Who doesn’t love a pair of fresh new kicks to wear at the gym?! What we don’t love so much, however, is the hefty price tag this often comes with. 

So just how often should we be replacing our gym shoes, in order to prevent injury and get the most out of our footwear and our workouts?

Your shoes play a very important role in protecting your body and joints from injury and damage. They absorb a lot of the impact when you squat, jump, sprint and lift - so naturally, over time, they begin to wear and tear. There comes a time when they’re no longer providing optimal support, cushioning or protection for your feet or joints, and this is when it’s time to bid them farewell…

In fact, ideally you want to switch up your footwear before this occurs, to give yourself the best chance of avoiding injury.

What’s the magic time frame?

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer as to how long you can keep your gym shoes for before they need replacing. It depends on a few factors, including:

  • How often you’re using them - the more times per week you’re wearing your gym shoes, the sooner you’ll need to buy new ones!

  • What type of activity you’re doing - for example, HIIT workouts place more force on your footwear, so this type of training will wear down your shoes faster than a relaxed stroll will.

  • The intensity of training you’re wearing them for - higher intensity usually involves greater impact, which again will reduce the lifespan of your shoes faster.

  • The type of shoe you’re wearing - some materials, sole designs, and shoe purposes wear out faster than others. For example, running shoes are designed with more flexibility than others, which may mean they also need replacing more frequently.

  • The terrain you train on - running outdoors versus running on a treadmill, for example, will influence the lifeline of your shoes.

As a general suggestion, experts say you should aim to replace your shoes after 300-500 miles of use. Of course, this means super active people may need to replace their shoes every couple of months, while someone who isn’t wearing them too often may only need to buy new shoes once or twice per year.

If it’s so individual, how do I know when the time has come?

Warning signs to look out for, signalling it’s time to replace your kicks include:

  • Excessive wear and tear on the sole. If the tread or grip on your shoes is worn down significantly (or no longer exists), particularly on the outsole of your shoe, this is a sure sign it’s time for a new pair.

  • Increased flexibility in the midfoot and heel - while shoes should be flexible in the forefoot, they should not be overly malleable in these places - so it’s time to switch things up.

  • You’re getting injuries more often. If you’re feeling niggles and pains after your workouts, it might be a sign to check your footwear… Instability or a lack of impact absorption can lead to increased risk of injury, so check on your shoes if you begin to experience this.

  • Similarly, if you’re experiencing pain (particularly in your heel or arch) after wearing your workout shoes, it’s time to take a closer look or consider replacing your footwear.

  • Your shoes feel less supportive. If you’re experiencing less “lightness” or bounce in your shoes after a while, the sole may have become too compressed. This means you’re getting less support and structure, so even though the shoe may look fine, it’s time to let go and grab yourself a new pair.

  • The heel is more worn down on one side. This is an immediate ticket to new shoe town. If the shoe is leaning more towards one side due to the sole being worn down on one side of the heel, it’s time to replace them pronto. Your shoes are no longer safe to wear, and this is a big contributor to injuries if not addressed quickly!

So as you can see, it’s important to be checking and assessing your shoes all the time, because not all signs they need replacing will be physical or visible!

How do I prolong the life of my shoes?

Here are our top tips for extending the lifespan of your favourite gym trainers:

  • Have more than one pair on rotation if possible. BY rotating footwear, you give the foam in the soles more time to decompress, meaning you’re extending the time they can provide you with adequate support for.

  • Get activity-specific shoes. Don’t wear running shoes for HIIT training and vice versa if you can avoid it. Shoes are designed to cope with specific activities, and don’t last well if they’re being used for other purposes.

  • Don’t wear them for walking. As we mentioned, often the lifespan of your shoes is measured by the number of miles they’re worn for. So naturally, walking add miles, which takes away from their durability. Consider having a separate pair of walking or “everyday” shoes to your workout kicks.

Don’t overlook the importance of your shoes in preventing injury and maximising your workouts and results - they’re a key piece of the puzzle! Those feet deserve some love, just like the rest of your body!

Need some more health and fitness advice and tips? How about some nutritious, easy recipes? Head to our blog for all this and more!