When should I replace my Athletic shoes?

When Should I Replace My Athletic Shoes?

Are you wondering when your athletic shoes should be replaced?  It all depends on the amount of usage, signs of wear and the age of the shoe. You need to take a look at the four main components that can break down or wear out:

outer sole


heel counter

shank or cut out area of the shoe.

The outer sole material is made of a carbon rubber, which is meant to be very abrasion resistant. Some athletic shoes will have a harder and more resilient rubber at the heel of the shoe since this is where most of the wear will occur. Once the outersole has worn through to midsole or there is more than 4mm difference from the other side of the heel the shoe should be replaced. See image A.

The mid-sole is normally composed of a foam material and is intended to be shock absorbing. In some shoes it controls excessive foot motion.  After certain amount of repetitive load is placed on the midsole it will compress not rebound and absorb shock or control the foot as well as it did when it was new.   In some cases, the midsole can deform and compress unevenly which can create an alignment change of the foot. This can lead to over-use type injuries.

Over-Use Injuries

Over-use injuries should be seen by a doctor sooner rather than later.  The longer you wait to see a doctor the longer it is likely going to take to heal.  Dr. Haynes treats all kinds of athletes and has lots of experience with treating over-use injuries conservatively so you don’t have to spend time away from your sport. His #1 goal is to get you back on the field, track, studio, court, or gym pain free. If you think you have an over-use injury and need to be seen, click here to request an appointment.

Midsoles should be considered worn out:

  1. After 300-500 miles of running or walking, 45-60 hours of basketball, aerobic dance or tennis.
  2. Shows signs of unevenness when placed on flat surface.
  3. Display noticeable creasing.

See image B and C below.


The heel counter of the shoe helps hold the heel on top of the midsole and prevents excessive heel motion. The heel counter should be considered broken down when it feels flexible when compressed side to side, or appears deviate to one side when viewing from the rear of the shoe. See image D and E below.


The shank or mid cut area of the shoe can fatigue with use. You should watch this periodically.

Depending upon the environment the shoes are kept in; the outsole, midsole and some of the upper materials can dry out and not function optimally.  So it is really best to replace athletic shoes that are over a year old whether they are worn out or not.

Replacing athletic shoes when necessary maybe costly in the short term, but will help you prevent injuries and keep you active in the long run.


Book Appointment


Elite Foot & Ankle- Portland

10373 NE Hancock St. Suite #118

Portland, OR 97220



Elite Foot & Ankle- Sandy

39400 Pioneer Blvd. Suite #4

Sandy, OR 97055


Dr. Haynes offers sports med, wound care, urgent trauma, & surgery of all foot & ankle problems to the Portland and surrounding areas.  Contact us today for an immediate appointment.

Karie Haynes Office Manager

You Might Also Enjoy...

Tailor's Bunion

What is a Tailor's bunion? What are the causes, symptoms, and treatments?

Radial Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy

We now offer radial extracorporeal shockwave therapy (RSWT) for pain associated with Achilles tendontitis, plantar fasciitis, any type of tendon or soft tissue injury and it has even been shown to promote wound healing.