Athletic shoes such as gym shoes are very sturdy; they wear out with repetitive load. Running shoes wear out after 300-500 miles of running and gym shoes have similar capacity. While there is no absolute timeline, but in general a gym shoe can last up to five to six months.
The sole of gym shoes is made of rubber and tends to be the part that wears out the fastest. Workout means heavy sweat. Sweaty foot traps moisture, erodes the rubber and cause microbial growth. The midsole is made from foam material and wears out due to repetitive load.
Each part of a gym shoe can wear out due to different reasons. It’s difficult to say how long gym shoes last as it depends on many things. However, knowing why they wear out and knowing the signs can help you decide how often you should change them.
Signs that your shoes can’t last any longer
A worn out gym shoe is not desirable at all but what if you can foretell the expiry date? There are tell-tale signs which may indicate how long do gym shoes last. Let’s look into what these signs are!
- Do the twist
A great way to check if your shoe will last the week is by doing this Twist Test. If you take the gym shoes and twist the shape, it should still feel firm, meaning it will hold its shape. A shoe about hit the grave won’t spring back as it no longer has the support. Result? It will twist until it looks like fusilli pasta.
Just kidding! The bottom line is that they wouldn’t hold the shape and remain the twisted mess. This test applies for any sportswear, be that a gym shoe or typical running shoe.
- Broken Heels
The most obvious sign that you need a new pair is a broken heel. Heel is one of the most important part of the shoe. It protects your feet from high impacts with the air cushioning. In fact, most of the air cushioning is actually at the heel area. Usually heel is broken at one side of the shoe, causing it to be lopsided.
- Increasing Foot Pain
If you feel that your feet are starting to hurt more after using the gym shoe, get rid of the pair. Listen to the feet, literally. Try to check the joints if they are too stiff or not. Most likely it’s because of the shoes wearing out. A worn out gym shoe will start to lose the cushioning and the insoles will also start to deplete by time.
- Lose Support
To understand how long gym shoes do last you need to check the support of the shoe. The midsole is supposed to give your feet some support from the impacts. If the foam starts to wear out and lose the ability to bounce back to the same position, it means the support of the shoe has is gone and you need a replacement.
- Plantar fasciitis after workouts
Using old gym shoes can cause plantar fasciitis. The main symptom of this problem is the severe pain in heels and arch. You’d be mostly likely unable to stand much longer due to the stabbing pain. As old shoes start to wear out at the heels and insoles, you might end up with plantar fasciitis.
- Worn out Soles
The soles of the shoes will become ineffective. This part of the shoe gives the feet a base and maintains traction. Insoles wearing out means the shoe have aged well and needs to be dumped.
- 500-mile rule
The lifespan of a gym wear can be found from this simple rule. Apparently a typical sports shoe is manufactured to last 300 to 500 miles. We know it’s difficult to say for gym shoes as we may not use it for running or other physical activity. However, you could compare it with a running shoe or how a running shoe looks like after hitting the 500 miles’ mark and relate it to your gym shoe.
How to prolong the lifetime of your gym shoes?
- Rotating Shoes
If you have multiple pairs of gym shoes, wear them in rotation. Wearing the same shoe every day will cause it to break easily. Also, the sweat from the shoe can cause bacteria to form. So, it’s a good idea to wear them alternately.
- Keep Shoes Clean
This one goes without saying. Keeping the shoes cleaned regularly will prolong the life of your favorite workout sneakers. Make sure to use a soft brush to clean the upper. Sometimes small pebbles or sand accumulate inside the shoes.
These can wear out the insoles through attrition. So, it’s a good idea to shake off this particulate dirt. Once in a month, try to clean the shoes with diluted detergent water, but use a wet rug instead of washing machine.
- Never Use Dryers
Using dryers can ruin your shoes in just a couple of days. The temperature inside the dryer is too high, which makes the glue and other adhesive materials to wear out fast. It’s always a good idea to air dry the shoes, letting it dry naturally will preserve its condition.
- Spray Disinfectant
If you work out a lot, you would likely end up with athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot is basically a fungal infection and it happens due to the sweat within tight-fitted gym shoes. You might want to throw the shoe away or just spray some disinfectant to kills the fungal growing inside. Experts recommend to use mild disinfectant, such as Lysol diluted in water, to spray and kill the microbes polluting the shoes.
- Don’t Stack Them
Stacking up shoes one top of another can break them faster. Upper of athletic shoes can be very pliable and stacking them under a heavier shoe can wear them down.
The lifetime of a gym shoe varies depending on the use and the quality. We listed some tell-tale signs from which can help you figure out how long do gym shoes last and if you need a new pair. Be on the look out and take good care of them. Remember, good shoes take you good places!