When to Get Rid of Old Shoes

Do you have an old pair of shoes that you just can’t seem to throw out? “Just one more season,” or “I can glue it back together!” are some common excuses that we use to keep our beloved shoes just a little bit longer.

However, there are increased risks to foot and ankle issues if you keep hanging on to those old “kicks.” It’s not just about outer appearance, which you can maintain well. After prolonged use, the supports and shock absorption properties of the shoes can diminish. Since the shoe wears out where it carries more of the load, you’ll find those parts to be more worn down. Overusing old shoes can lead to shin splints, heel pain, knee pain, back or hip pain, and even stress fractures. Additionally, when the shoes no longer provide the right support, it can also lead to imbalance and make us more prone to twisting our ankles.

Check the following parts of the shoes to see if it’s time to get new shoes:

Midsole: Test this by putting one hand in your shoe and the other flat on the bottom of the shoe. Press the hands toward each other – there should be some cushion that remains when you press into the sole of the shoe, especially in athletic shoes. If not, that’s an indication that your midsole is worn out. You may also see deep wrinkles in the cushion.

Another test you can do is to try to twist the midsole. If you are able to, that may be an indication that the midsole is no longer supportive enough.

Arch: You should not be able to fold the shoe in half as this means that the arch is worn down and no longer stable.

Heels (on boots or dress shoes): Check to see if the back edge of the heel is worn to the point that there is a sharp angle. This will also inform you if you tend to under- or over-pronate your feet. Replace the heels or throw away the shoes.

Sandal/Flip-flop Straps: Review the strap components of your sandals or flip-flops. If they are stretched or broken, it’s time to replace or re-buy. Also check to see if parts of the shoes have worn down. People tend to drag flip-flops which wears down tread and also may lead to a sharp angle of wearing. Worn down tread can lead to slipping or twisted ankles.

Tread (if applicable): Check the tread of your shoes. If they are very worn down, you will be more prone to slips, especially in wet areas. It will also show you that you have walked or run many miles and you may want to get new shoes.

If you have concerns about your shoes or finding the right support for your shoes, feel free to contact our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Carl Ingrassia of Fords Food and Ankle Care in Fords, NJ. He will work with you to give you comprehensive care to cover your podiatric needs.