If you’re like most people, you prefer to slide your foot into a nice, clean pair of tennis shoes versus a soiled, dingy pair. Some people do a great job at keeping their running shoes clean and presentable, however over time that can potentially lead to foot pain patterns and even stress fractures. You may be wondering why clean shoes can cause such problems…
There are in fact a couple reasons why too clean of shoes may cause increased stress to the feet. Athletic shoes are crafted from a combination of various materials including, polyurethane, EVA, rubber, leather, vinyl and foam. The outsole and midsole are the major components most responsible for shock attenuation. Walking and running shoes have a limited lifespan. Like most things that sustain prolonged
use, a shoe’s materials will eventually begin to wear out with use over time. It takes approximately 350-500 miles of walking for a shoe to begin losing its shock absorbing qualities. If you walk 30 minutes each day, you’ll reach that mileage in about 6 months, and only 3 months if you walk a daily average of one-hour. If you go for a walk or run several times per week, and if you don’t routinely clean your shoes, it won’t take too long before your shoes begin to look soiled and exhausted. This can be a good thing in that you’ll be more likely to retire your walking shoes and buy a new pair.
On the other hand, if you regularly
wash or wipe down your shoes, you
may find yourself keeping and using
them well beyond their expected
lifespan for adequate shock absorbing effect.
Your shoes may be completely worn out, but
if you’ve kept them clean throughout their
lifetime, you’ll likely believe that they are still useful for athletic activities. This is completely
false.When a pair of athletic shoes exceed the 350 mile marker, it’s likely that you will begin
observing tiny wear markings in the outsole, especially around the periphery of the heel.
The midsole isn’t visible as it’s an enclosed layer for shock absorption.
Once wear marks, such as wrinkles or tiny cracks become visible on your shoes, you should
replace them immediately.
If you choose to keep your shoes looking fresh and clean similar to when they were brand
new, be certain to replace them at an appropriate time instead of continuing to wear them
after the midsole and outsole have lost the integrity of its shock absorbing effect.
One technique you can use to help you determine when a pair of shoes is ready for retirement is to rotate in a brand new pair of tennis shoes after about 3 months of use. As the original pair of shoes reaches the end of its healthy lifespan, you’ll begin to notice when the new pair has a perceivably better shock absorbing quality.