If you know me, you know how much I believe in barefoot training as often as possible! But not when you do plyometrics. And not everyone loves barefoot training, nor is it always convenient, so here is a post about workout shoes. And while your shoes might feel great, it might be time to replace them… and that is no fun when they are finally comfortable! Running and walking shoes don’t last forever, and the support for your feet does wear out as your break down the cushioning with every step that you take.
Did you know that shoes actually begin to age before you even buy them? Here’s the scoop:
(1) Since they are glued together, the glue is already dying out while the shoes are waiting for you on the store shelf or in the warehouse.
(2) The air pocket in the cushioning might already slowly be dissipating–why do you think that the older models are on sale? They will give you less wear before wearing out! Don’t be shy and ask the salespeople how long the shoes have been in the store.
Typical shoes die after about 350 to 500 miles, depending on a few factors, one of which is your weight—the more you weigh, the faster they wear out, and the amount of usage they get; if you walk an average of 7 hours per week (one a day), then your shoes should be replaced every three months. If you walk about 30 minutes a day, the support will last about six months—every time we change the clock!
You can find out if your shoes are dead by rotating walking shoes: alternate an old and a new pair, and see if you can sense the difference between them.
An easy way to see whether your shoes are dead is to look at the sole. If you notice any of the following, it is surely time to go get another pair of athletic shoes: the heel is worn more on one side than on the other; the sole tread pattern is worn down; there are wrinkles in the side or bottom of the sole.
Remember this: wearing dead shoes no longer gives you the support and cushioning that your feet need and want, and this can lead to shin splints, heel spurs and plantar fasciitis, iliotibial band syndrome and stress fractures.
Here are some tips on how to care for your athletic shoes so that they have a little longer life:
~Save your walking shoes for exercise walks. Don’t wear them all day but use them only for your exercise time—less exposure to foot moisture and bacteria!
~Air out your shoes between uses. Make sure you store them where they are exposed to air so they can dry out fully between uses—don’t leave them in your gym bag!
~Replace the insoles: if you wear custom insoles, replace them every time you replace your shoes and do not think of changing insole as a substitute for new shoes—they do not give you the same cushioning and support as the shoe itself.
~If you wash your shoes, use gentle soap and cold water so as to not destroy the glue; and don’t throw them in the dryer—the heat will contribute to faster breakdown of the glue.
~If you walk daily or more than once a day, it is a good idea to own two pairs of walking shoes and alternate them, allowing them to dry fully between uses.
Remember that walking is an all-around aerobic exercise that you can do anytime, anywhere, and it requires no equipment—besides good shoes!
And since we are talking about walking, here are some tips to help you do the most of your walks:
~Walk fast enough to make your heart beat faster, but you should still be able to talk, even if it is laborious.
~ Walk heel down first, then toes down. At first, it might take a lot of concentration to do so, but after a while, it will become second nature. Think “heel-toe, heel-toe” as you walk.
~Good form includes your head erect, your stomach in and your arms freely swinging at your side.
~Did you know that you can estimate your speed by counting the numbers of steps you take in 15 seconds? 15 steps is about 2 miles/hour, 23 is about 3 miles/hour, and 30 is about 4 miles/hour.
~Remember to wear reflective clothing on darker days
~Add some hills, sprints, jumps if you need to be challenged; interval training outside is one of the best!