Are old shoes affecting our wellbeing?

How often should we replace our old shoes? I have asked around various shoe shops on high streets of London and shop assistants have told me that in order to answer that, they first need to determine their clients’ shoe-changing habits, as this greatly impacts their recommendations for future shoe purchases. They’ve noticed two main types of customers when it comes to buying new shoes: the “shoppers” and the “buyers/investors.” Let’s find out which category we belong to and whether our old shoes might be causing health issues.

old shoes collage

Here are  some types identified by Christophe Champs, an expert in Biomechanics and the founder of PODO Clinic and Workshop – Christophe works with clients to help correct postural and biomechanical issues that are causing pain or putting a client at risk of injury. By testing both the moving gait and the still posture Christophe can correct misalignment and asymmetry through creating custom-made orthotics to suit the exact needs of each individual client.

Type 1: The SHOPPERS – Embracing Fashion and Fast Fashion

Shoppers are the ones who love changing their footwear frequently, often prioritising style over support. They tend to opt for cheaper shoes, which can be beneficial if they are committed to regular shoe changes. The fast fashion concept can work well here, ensuring your shoes are regularly replaced. However, the downside is that cheaper footwear often compromise on quality, which can lead to reduced support for your feet, potentially causing damage to your body.

If you fall into this category, consider adopting the habit of alternating your shoes, especially if you run or walk regularly. Just like a runner should avoid running on consecutive days with the same pair, giving your shoes a rest can help them regain their shape and provide adequate support. By taking care of your shoes and avoiding worn-out pairs, you can protect your body from potential harm caused by misaligned posture and gait.

Type 2: The BUYERS and the INVESTORS – Quality Over Quantity

On the other hand, buyers and investors prefer to invest in fewer, high-quality pairs of shoes. Rather than chasing the latest fashion trends, they seek reputable brands and top-notch craftsmanship. While this approach has its benefits, it’s crucial to remain mindful of your shoes’ condition and not hold on to them for too long.

Even if your favorite shoes seem to be in good shape, appearances can be deceiving. Over time, the cushioning and support within the shoes may degrade, leading to potential harm to your body. Make sure to regularly inspect your footwear for signs of wear and tear, and don’t hesitate to replace them if necessary. Remember, the quality of your shoes directly impacts your body’s well-being, so it’s essential to keep them in good shape.

Having considered all this. advice from shoe experts, I don’t think I belong to any of these categories. I have both invested in expensive comfortable shoes, but I also like buying cheap ones to keep up with the trends. On top of that, I am a footwear hoarder as I struggle to get rid of my old heels if  they are not visibly broken yet.

What kind of shoe shopper are you? Let me know in the comments. 

Signs of Worn-Out Shoes

Here are some tips to help you identify bad manufacturing and dangerous wear and tear on your footwear. By following this checklist, you can avoid unnecessary pain and injuries:

  1. Look out for shoe defects such as asymmetry around the heel counter, sharp spurs, or excess glue, as these can negatively affect your alignment, balance, and posture.
  2. Pay attention to natural signs of wear and tear, such as shoes or heel counters losing shape, a sloping edge on the outside of the heel, holes in the mesh, missing parts, or a smooth tread on the sole.
  3. While some wear is acceptable, certain signs like beveling on the shoe’s sole or extensive dirt and soaking wetness should prompt you to take action.

Protecting Your Body’s Health

Wearing worn-out shoes can lead to issues with your foot, ankle, knee, hip, back, and neck health. During the recent lockdowns, many people realised the importance of wearing supportive shoes. Stepping barefoot on hard floors indoors can place significant stress on your feet, much more than when walking outdoors with proper footwear.

While being barefoot occasionally can be beneficial for your muscles, wearing shoes with adequate padding and support is essential for protecting your body when walking on hard surfaces. Regularly inspect your shoes, both at the time of purchase and during use, to ensure they are in good shape. If you experience any form of body pain associated with your footwear, consider seeking advice from a biomechanics professional.

The state of your shoes plays a crucial role in your overall well-being. Whether you’re a fashion-forward shopper or an informed buyer, taking care of your footwear and replacing worn-out pairs is essential for maintaining a healthy body and living life pain and injury-free.

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