Work shoes that don’t live up to their expectations anymore pose a real risk to your health. They need to be more than comfortable — a decent pair of shoes protects you against a variety of hazards at the workplace. Steel toes can save your feet from falling objects, while rubber lugs give you the much-needed stability and slip resistance. So how often should you replace work shoes to stay safe and keep such protections to a maximum?
Find out all you need to know about telltale signs of wear and tear and how to prolong the life of your work shoes. However, sooner or later every pair of safety shoes needs replacement.
So, How Often Should You Replace Work Shoes?
High-quality, sturdy work shoes can last for prolonged periods of time, usually no less than 12 months. Some of the most outstanding work shoes can last up to 36 months. While you might be tempted to push your pair of shoes to the upper bound of 36 months, it’s usually a better idea to replace them much sooner for your own safety.
Unlike workout shoes or your everyday walking shoes, work shoes are not meant to be worn past their prime.
There are many variables you have to take into account when determining how often should you replace work shoes. It depends on how roughly you treat them, the kind of workplace you wear them to, and the material they’re made of. Different brands of work shoes also have a role to play in the overarching quality of your footwear.
Price is also a somewhat reliable predictor of quality. Cheap shoes tend to last far shorter, so you might have to replace them every 6 months or less depending on how rough your work is.
How Many Miles Should Work Shoes Last?
The mileage of work shoes or a pair of boots ranges from 300 to 500 miles under normal conditions. That means wearing them for approximately 6 months and treating them with care and the attention they deserve.
When you abuse the work shoes by kicking or pulling them off without untying the laces, or otherwise mistreating them, you’re likely gonna get less mileage out of them.
Should You Replace Work Shoes with Cheap Shoes?
No, cheap work shoes are not only going to last shorter but provide less protection as well. You won’t get nearly as much stability and safety as you would if you invested in high-quality workplace shoes.
Don’t forget that good footwear isn’t just about keeping you safe at the workplace. The long-term effects of cheap shoes include major back problems. That’s an issue that will haunt you for the rest of your life and costs more to fix (if it’s fixable at all) than a decent pair of work shoes.
Cheap Shoes Are a Bad Investment
Should you replace work shoes with cheap shoes to save money? Let’s assume for a moment that cheap shoes provide the same quality as a regular pair (they don’t). You might think that buying three pairs of shoes a year is cheaper than a single high-quality pair with a decent price tag. It is not.
You’ll go through cheap shoes faster than you think, and the price of all those pairs combined will amount to far more money than you would have spent on good work shoes. Getting cheap pairs of boots or shoes is always a poor investment and will cost you more in the long run.
How Do You Know When You Need New Shoes?
Excessive wear is an obvious sign that you’re in dire need of shoe replacement. But what are some of the other conditions that signal your work shoes aren’t what they used to be?
Outward Signs Your Shoes Need Replacing
Signs of wear and tear are usually the first things people notice. While they aren’t worrisome at first, they serve as a reminder that work shoes need frequent replacements and that you’ll have to take more care of them if you want them to last longer.
Once the wear and tear get excessive, it’s time to replace the shoes or take them to the cobbler. Even if you get them fixed or reinforced, however, that’s only a temporary solution.
Foot pain is also indicative of shoes that aren’t fitting anymore, and there’s nothing worse than sore feet during a long day at work. Getting new insoles can mitigate some of the pain and discomfort, but that’s only one potential cause of your problems.
Poorly ventilated and tight-fitting shoes can lead to the accumulation of fungi, a condition known as athlete’s foot. Then there are blisters, corns, bunions, and calluses, all stemming from shoes that are too small or otherwise uncomfortable. A new pair of work shoes solves all of your problems.
Leaky Seams Inside the Shoe
If the cold water is constantly finding ways into your work shoes, you have leaky seems that need patching up. You can sew the shoe up, but it’s only a short-term solution. Since you’re wearing work shoes, it’s safe to assume you do a lot of hard work. Any new stitches you make probably won’t last for long.
Wet feet can lead to problems with your health and cause you to miss out on work. It’s also quite an annoying feeling that no one really cares for. If you’ve ever had to spend a single day in shoes that are leaking, you know what we’re talking about.
Increase in Slips and Falls
If you’ve noticed you’ve been recently slipping and falling more than usual, it probably means the lugs on your shoes have worn out. That can be extremely dangerous depending on your place of work, and you can’t have that happening. It’s time to get a new pair of work shoes.
Also, constantly slipping and falling makes you the laughing stock of your coworkers. Don’t let that happen.
Can You Extend the Life of Your Work Shoes?
Should you replace work shoes that have been worn out and no longer guarantee your safety? Certainly, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take good care of them and try to extend their lives as much as you can.
Keep Your Footwear Clean
If your shoes are constantly exposed to dirt or chemicals, make sure to clean them regularly. Brush them off at the end of each day and use some warm water and a cloth to make sure they’re clean.
Replace Worn Insoles
Replacing worn insoles can extend the life of your work shoes. It’s one of the first parts of a pair of boots or shoes to deteriorate, so you need to maintain it constantly. Worn insoles don’t protect your feet that well, and your performance will suffer as a result.
Treat them Regularly
Waterproof or water-resistant work shoes help keep your feet dry, comfortable, and blister-free. However, you need to keep applying the waterproof treatment after each cleaning if you want your shoes to retain their water resistance.
Leather work shoes require that you use conditioner once a month.
Avoid Unnecessary Damage
Work shoes already bear the brunt of all your work activities and are already strained enough as it is. Don’t overdo it by kicking materials (or worse yet, gear) around. Make sure to untie them carefully every time instead of ripping them off your feet.
Treat your work shoes with respect and you’ll get much better mileage out of them. It’s a simple fact.
Know When It’s Time for a Replacement
How often should you replace work shoes depends on a variety of factors, so use your good sense to determine if the time for a change has come. While it’s possible to extend the life of a good pair of shoes, sooner or later you have to replace them.
Decent high-quality footwear is quite literally the foundation of a safe work environment. By getting a reliable pair of work shoes, you invest in the health and safety of both you and your coworkers.