The 6 truths about your sneakers.







Of all places for me to commit the cardinal sin of running, why did I have to do it in the virtual church of runners?

I was inside a sneaker store when it happened. I’d arrived 15 minutes late for my pre-booked shoe fitting with Jack, store manager at The Athlete’s Foot, and when he asked me to remove my shoes so I could whiz through the Fitzi, I kicked my runners off without even thinking…

By forcing my feet out of their tight sneaker sanctuary, without undoing the laces first.

Jack glanced at my sad, discarded pile of shoes and socks and asked very politely, “Do you normally take your shoes off like that?”

Oh the shame.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by The Athlete’s Foot. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words. 

It turns out that my elegant method of shoe removal is actually doing my sneakers some harm. Funny that. After witnessing my disrespect, Jack went on to share a few more home truths about sneaker survival, and signs they are due to be decommissioned.

  1. They’re getting wrinkles.

Just as our own crows feet and frown lines tell a story or two about our past, our sneakers’ wrinkles offer some insights into how hard (and how fast) we’ve been pounding the pavement. Wrinkling in the sole and side of your shoe indicates pressure and wear and when your sneakers begin to resemble your grandma’s sweet face, it’s time for an upgrade.


Might be time to throw out my sneakers.

  1. They harden up.

When the sole of your shoe starts hardening it means they’re not offering enough support, which can lead to all kinds of running discomfort: think shin splints, sore toes and arch pain. Hint: if you shoes don’t feel comfortable and cushiony when you slip them on, they have likely outlived their usefulness.

  1. They’re your star performer.

Do you wear the same pair of sneakers during every run and every workout? If so, you may be quite literally working your shoes into the ground. Jack recommends you have at least two pairs of runners in rotation, to give the foam in your shoes plenty of time to decompress and return to its original state.

Jack recommends you have two pairs of runners in rotation. Maybe not at the same time.

  1. The sole begins to wear out.

As the sole of your runners starts showing some wear and tear, it’s a clear sign that on the inside, your shoes’ shock absorption and cushioning properties are deteriorating. Each foot strike is estimated to place pressure of 1.5 to three times your body weight on the shoe, so if you continue running on degraded shoes – imagine your shoe’s cushioning was a piece of fluffy white bread that has been squished flat – you risk injuries to your ankles, knees and shins.

  1. They’re old.

If they’ve been sitting in the cupboard (used or unused) any longer than two years, they’re ready for the sneaker cemetery.

  1. They start to whiff.

Here’s the deal: a stinky sneaker in itself isn’t a sign that your shoe has passed its use-by date. “Your feet sweat; that’s normal,” Jack says. “You can help reduce the odour with Fresh Fogger or sneaker balls.” However, if your shoes are exhibiting some of the traits from above and they don’t smell too fresh, it’s probably time for a change. Same goes if you pop them through the washing machine and they still smell afterward.


Another indication that your runners need refreshing? They’ve simply run (pardon the pun) their course.

My new Asics.

“It’s really about kilometres more than the length of time you’ve owned them, so if you run 10-15km per week, you should be looking to replace them at around the six-to-eight month mark,” Jack says.

Perhaps this is why Ryan Hall, one of the world’s best distance runners, goes through two pairs of Asics every single month. He burns through more sneakers in a year than I’ve owned my whole life!

As a casual runner who considers two runs in one week a serious win against the calamity of my overscheduled life, I’m not quite at Ryan’s level. But I may have settled on a new pair from Asics’ latest range of sneakers so I can stay true to point number three. Better to be safe than sorry, right?

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The Athlete’s Foot is Australia’s largest retailer of Athletic  footwear.  Visit one of our 138 locally owned stores – meet our team that value fitness and a healthy lifestyle just as much as you do.  Try FITZI, our exclusive fitting technology that uses over 4,000 pressure sensors to assess the perfect shoes for you feet.