How Long Does a Shoe Last?

Research says that strangers judge us based on our shoes 90 percent of the time. Shoes reflect a person’s choice, personality, and fashion sense. One may not wear an expensive designer pair, but it is important to wear a clean, tidy one.

And if you are a sports person then you need a supportive pair too. We have tried to break down the durability of different types of shoes and we will guide you through frequently asked queries regarding how long shoes last. Shoes do not come with an expiry date. That doesn’t mean you can wear a shoe for a lifetime. Check out to know how long should shoe last.

The lifespan of different types of shoes

How long a shoe lasts depends on a lot of factors. And those factors are also different for different types of shoes. Let’s figure out the average lifespan of all types of shoes we own.  

Most of us start our day with a pair of running shoes and it is the most important pair of all time. Whether it’s a work-from-home day or a normal day you’ll need this pair if you are a runner. Like a tire, the running shoe will wear out but it’ll mostly depend on the surface you are running.

If you are running on a treadmill then you’ll get more wear out of a running shoe. The industry standard of the durability of a good pair of running shoes is 300 to 500 miles or 6 months for an average runner.  

  • Sports shoe

Every sports shoe is designed keeping in mind the form of sports. For example, a badminton or tennis shoe is made of a non-marking rubber sole which is supposed to have more traction in comparison to the running shoe.

The kind of foam or mesh material used in a sports shoe is also a determining factor. Shoes made of TPU foam will last longer than EVA. It is a thumb rule of sports shoe that it will at best give support for 6 months. It is wiser to keep several pairs of sports shoes and use them in rotation. This helps to increase the longevity of each pair. 

  • Dress shoes

We wear dress shoes casually or for completing our formal attire. Dress shoes are usually made of leather and leather shoes can last for a long time. If your shoe price range is between 0$-99$, then it will mostly last for 6 months to 1 year.

Because the material used in these shoes is barely leather and the construction of the shoe is not good enough to go beyond this time limit. But if you are using a branded shoe which costs between 100$-200$, it can last for 10-12 years given that you are taking care of the shoe. With a proper shoe tree, good leather conditioner, a leather shoe can last for a longer time. 

Minimalist Footwear

Minimalist footwear is the most trending concept in the world of shoes and the barefoot running movement gained a lot of momentum. There are different views for and against minimalist footwear.

People who want to fix their flat arch are great fans of minimalist shoes. A minimalist shoe helps the feet to function inside the shoe as a barefoot would do. There are two styles of variation for it and they are barefoot shoes and minimalist shoes.

How long do barefoot shoes last?

The barefoot shoes are mostly used for running. These shoes come with zero heels, thin soles, a wide toe box, and no ankle support. They are very lightweight and surprisingly enough they last longer than normal running shoes.

A regular runner gets about 1700 miles out of their barefoot shoes. If one uses this pair for casual walking, then they can last up to three years. 

Minimalist dress shoes

Minimalist dress shoes reflect a great fashion sense and personality. Nowadays high-end brands are trying to create shoes keeping the minimalist factor in mind. The designs are timeless and they last for a long time. Some minimalist shoes come with an exchangeable sole. So one can replace the worn-out sole and extend the longevity of the pair. However, a minimalist dress shoe can give about 5000miles of wear out of it on average 

When to replace your shoes?  

Shoe engineering is a dynamically changing process. So, if you are judging a shoe’s longevity based on knowledge of five years ago, then it’s time you took a hint of the latest information. For dress shoes, it is quite visible when the leather crinkles or the color fades out.

But in the case of running shoes, you may not see any changes yet the shoe may be worn out. The figures like 300-500 miles other standards vary person to person. Because the weight, running styles, the surface you run on, and the type of run, etc. factors are variant.  

Let’s dig into areas to check before throwing out your pair in the bin:  

  • The upper part

It is usually made of a mesh layer, the laces, the eyelets, and the heel counter. When it comes to mesh, a small hole on it doesn’t make much difference in the performance of the shoe.

So it’s good to go unless the holes aren’t areas joining the upper with the midsole. If the laces do not give you a good fit then it’s time to change the shoe. Another sign is the visibility of plastic material in the heel counter area.  

  • Midsole

The midsole acts as a shock absorbent and made of EVA usually. The midsole gives all the cushioning while running. Therefore, it’s essential to look closely for signs of fine horizontal lines and discoloration in the midsole.

EVA’s are white, other than dirt if the color starts getting yellow or brownish then the midsole will not give the required support anymore. 

  • Outsole

If the pattern on the black rubber starts looking plain, take it as a sign of worn-out shoes because it won’t be able to give you the desired grip. 

Your shoe may seem all scraped up but before letting it go you can run some experiments.

  • The midsole is an impactful area and you can check it by squeezing the midsole and the heel. If you feel a slight amount of resistance then the shoe can go for more time. And if it falls flat with no push back then time to get a new pair. 
  • You can try to push the toe towards the heel if it bends easily then the shoe is broken. Lightweight shoes are designed to be flexible so it is worn out only if it can be folded into half.  
  • A twist test can also help you out. A running shoe is not supposed to twist because it helps the feet to stay in place. Try twisting your shoes and if it twists easily then give this pair a break.

Effects of continuing worn-out shoes

No matter how favorite a pair of shoe might be, do not continue to wear it when its starts showing the signs of worn out. Running shoes are not cheap but you might end up spraining your ankles or might have lifelong complications after getting injured from a worn-out shoe. Either way, you will be spending money on physiotherapy or replacing the shoes. The choice is yours.

Recycle the old shoes:

Repairing your shoes by giving new laces, fresh soles or a quick stitch can help you for a few more wear till you buy a new one. But you can always resell, donate, recycle or upcycle your old pair apart from leaving them in the environment.

Pamper your shoes to increase longevity:

Usually, we invest a good amount of money in a good pair of shoes but do not properly take care of it. A pair of shoe can last a long time if they are maintained.

  • Before storing the shoes, clean them properly. A dirty pair will look more tired than it is.  
  • For leather, pair use a wooden shoe tree to keep the surface free of creases.  
  • While you can’t wash leather pairs directly in water, you can spray a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol.  
  • In the case of a running pair do not dry them in sun. Stuff paper inside the shoe to soak the water out of a wet shoe.  
  • Using footwear deodorizer or aero spray can keep your sports shoe fresh.  
  • For runners and athletics wearing the same shoes consecutively can damage the pair earlier than time. Rotate your shoes and try to give each pair 48 hours of break in between.


We have tried to give you an idea about the lifespan of all types of shoes you may have in the rack. In running shoes that have the parts glued together can deteriorate even if they are left unused in the rack. Running shoes are neither designed nor made for lasting longer. So, in comparison to other shoes you own, you’ll have to change your running pair quite often. 

You can also read: Hacks to Get Creases Out of Leather Shoes

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