Skip to main content

When to Replace Shoes: The 3 Warning Signs of a Dying Sole

By October 19, 2022Sneaker Tutorial

When to Replace Shoes - Sneaker Guide - AIO BotWhen you find that one pair of kicks that just hits differently, it’s hard to go for any other sneaker! Yeah, you know exactly which pair… And so, you find yourself reaching for the same exact pair every single day! However, you do get to a point where you can’t get more out of the poor kicks. No matter how much you push it. So, this is a guide on when to replace shoes and sneaker shelf life!

No matter how much you’ve perfected the art of sneaker care and repair, sometimes your kicks flatline. And, there’s not enough sneaker first aid in the world to bring it back to life. This is when you reach the end of a sneaker’s life expectancy or shelf life. And, it’s time you replace them. However, you do NOT wanna reach that burnout moment where you lose a sole or rip right through the uppers. Yeah… that happens! So, we wanna give you the 3 warning signs your beaters might be giving out soon. 

Now, this especially applies to the topic of when to replace running shoes the most. Since they are the kicks that get the most action in life. However, this is 100% applicable to any of your favorite shoes. So, keep reading to learn more, and check out our sneaker care guides below!

Sneaker Care Guides:


So, before we get into the warning signs of when to replace shoes, there’s a general rule of thumb. However, this does mostly apply to replacing running shoes since it’s easier to track. But, you can get a rough estimate of how long your sneakers will last from the following points:

  • The 500-Mile Rule: active footwear generally lasts 500 miles whether they’re running or every day sneakers.
  • The 3 to 4: if you generally walk an average of three to four hours a WEEK, this means roughly 30 minutes a DAY. You’ll have to replace your shoes every six months.
  • The Minimalist: for shoes with less junk in their trunk – aka cushioning technology – they last around 300 miles. These shoes look pretty aesthetically pleasing, but they won’t help your arches!


#1 Heel Breakdown & Sole Compression

So, the first thing you should consider in the matter of when to replace shoes is Heel Breakdown & Sole Compression. This is the first sign that you should look out for. And, it is also a definite dealbreaker when it comes to tossing out an old beater. Therefore, take a look at the bottom of your shoe!

If the heel on your sneakers is breaking down, worn out, or developed a weird pattern – it’s time to change! Also, figuring out when to replace shoes does not depend on the condition of BOTH kicks. If one heel looks worse than the other, you still have to replace it. 

Also, another warning sign you should look out for is midsole compression or loss of support. Most running shoes or lifestyle shoes come with some kind of cushioning technology. Nike, Adidas, New Balance, and more brands all have their own innovative sneaker technology. And so, midsole compression is when the cushioning is weight down – look for visible creasing and wrinkling of the midsole. Click on the button below for a little lesson in sneaker anatomy!

#2 Pain & Loss of Comfort

Next, is a no-brainer type of warning sign of when to replace shoes and that is Pain & Loss of Comfort. However, pinpointing pain that comes from your sneakers might not be the easiest to detect. And, that’s because we often don’t notice the gradual increase in pain and relate it to the decrease in comfort. Not until it’s too late and we think we’ve got other medical issues. Especially if the shoe doesn’t LOOK different.

So, try noticing, are you experiencing arch or heel pain after your walks/workouts – a pain you didn’t have before? This is probably due to a loss of comfort and our previously discussed midsole compression.

When you notice that your shoe cushioning just doesn’t feel as supportive as it did before, you gotta replace them. The lack of comfort will eventually cause aches and pains in your feet all the way to your back. Therefore, in consideration of when to replace shoes, keep your arch and heel in mind. Comfortable sneakers are as crucial as your workout routine itself! If your kicks are no longer providing comfort and support, it might all be counterproductive!

#3 Upper & Interior Wear

Finally, the last warning sign of an impending shoe change is Upper & Interior Wear. At this point, you would think like, DUH! But, the wearing of your uppers doesn’t always mean it’s time for you to replace your shoes. Sometimes upper wear could mean you’ve got poor shoe care skills, especially for leather or suede kicks.

However, if you do happen to have legit HOLES in your sneaker’s upper – especially around the toes… then don’t even ask when to replace shoes. Look around your big piggy, your pinky toe, and around your Achilles heel. Basically, all the areas that get the most amount of rubbing. AROUND YOUR FEET. Don’t get any weird ideas, fam…

But, interior wears are a whole other story. When the inner lining material starts to wear, it will most definitely cause unwanted friction. Friction burns are not fun, trust us on this. So, make sure you make a quick round of inspection of the material on your shoe! If you’re looking for a running shoe specifically, always go for kicks with breathable, flexible material.

How to Make Your Shoes Last FOREVER

So, if we wanna avoid the whole – when to replace shoes – thing, let’s talk about making shoes last longer! Of course, there’s the usual sneaker care regime that you have to follow. But, there are also other things that you could do to make your sneaker shelf life longer.

  • Air Them Out: allow your kicks to air out properly before each use. Do not leave them in your gym bag or put them back in their box instantly
  • Categorize: use your athletic shoes for working out, and your casuals for everyday use
  • Do NOT Machine Dry!
  • Replace Your Insoles: every once in a while, you should consider changing out your insoles! This will extend your sneaker’s shelf life. But, this does not mean you won’t have to worry about when to replace shoes!
  • Laces: Finally, to preserve the integrity of your kicks, untie your shoelaces every time you take them off! It makes ALL the difference!