Life is filled with dilemmas. It can either be as effective as two career options and something a minute as shoes. Besides choosing between a variety of footwear options, we also have to deal with discarding them.
Have you ever found yourself surrounded with questions like, “should I just toss them out, or should I just invest in repairing them?” If yes, you are in for a treat with the following article. Buckle up as by the end of it; you will have a clear-cut idea about what you should if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.
- 1 How to Determine if Shoes Need to be Replaced
- 2 Insert vs. Insole vs. Orthotics
- 3 Guide to Purchasing New Shoes
- 4 What to Look for in Insole
- 5 How to Decide?
How to Determine if Shoes Need to be Replaced
As a thumb rule, shoes last up to 1.5-2 years. Post that, you might have to change them altogether. However, a little repair work can do the trick and enhance the shoes’ longevity. But how would you know if your shoes need a mere replacement and not a new pair of shoes entirely? There are a few determinants that can help you clear the air, like the following:
The first thing on your checklist should be the overall appearance. If you see a faded color, holes on the upper, or wear and tear, it is time to get it replaced.
The bottom of the shoe or the outsoles are in constant contact with the ground. So, they are bound to get worn out. You can try it out by rocking the shoe. If it tips over, it needs an urgent replacement.
The midsole helps in resisting external shocks. If you start seeing wrinkles around it, it is time to get a replacement.
The edges of the forefoot are more prone to getting worn out over time. If they start showing those similar signs, you will have to get it replaced.
Besides the physical elements, you can also determine the need for a replacement by considering the time. As you cannot expect your shoes to last forever, they will need a replacement after six months or one year, depending upon their usage.
Purpose of Insoles
Insoles also referred to as footbeds, are responsible for maintaining the body’s alignment. As our feet have to endure the entire body weight while walking or running, they need the right amount of functioning.
Insoles act as a layer of comfort and support between your feet and shoes. The entire purpose of insoles is to provide a shield of protection to the feet. In most modern types of shoes, the insole is made to be removable if the wearer wants to replace it.
The intention behind the inculcation of insoles can either be short-term or long-term. The following are some of their benefits:
Insoles enhance the natural cushioning of the shoe that targets the most sensitive areas of your feet. Furthermore, this permits you to wear your boots for a more extended period.
Proper arch support is provided through the insoles that alleviate muscle and joint pains.
Not only do they align the body movements, but they also stabilize the feet. They place a limit on the lengthening of the feet while controlling the fatigue.
Note: Replacing the insoles will not rejuvenate your shoes entirely. Although, they will help in enhancing the functioning.
Insert vs. Insole vs. Orthotics
People related to the shoe or footwear industry are well-aware of the technical terminologies. However, as a layman, we use words like inserts, insoles, and orthotics interchangeably. Specific differences between them help in their better understanding.
Before we get started, it must be noted that inserts and insoles are the same.
→Inserts or Insoles
Insoles have a cushioned fabric construction with a gel that acts as a comfort layer and supports the feet. They brace the foot, ankle, and heel areas that further heal any joint or muscle pains.
You need not get a prescription from a doctor or chiropodist to get insoles or inserts for your shoes.
It has a soft texture, thin and flexible construction that allows you to undertake complete foot movements without pain. However, as it has a delicate structure, you might have to change or replace it every three-six months.
Coming to the price, they aren’t an expensive investment. All in all, they work fine to treat infrequent foot and muscle pain. On the other hand, if you have a severe medical condition, it is best to opt for orthotics.
If you are dealing with chronic or severe foot pain, you must get orthotics for your shoes. They are thicker than insoles or inserts. They have a plastic or fiberglass construction that increases their durability.
You can find them in specialty stores or pharmacies. They are used to treat severe foot and joint pains. As they are made explicitly by a chiropodist, your feet get all the necessary support, cushioning, and comfort.
Due to their thick construction, they have more durability than insoles or inserts. Moreover, they also proceed higher.
Custom orthotics are also available that can target any specific area of your foot according to individual issues.
