absorbency abilities. Over time, this lack of support begins to stress the lower body setting it up for injuries along the way. In my years of training and teaching, I’ve had many people tell me that after a workout, their back hurts, or their legs hurt or that the front of their legs are experiencing pain (shin splints). The first thing that I do is to look down at their feet to see what they’re wearing. If the shoes look “seasoned” I’ll ask when the shoes were purchased and in almost every case, the time to buy a new pair of shoes had been long overdue. In those cases, I’ll give a couple of stretches for them to do and then recommend that they buy another pair. In EVERY case where that recommendation was given, the person has come back to me to say, “WOW, these shoes feel great and I don’t have the pains anymore. I never would have thought to buy a new pair”
So what are signs that your shoes need replacing?
• Runners: it’s recommended that you replace your shoes every 300-500 miles or every 6 months whichever comes sooner
o If you log 25 miles/week – replace every 3 – 4 months
• Expiration Date: On your next shoe purchase, take a marker and write down the purchase date on the inside of the shoe, I usually put it on the tag. This will help you keep track of your shoe purchase dates without having to rely on memory.
• Leaning Shoe Test: Place your shoes on a table and look at them from behind, if they’re leaning to the sides… it’s time
• Examine the tread of the shoe, if it’s worn, you need new shoes.
• Twist the shoe, the midsole is what helps to provide stability and cushion, if it’s worn; chances are that the shoes have reached their limit. If the shoe twists easily, this is a huge sign that you need a new pair
• The body NEVER lies! Pay attention to what you’re feeling, are you noticing tightness, increased muscle fatigue, shin splints, pains in the lower back? It may be time.
• Save your shoes, rotate them! If your finances allow, buy 2 pairs of shoes to rotate out.
This was also the topic of our Body Beautiful Question of the week last week and here’s what some of our Facebook friends had to say:
Kristal Turner-Childs: Every 4-6 months and I buy two pair because I don't like wearing the same workout shoes every day.
Kimberly Zahour: I buy two pairs also! It's better to alternate and let the shoes completely dry out to extend the life of your shoes. 6 to 9 months would probably be good if you only wear them for workouts but I have to admit I'm over that mark.
Sydney Molare': never thought about it...just when they wear out
Joy Kagendo: Every 3 to 6 months. I feel like the soles get worn out pretty fast and I'm not willing to compromise my feet. If you put in an equivalent or 500 miles in your shoes you should replace them regardless of how new they look