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Cycling shoes used strictly for road racing, would probably stay with you for 15 years, or more! Unlike running shoes, football shoes, or climbing shoes, cycling shoes don’t carry much weight. And if they’re used solely for racing, they rarely come across any wear and tear.
Mountain biking, on the other hand, often requires a mix of riding and walking. This kind of usage naturally shaves off a few years from the longevity of the shoes.
The question of “when should I replace my cycling shoes?” is thus a legit question. Do you need to wait 15 years to get a new pair? Does the mileage you make with these shoes matter? And are there tell-tale signs that you need to buy new cycling shoes?
You’ll find the answers to these questions, and more, in the next sections.
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5 Sure Signs That You Should Replace Your Cycling Shoes
No one needs to be in a situation where a shoe flies off while cycling! Despite the inconvenience, this could also potentially be dangerous.
To avoid that nasty surprise, here are 5 sure signs that it’s time to start shopping for a brand-new pair of cycling shoes.
1. The Seems Are Falling Apart
This is the biggest loudest reddest alert! The seams are the reason why the uppers stay connected to the soles. That’s to say, why the shoe remains in one piece.
In general, cuts, tears, cracks, and any similar signs of strain in the shoe materials should be taken seriously.
2. The Sole is Worn Out and Uneven
The uppers might look perfect, but the soles could be the parts taking a consistent beating. This happens more often with MTB cyclists. The rough trails are often harsh on the shoe soles. And eventually, the soles could exhibit some irregularities.
While this isn’t a shoe-falling-apart situation, this unevenness could compromise the performance of the shoe. Most importantly, it wouldn’t provide the required support. That could negatively affect the foot, leg, knee, and hip.
3. The Shoe Stopped Being Snug and Comfortable
Cycling shoes should be snug and even a little tight. They need to remain attached to the foot and transmit the full power of propulsion to the pedals.
Cycling shoes aren’t known to break in too much over time, and they normally retain their tight fit for years. However, as the shoe materials start aging, they expand and the seams open up a bit. This is a good time to look for a replacement.
4. The Closure System Can No Longer Be Fixed
Fixing these systems can be DIYed or a cobbler’s services can be solicited. That’s all good up to a point. When the closure system has been fixed several times already, then it would be wise to retire that pair and get a brand one.
5. The Cleats Have Been Changed Too Many Times
Generally, the cleats require changing more often than the shoes themselves. On average, cyclists change their cleats 10 times before they feel the need to get new shoes.
Frequent changes of the cleats usually point to heavy usage. And that’s a sure sign that it’s time to shop for new cycling shoes.
How to Extend the Longevity of Your Cycling Shoes?
Cycling shoes often stay intact for over a decade. And that’s a wonderful thing, as many athletes invest in high-end shoes, then enjoy the wonderful performance they provide for years.
In addition to the slow natural wear and tear of cycling shoes, you can extend their lifespan even more. Here’s how.
- Road cycling shoes aren’t made for walking, so it’s best to minimize that activity while wearing cleated shoes.
- Regular cleaning and routine maintenance are the best ways to keep your cycling shoes in mint condition. Both in the short and the long run.
- Use simple methods to clean your shoe. The best approach is dusting it off, then using a damp/wet cloth to wash away any dirt.
- Don’t drop your precious cycling shoes off in the washing machine, unless the manufacturer recommends that.
- When you do use a machine wash, select a low temperature, light spin, and no drying cycle. Also, you can put in a few towels to protect the shoe from getting scratched.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals or premixed liquid detergents on your shoe. Natural leather, synthetic leather, canvas, and nylon, wouldn’t be too fond of this treatment.
- Dust and dirt spoil the adhesive power of velcro. As for wetness and mud, these pretty much destroy these straps. It’s best to avoid cycling out in the rain, but if that’s unavoidable, then you should dry your shoes as soon as you get back.
How Many Miles Are Road Cycling Shoes Good For?
Road cycling and spinning don’t take a toll on a shoe quite as much as MTB cycling does. It’s customary for a quality pair of cycling shoes to last for years on end.
Some people don’t use their shoes regularly, so, another indicator in terms of mileage would be more informative.
So, exactly how many miles are road cycling shoes good for?
While there’s no exact figure for that, as there are many factors that affect the shoes’ longevity, we can still work with a reasonable average. Cycling shoes are known to go for approximately 50,000 miles without showing signs of deterioration.
The cleats would need to change several times throughout that period, but the other structures of the shoe often remain intact.
Everything has an expiry date. It’s not an exact science though, but more of an educated guess. Cycling shoes, on average, last for 10+ years, with a mileage of around 50,000 miles.
Time, usage, and accumulating dirt, are the main reasons why cycling shoes become worn out. At some point, you’d need to replace your old pair with new shiny shoes.
In addition to the above reasons, you can still replace your old pair of cycling shoes just to get better ones. Participating in an important race, having to commute with a bike, or going on rough rides are all good reasons to upgrade to a better model.