Guide to Purchasing New Shoes
Purchasing a new pair of shoes can be exciting, only if you know what you are looking for. You do not want to be stuck with a pair that has little to no functionality, do you? Therefore, you must consider the following factors while buying new boots to make the correct decision:
Get your Shoes Measured Appropriately
To get the right kind of shoes, you need accurate sizing measurements. If you are going for a brand that you have worn before, you can select the same size shoes.
However, if you are buying an entirely different brand, you must check the sizes before buying as other companies have varying size charts. Get your shoe size measured by professionals. You can quickly get it done at the footwear store.
Walk Around in your Shoes
Always try your shoes out before buying! Wear it and walk around for a few minutes. This will give you an idea about the overall fit and comfort.
If you are buying shoes online, you must try them as soon as you get the delivery. If they feel uncomfortable, exchange or return them immediately.
Check the Space Between the Toe and End of the Shoe
Wear your shoes and standstill. There must be at least ½” inch of distance between the end of the shoe and your toe. This prevents the possibility of toe pain and blisters.
Ensure that the shoes support your arch and heel. The insoles should be cushioned and flexible to manage your feet’ movements. Moreover, ensure that the boots provide shock-absorption to prevent any sudden external jolts.
Check the Inside of the Shoes
While trying on the shoes, do check the inside of the shoes. The material should fit well according to your feet’ contours. Moreover, the fabric should not irritate the skin.
What to Look for in Insole
Just like shoes, buying insoles is not an easy task. Several factors have to be taken into consideration before making a purchase. If you have no prior experience with buying insoles, the following guide will help you through it:
Insoles are mainly made up of cork, leather, gel, or foam. Foam works well for providing utmost cushioning and pain relief, while gel helps with shock absorption. Leather gives it a good texture, and cork offers support. Therefore, all the materials have their own set of advantages. You can choose as per your needs and preferences.
Just like shoes, the insoles have a size chart. They are denoted by inches. Most of the time, insoles are meant to be trimmed for the ideal fit.
For an easy calculation, look out for the insole size that is for your shoe size. Mostly, it will be a few centimetres lengthier. But you can easily trim it off.
Note: ¾ length insoles cannot be trimmed in any way, So keep this in mind while purchasing inserts or insoles.
There are three types of foot arches: High, medium, and low. The selection of your insoles is dependent on them.
You have a high arch if you see a little part of your footprint. You are most likely to have a medium arch if the middle part of the turn is half-filled. Lastly, you have a low arch if your entire foot’s structure is evident in the footprint.
If you are replacing your insoles in your old pair of shoes, you will have to remove the existing insoles and place the new ones. However, you can also set it over and above your insoles.
A full-length and thin insole can be placed over the old insole. Even the ¾-length insoles are meant to be worn on top of the old insoles.
You must adhere to the instructions provided while placing the insoles. You can either place it above or below the inserts.
The footbed has four types of arch support: Rigid, Semi-rigid, Cushioned, and Flat.
You can choose any as per your intended purposes and foot problems (if any).
How to Decide?
Coming to our final question, “how should you decide whether to replace your shoes or just the insole?” Well, the answer is simple and entirely dependent on individualistic expectations.
If you have been extensively using your shoes daily and visible wear and tear on the outsoles, it is time to replace those shoes and get a brand new pair.
On the other hand, if the shoes are relatively new and causing you discomfort around the arches and heel, you need to buy a new pair. You can simply replace the insoles and get the comfort that you desire!
Brandon R. Katz is a registered professional nurse who has been instrumental in providing us with an informed opinion on the medical aspects of footwear. He graduated from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and currently provides his services at a non-federal long-term care hospital in Brooklyn, NY.
Brandon proves to be the champion in the group of expert writers with his in-depth knowledge in foot health, how to take care of it adequately, and what shoes, socks, or insoles will be supreme for you. He has previously worked with hospitals where he has foreseen both inpatient and outpatient departments and has been a practicing nurse since 2009.
Brandon hails from Jersey City, NY, and has a loving family of four with a small popper called Rozo. His decision to become a nurse arises from the desire to be in the position of helping and rehabilitating people.