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Is it time to replace your walking shoes?

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If you have been wearing the same walking shoes since the beginning of the year, or even longer, now may be the time to replace those shoes! 

Often, we get very comfortable in the shoes we have on our feet and do not want to give them up.  However, those trusty shoes may not offer our feet and bodies the support needed when we are walking for exercise.

Did you know that most athletic shoes will last about 350 to 500 miles?  That equates to about 3 to 6 months, depending on how often you walk in your shoes.  If you walk 30 minutes a day 3 to 4 times a week, your shoes will last approximately 6 months.  Weight can play a factor too.  If you weight more, it is likely that your shoes will wear out quicker.

There are actions you can take to make sure that you get the most out of your athletic shoes:

Only wear your walking shoes for exercise walking.  If you are constantly putting on your shoes to run errands or wearing them all day, you will wear them out faster.

Air out your shoes.  If you go to the gym regularly, you probably have a gym bag where you keep clothes, shoes and other needed items stored.  Make sure to pull out your shoes after you wear them.  By letting them dry out, or breathe, you can extend their life.

If you wash them, let them air dry.  If your shoes get dirty or muddy, you may decide that they need a wash.  If you wash them avoid the dryer because the excessive heat can break down the glue in the shoes.

Replacing the insoles. If you wear insoles in your walking shoes, those should be replaced when you replace the actual shoe.  Replacing the insole itself will not provide the same support as replacing the shoe.

Do you usually wait until your shoes look bad before replacing them?  If so, your shoes could have lost support many months before.  Look at the bottom and if the tread is worn down, it is a clue that it is time for a new pair of shoes. Another clue that your shoes may need replacing is when your feet or shins start to hurt during your walk.  The lack of support from the shoes could make the impact of the cement less bearable.

Take care of your feet and your entire body by replacing shoes when they no longer offer you support.  It can make walking or any exercise that much more enjoyable!

Reference: When to replace your walking shoes. Accessed  April 2012 on the Web at: http://walking.about.com/od/shoechoice

Source:  Nicole Peritore, Extension Physical Activity Program Coordinator, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture

Jane Proctor is Trimble County’s Cooperative Extension agent for family and consumer services.