We’ve all been there — you know, wearing a comfortable pair of seriously old shoes for as long as possible until they literally start falling apart at the seams. Obviously, when your trusty kicks start breaking down and your toes are sticking out the ends, it’s time to buy new shoes.
You’ve been the same size for like, ever.
Hardly anybody wears the same size of shoes in adulthood that they wore in high school and college. The reason: The arches of your feet fall over time, causing your feet to spread and widen. Most podiatrists estimate that your feet can increase by an entire size or more between your teens and 30s or 40s. So do yourself and your feet a favor by getting properly sized by a knowledgeable shoe salesperson to make sure you’re wearing the right size of shoes.
You have obvious signs of foot stress like blisters, corns, calluses or irritated toenails.
A lot of people assume that they must “break in” shoes by surviving weeks of rubbing that leads to blisters, calluses and/or ingrown toenails that pop up due to shoe pressure. But as we’ve stated numerous times before, you should never have to “break in” a pair of shoes. If they’re not comfortable from the start, they likely never will be. And if you’re experiencing calluses, blisters and other signs of irritation, that’s a huge, blinking billboard telling you to either stretch your shoes or get new shoes, STAT.
You feel pain in your arches.
Unsupportive shoes like flip flops and sandals cause the muscles and tendons on the bottom of your foot to flex and tighten in order to keep the shoe on and to keep the arches of your feet up. This repetitive tightening causes stress on the plantar fascia (the large tendon that runs along the bottom of your foot) that can lead to plantar fasciitis or other painful overuse injuries.
Your shoes are worn out OR you own athletic shoes.
Obviously, you need new shoes if your current footwear is falling apart, developing tears or holes, have worn treads, or if they’re losing their structure. But many people don’t realize that shoes can be worn out LONG before wear and tear signs appear.
One sign your shoes are worn out is if they lean to one side when you put them on a flat surface. Another is if you’ve had them too long. Even if they look like they’re in great shape, shoes begin to break down and lose their supportive structure over time, especially athletic shoes.
The general rule of thumb with trainers is if you log 40 miles per month in your gym shoes either walking or running, then you need a new pair each year. If you log a little less, you can stretch it to up to two years. If you log a little more, then you’re safer swapping out your athletic shoes every six months or so.
Your toes touch the front of your shoes.
Many people think a shoe fits just right if their toes gently graze the front of closed toe shoes. However, experts agree there should actually be about a half an inch between your toes and the end of the shoe. The reason: Your feet naturally swell toward the end of the day, and that bit of wiggle room is needed for maximum shoe comfort. In fact, the generally accepted “best time of day” to buy shoes is in the late afternoon and early evening, when your feet are at their biggest.
If NEW shoes cause you pain or discomfort you didn’t feel before.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve walked a mile or 100 miles in your shoes: If they cause any sort of pain or discomfort you’ve never felt before, you need to ditch them and try another pair. As we mentioned earlier, if new shoes don’t feel great right out of the box, they’ll unlikely to get any better.
If OLD shoes cause you pain or discomfort you didn’t feel before.
Shoes get worn out and lose their supportive structure over time, so if your favorite pair of kicks starts causing any pain or discomfort, it’s time to move on and get a new pair. Worn out shoes can cause all kinds of foot and leg issues like shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and joint pain.