So you’ve got your next adventure planned, a lot of preparation has gone into that big trip. Maybe you are off overseas or starting bush walking. But have you stopped to think “is my footwear going to support my feet while I’m away?”. The last thing we want is to injure ourselves while we are away, potentially stopping you from enjoying your latest adventure due to pain in feet legs, knees or back.
Here are the 7 Factors that Impact on Shoe Wear
A good walking shoe generally lasts about the equivalent of 6 -12 months of use, or about 500 to 850 km. So if you are walking 35 km per week, or an average of 5 km per day, the kilometers add up fast.
Let’s put this in perspective 1km is about 1200 to 1500 steps so 10000 steps is about 7km. Remember for health and well-being it is recommended that we aim to walk 10000 steps a day. So if you are keeping active then you’ll accumulate the kilometers fast.
Also the surfaces your moving on (hard like concrete or soft like grass), the load you are carrying (eg a back pack) and the terrain itself can reduce the time our shoes last.
What about if we haven’t worn our shoes for a long time will they still be ok. I had my favorite pair of shoes which were super comfortable, I put them away in the wardrobe, and almost forgot about them, about a year later I found them and very happily put them on and wore them for the day, my super comfy supportive shoes went in the bin that night. They really hurt my feet and I struggled to wear them for the day. Why? Well the materials the shoes were made of had broken down over time.
Consider the tyres on your car – they have a production date printed on them. And even if they have never been used, if they’re over 10 years old they are now illegal to use. This is because they break down over time and it’s no difference to your shoes. So if you have had your shoes for greater than 12 months it may be time for an upgrade.
3 Structural Integrity
Shoes need to have some structural integrity. The test you can to do check this is to brace the heel of the shoe with one hand and hold the front in the other hand and firstly bend the shoe in a twisting motion from side to side and then secondly bend the front half of the shoe downwards towards the sole. if the shoe bends excessively in either direction then it’s a sure sign the shoe is worn out.
4 Shape of Shoes
Have your shoes lost their shape do they look or feel floppy? Maybe the sides are collapsing in or look twisted. These are signs your shoes have lost their shape. If tthis happens they won’t provide adequate support and can really impact your foot function.
5 Worn Out Soles
Turn your shoes over and look at the underside is there much tread left? Are there spots worn smooth? Now focusing on the heels, the rest of the tread may look fine, but often the outside edge of your heels can be worn out and can even lead to the soles of your shoes becoming tipped outwards. The tilt can negatively affect your walking.
A worn sole can also increase your risk of slipping and falling which none of us want to experience
6 Worn Out Insoles (inside of shoes)
Insoles are designed for support and cushioning, if they are flattened or mis-shapen then they won’t be carrying out their purpose correctly. With your feet pounding the ground for possibly long distances, this cushioning and support is vital for your comfort.
7 How Do They Feel?
This is a bit more subjective as it’s about about how you feel in the shoes. If you notice somethings just different. Maybe the cushioning has gone or or they just don’t feel as nice or the same as they used. This is a good sign that the shoes are wearing out.
Also if you’ve had an increase in symptoms such as muscle fatigue or pain, joint pain or you feel your walking differently and nothing else has changed. Then remember to check your shoes as they may be the cause.
Your shoes can have a significant effect on your body’s biomechanics (the way you walk and function). Worn, flattened or twisted shoes will alter your gait. Similarly insoles that have lost their cushioning and support can cause your feet to sit unnaturally in your shoes. Worn out shoes can throw your whole body out of alignment and cause aches and pains. Even your knees, hips and back can be affected.
So if you’ve planned your dream holiday or just getting back into exercise if you are unsure if your footwear is worn check with your podiatrist on your next visit or with your local sports store who specialises in footwear. Getting your shoes right can really help you function at your best.
Did you find this information useful? What has been your experience with shoes?
Please let us know below.
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