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Check Your Soles

Old running shoes

Author: Mike Lackman, RD, Health Coach

Thinking of starting a walking or running program and planning on wearing your old trusty gym shoes you have had for 10 years? You might want to reconsider.  Wearing old, worn out shoes while working out can lead to ankle, shin, and knee injuries.

After about 350 to 500 miles of running or three to six months of use athletic shoes lose their cushioning. Even if your shoes appear to be in good shape they may not be providing the support you need. Flip them over and look at the soles.  If you notice uneven wear or that the traction is worn flat it is likely time for a new pair.

It’s best to purchase your shoes from a store with a good reputation and knowledgeable staff, like Step One in Jackson or Playmakers in East Lansing. The sales staff should be able to help you pick the best shoe for your foot type by looking at the wear on your old shoes and by watching you walk. 

Some things to keep in mind when trying on shoes:

  • Get fitted for your shoes at the end of the day—it is common for our feet to increase up to a half size by the end of the day.
  • You should leave some space (width of your index finger) between your longest toe and the end of your shoe.
  • There should be no slipping at your heel but you should have enough room to wiggle your toes.
  • Roll your ankle while trying on shoes—there should be no rubbing or pinching anywhere on your foot.
  • Be sure to wear the same kind of socks you plan to work out in.
  • You get what you pay for but a high price doesn’t always mean you will be getting the right fit or the best shoe for your fit.

One of the nice things about starting a walking or running program is that, other than shoes, you do not need any special equipment and you can do it anywhere.  Starting your workout can be as easy as lacing up, and walking out the front door.

How do you decide it's time for a new pair of athletic shoes? Login to leave a comment and join the discussion!