One of the most important considerations when choosing a shoe is longevity. We all want our shoes to last as long as possible so a shoe that deteriorates within a few uses isn’t going to be particularly appealing to most people.
This is especially true of Weightlifting Shoes. For most of us, a Weightlifting Shoe is quite an expensive investment, so we want to know we’re getting our money’s worth with a shoe that will stand the test of time.
So, just how long do Weightlifting Shoes last?
On average, most Weightlifting Shoes will last anywhere between 5-10 years and can last even longer, provided they are well looked after and only used when lifting.
What Does the Evidence Say?
It goes without saying that the more you wear a shoe, the quicker it will break down. This is especially true if you wear a shoe outside of its intended use.
Unfortunately, data is pretty sparing for Weightlifting Shoes specifically, however, Christine Luff at verywellfit.com suggests that running shoes should be replaced every 300-400 miles or roughly every 480-650 kilometers.
Of course, distance isn’t really an applicable measurement in our scenario, but to give you an idea of how this might translate for a Weightlifting Shoe, we can consider time worn, rather than distance worn as our metric.
The average person walks at 3-4 miles per hour. If we’re being conservative, then that’s 300 miles at 4 miles per hour, which would take 75 hours of use before their shoes needed replacing. Now on the optimistic side, someone walking at 3 miles per hour for 400 miles would take 133 hours to wear down their shoes.
So there’s our working range 75-133 hours of use. Now consider how long you might spend wearing your Weightlifting Shoes, hopefully, you only wear them when you lift and only for the lifts that require it.
I would expect a well looked after pair of Weightlifting Shoes to last much, much longer than this, however.
I typically only wear my Weightlifting Shoes when I Squat and Bench Press. Including warm-up sets, I probably take anywhere between 10-15 minutes to get through each lift and only do them once per week, so on average, I am probably wearing my Weightlifting Shoes for half an hour per week.
So let’s take 133 hours as our guide. That’s 133 hours at 30 minutes a week, which gives me just over 5 years of use before my shoes would need replacing, in theory.
Of course, it needs to be remembered that those 133 hours are based on continuous walking. In my 30 minutes of use each week, large portions of that time are spent resting between sets, with my shoes doing very little and under next to no stress at all. If we only consider the time I am actually lifting, this would probably be closer to 10 minutes per week, which translates into 15 years of use.
It’s quite a wide range in truth, but the numbers do seem to fit based on anecdotal evidence too.
I myself have owned a pair of Weightlifting Shoes for just about a year now and they’re just as good as the day I bought them. I have also spoken with more seasoned lifters in my gym, most were still wearing the same pair they bought over 3-5 years ago, one, in particular, had been using the same pair for 9 years! And of the ones who had replaced their Weightlifting Shoes, they said that it wasn’t anything to do with the shoe deteriorating, they just wanted a change. It’s a small data set, but it seems to correlate with the evidence we have.
Although there isn’t a lot of data out there, we’ve done some basic analysis on other athletic shoes to gain an understanding of what to expect. Combining this with real-life examples we end up with what is, in my opinion, a pretty conservative estimation of expected life between 5-10 years. In truth, I would expect a well looked after pair of Weightlifting Shoes to last much, much longer than this, however.
But is there anything we can do to increase the longevity of our Weightlifting Shoes?
The first and most obvious step we can take to keep our Weightlifting Shoes at their best for longer is to only wear them when we need to.
I wouldn’t go as far as taking them off between every set (the fastening and unfastening will likely wear them out even quicker than if we were to just keep them on) but I would limit walking around in them as much as possible.
When you’re done, take off your Weightlifting Shoes and change into something else. This includes moving onto other exercises, not just being done at the gym overall. You don’t need your Weightlifting Shoes for curls or machine work, so don’t wear them!
If you’re serious about making your Weightlifting Shoe last, or you sweat a lot through your feet or live in a humid climate, a Shoe Tree could be a good investment.
When not wearing your Weightlifting Shoes, be sure to store them in a dry environment where they can air out. Like most shoes, moisture is not your friend.
If you really want to go a step further, you could consider a Shoe Tree to help keep them at their best. If you’ve never heard of a Shoe Tree before, its basically an insert that sits inside your shoe when you’re not wearing it. Shoe Trees are particularly useful at firstly, drawing away moisture from the shoe and secondly, maintaining its shape.
Admittedly, this may be going to the extreme for most people, but if you’re serious about making your Weightlifting Shoe last, or you sweat a lot through your feet or live in a humid climate, a Shoe Tree could be a good investment.
By taking the above steps, you should be able to keep your Weightlifting Shoes performing at their best for many, many years.
So if you’re considering buying a pair of Weightlifting Shoes and have been interested in how long they last, hopefully, this article has provided you with the answer.
Most Weightlifting Shoes should last well over 5 years without too much thought, but if you take the few extra steps that we outlined above, you can easily expect your shoes to last at least a decade, maybe even more!