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How to Know When to Replace Sneakers to Ease Back Pain

I’ll be honest, I’ve been guilty of dragging my feet when it comes time to replace my favorite pairs of sneakers… And then somehow still feeling baffled when I end up with back pain after walking around in them.

It might seem like common sense that poor footwear choices can lead to aches and pains throughout our bodies, but we often let ourselves forget that when it comes to a comfy pair of sneakers. According to the Spine Institute of America, it’s something we should all be better about. “Without proper support, you might adjust your gait or posture and set your spine out of alignment to compensate for the lack of support in your shoes,” the organization explains. “You also need shoes that absorb impact as your foot hits the ground so that other parts of your body do not have to bear the force of the impact.”

Jacqueline Sutera, a podiatrist with Vionic Shoes, echoes that sentiment while speaking with us about replacing our sneakers in a healthier and more timely manner. “The general rule of thumb is to replace your sneakers every eight to 10 months,” she says. “But you may need to do it sooner if you are particularly hard on your shoes and workout more often than most.”

Dr. Sutera recommends a simple “table Test” to check the status of your footwear: “Take your shoes and put them on a tabletop and examine the soles at eye level. Are they even? Are they worn? Then flip them upside down and examine the tread. Is it smooth? Does it have holes?”

Holes are a pretty obvious indicator that our shoes are past their prime, but the smooth tread, which offers less support, is probably something we ignore more often. If your shoes show any of these signs of wear and tear, Sutera says it’s time to replace them (or re-sole them if that’s an option).

She also shared an apt comparison: “Old shoes may feel good because they are broken in and comfortable, just like junk food may taste good, but it is not good for you!”

Click here to take a look at some of our favorite sneakers and running shoes you can snag to protect your feet, back, and the rest of your body from aches and pains!

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