There's no clear expiry date when it comes to a pair of shoes. They'll be replaced when it becomes necessary, which of course depends on the quality (and materials) of the shoes, how often you wear them, and what you wear them for (exercise, daily wear, or occasional wear). For many people, shoes wear out evenly—with the left and right shoes fairly evenly matched with their progress of wear and tear. But perhaps your shoes wear out differently. Why does one shoe always seem to wear out long before the other?

On the Sides

Shoe wear is usually most prominent on the sides of the shoe. The leather, resin, or rubber may become scuffed (and will eventually deteriorate). Pressure on the seams can also cause the shoe to split. When this is especially noticeable on only one shoe (indicating uneven wear), the issue is unlikely to be significantly related to the shoes themselves.

Weight Distribution

While lower quality shoes may begin to deteriorate before their stronger counterparts (made with stronger materials), uneven wear can suggest that the dimensions of your foot are playing a role in the type of pressure that the shoe experiences. This abnormal weight distribution can be caused by:

  • When your foot rolls inwards (from your little toe to your big toe) while walking. This is known as an over-pronated gait.
  • When your foot rolls outwards (from your big toe to your little toe) while walking, which is called an under-pronated gait. 

Some people experience these conditions more-or-less evenly on both feet, but having only one affected foot is fairly common, and is applicable in your case—as demonstrated by the uneven wear of your shoes. 

A Considerable Annoyance

The severity of either an over-pronated or under-pronated gait can vary. It can cause foot pain (along with discomfort emanating upwards along your joints and muscles). However, even when the most obvious drawback is the uneven wear of your shoes, it's still a considerable annoyance. This annoyance is easily corrected, but you'll need to make an appointment with a podiatrist.

Shoe Inserts

Custom orthotics (shoe inserts) will correct your issue. These inserts correct the pronation of your walk, compensating for any irregularities in your gait, which equalises the pressure that your shoes experience while walking. Custom inserts are designed to correct your specific gait issues, meaning that they're far more effective than over-the-counter shoe inserts, which are generally cushioned—and while they might temporarily improve your comfort levels, they'll mostly disguise the issue, instead of correcting it.

Custom orthotics for your shoes will make your shoes more comfortable and will correct any weight imbalance to make sure they wear out evenly.

To learn more about orthotics, contact a podiatrist.