That favorite pair of broken-in running or walking shoes may actually be broken down. A mere 300–500 hours of running, walking, dancing, tennis or basketball can wear down the midsole of a shoe, says the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine (AAPSM). That means you’re no longer getting the shock absorption or foot control you should have, and injuries can occur, such as ankle sprains or strains. The AAPSM recommends replacing shoes after a year.
It’s best to purchase shoes at a store with experienced shoe fitters, called pedorthists, who can take into account any foot issues you may have. They may perform a gait assessment, to see if you pronate, roll in when you walk and run, or supinate, roll outward.
If you’re a runner, buy a shoe that’s half a size larger to allow for your foot to flex and your toes to move. Try shoes on while wearing your typical sock and any orthotics or shoe inserts. If possible, test drive the new shoes outside, where you can walk or run around the block.