Right Time to Replace

Right Time to Replace

Photo by Claire Fletcher
Photo by Claire Fletcher

A mere month after beginning her 2014 track season, junior Greer Christie felt a sharp pain shooting up her shins every time she took a step: shin splints. Christie admittedly attributed her injury to not only a vitamin D deficiency but also a failure to replace her worn-out shoes, which she knew she should have done. “I thought that they were really cute, therefore I opted not to [replace them] even though they were damaging my legs,” she said. “I knew the risks of injury that could occur if I didn’t replace my worn-out shoes, but I chose to ignore those facts.” After suffering from shin splints for about four months, the problem worsened into a full-blown stress fracture.

Mileage wears down any shoe, no matter how great or expensive it is. Equipment becomes less effective, and even dangerous, if not replaced at the proper time. Social Media Director Sydney Yonack conducted an investigation on when it’s time to replace your sports equipment:


According to Greatist, a website that promotes healthy lifestyles, shoes should be replaced after 300 to 500 miles. For those who do not keep track of their total mileage, there is a different way to tell that your shoes need the boot:

  • Place one hand inside your shoe and the other palm-up on the sole of the shoe.
  • Press the fingers of the bottom hand into the sole.
  • If you can feel your fingers pushing through, the shoes need replacing.

But what exactly is the risk of not replacing your shoes so often? After all, running shoes are not cheap, but there could be consequences associated with not getting new shoes as often as you should. Greatist said that once the shoes have been worn enough, the cushion wears down. The cushion in the insoles of your running shoes acts a as shock absorber, taking pressure off your joints and bones. Failure to replace shoes in a timely manner could result in overuse injuries such as shin splints, which are minor, or more long-term injuries like tendonitis.

MapMyFitness, a free fitness-tracking app, has partnered with Zappos, a website widely known for its shoes, to help track shoe mileage. Just input what sort of shoes you have, log your mileage, and the app will tell you when it’s time to replace your worn out sneakers.


Despite huge advances in fiber technology, chlorine will eventually deteriorate a swimsuit. NorCal Swim Shop advises that a swimsuit be replaced whenever it begins to feel loose or baggy. If you are looking for a more durable swimwear, NorCal recommends polyester suits, as they tend to have a higher resistance to chlorine.


According to TotalBeauty, it is very common to overlook cleaning your sweatbands, hats and headbands. But collection of sweat overtime can cause bacteria to grow and breakouts to occur on your forehead or along your hairline. To avoid this from happening, wash sweatbands and hats after each use (if you actually sweat in them), and wipe down helmets after a hard bike ride.


A yoga mat must be replaced, just like any other piece of gym equipment. According to TotalBeauty.com, your mat can no longer provide the necessary stability and cushion when you notice any of the following:

  • Mat does not maintain a uniform thickness from top to bottom
  • Little pieces peel or flake off
  • Unpleasant smell
  • Mat slides/ does not maintain traction
  • Joint soreness – A quality mat should be able to protect your ankles, wrists and other joints.

It is recommended that a yoga mat be replaced every six to 12 months if used often.


John Paul Ouvrier of Fitness4Charity recommends replacing exercise balls and bands after two years of use, or when you start to notice the plastic losing its color and becoming brittle. Failure to timely replace these could become dangerous: balls break and bands snap.


Michael Aish, co-owner of the Boulder Running Company Denver Tech Center, told Fitbie that once the elastic in your exercise socks is so worn down that the sock bunches, it is important to find a new pair of socks. Failing to replace baggy socks could result in blisters. Also, if fabric is thinned on key areas of the foot (i.e. ball, heel) you are missing out on the important cushioning that socks offer.


There are many signs that could indicate when it is time to replace the tires on your road bike. Livestrong provides signs that signify that tires are in need of replacement:

  • Several flat tires within a short period of time—it is likely that there is small hole (or multiple small holes) in the tire.
  • Hard or cracked tires—if you have not used your road bike in some time, it is important to check the tires before using. Tires can crack or become hard as a result of changes in temperature or humidity.
  • Dark spots or exposed string—these demonstrate weaknesses in the tire.
  • Worn down traction—if the ridges in the tire are not deep (compared to newer tires), it is important to replace the tires. Loss of traction can result in loss of control and possibly injury.

– Sydney Yonack