It’s common practice to replace athletic shoes once they get a little old or worn. The thought behind this is that it’s bad to run, work out, play basketball, golf, etc. in shoes that are old. By purchasing new shoes you are safeguarding against getting hurt from wearing old shoes that have lost their support or effectiveness.
I’m wondering: is this a smart practice?
We take shoes that our feet, brain and body mechanics have gotten used to and adapted to slowly over time and then we make a huge switch by putting on new shoes that are usually stiffer, more firm, have more arch support and are a factory made model shoe. We go from custom, uniquely molded shoes and put on shoes that are completely foreign and we have no connection to.
This is a considered a good thing?
What’s more likely to hurt you: a slightly worn shoe you’ve gotten used to or a sudden change into a completely different foundation that you stand, walk, run and/or put all your bodyweight on?
I think we’ve gotten things mixed up. New shoes aren’t the answer to our existing problems and could be more likely to cause new problems than fix or avoid the old ones. Drastic changes are usually not handled well by the body and almost always end up in unintended consequences or collateral damage. I think shoes are no different. High heels… well, let’s leave that for another day.
This means if you’re having problems in your legs, knees, feet, back or anything else (particularly you runners) look at what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Don’t look to the shoes as the reason you’re in pain because I would bet it very rarely is. Look at your behavior and activity first.
When we do get new shoes we need to ease into them like everything else in life. Wear them a little at first at give the body time to adjust to a new foundation/platform. Don’t think that new shoes mean it’s ok to go for a personal long run right after you pull them out of the box. You just might be inviting a new problem in without even realizing it.
Thanks for reading, have a great day!
P.S. Shoes also don’t fix bad mechanics. Even my beloved toe shoes. 🙂