Do you have a new pair of tennis shoes or are you planning on buying a pair but are unsure of how long they will last? Then read on to find out how long tennis shoes last and how often players should change their tennis shoes.

Tennis shoes, like many other products, have an expiration date. Knowing when your shoes need to be changed or when they are completely worn out is important.

Playing with worn-out shoes can compromise your game and movement. On hard courts especially, comfort and durability are essentials of shoes that help you to glide on the court with both ease and confidence.

Worn out shoes will leave you with an increased soreness in either your ankles, lower back, or even knees; and they could even lead to injury. Therefore, knowing when to change your tennis shoes is a key priority.

How To Tell If Your Tennis Shoes Are Worn Out?

Worn out soles are the most obvious tells of depleted shoes. When your outer sole, which is usually created from a carbon rubber, has diminished into the midsole, then it’s time to replace your shoe.

Additionally, when the midsole’s shock-absorbing ability has been reduced, or when it has been compressed too much, changing shoes should then become a priority.

Another way of checking whether your shoes are worn out is by placing them on a flat surface and seeing if they are uneven on such a surface. Completely worn out shoes will also have very obvious signs of creasing on them.

You can also tell by checking the fabric lining of your shoes. The more that a player wears out their shoe, the more they will erode this fabric lining out.

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How Long Do Tennis Shoes Last?

The above will probably leave you asking, how long will my tennis shoes take to bear similarities to those descriptions?

Answering the question of how long tennis shoes last is a tricky one simply because it depends on a wide range of factors. Typically, most shoes are designed to last between 6-12 months, and depending on your use they could even last years beyond that.

But specific factors alter the lifespan and durability of tennis shoes. Some of these factors are the ones below:

Type of Court Played On

Hard courts are the most notorious when it comes to consuming outsoles, which is why you must use shoes that can withstand the surface’s harsh demands. Playing with grass court shoes on a surface like hard courts is the equivalent of committing shoe suicide.

As our article on appropriate shoes per surface surmised, playing with the correct shoes on the appropriate surface ensures that shoes are able to last longer.

Additionally, shoe manufacturers take into account the surface to be played on when creating shoes and usually factor this into the shoe’s durability.

Type and Quality of the Shoe

Here, we aren’t referring to brands or models specifically, but what the actual shoe is made of.

These can be materials like the fabric of the shoe’s body, the mesh, and the upper; what the insole is made of, the material of the outer sole, etc. Other factors like the weight of the shoe also come into account here.

User’s Style of Play

Aggressive baseliners are more likely to wear shoes out quicker than moderate players.

Also, heavier players will wear out their shoes quicker than lighter players simply because the extra weight exerts more pressure on the shoes.

Frequency of Usage

If you use your shoes daily or for longer hours a day, they will wear out quicker when compared to someone who uses them occasionally in a week.

How Players Take Care of Them

Factors like how the shoes are stored, how they are cleaned and are dried, and their modes of cleaning also factor in here. It is important you take super care of them and one of the ways to do that is by looking to clean them as regularly as possible.

For the best cleaning products for tennis shoes, check out our article detailing that.

How Many Miles Do Tennis Shoes Last?

The average shoe can last about 350-500 miles. Though this may be a bit hard to calculate, you can measure it by the length of your playing/training sessions, or by estimating how many miles you run on average while playing on the courts.

The average midsole is known to last between 45 hours to 60 hours. Again, this is just an average estimate and could vary wildly depending on the factors mentioned above.

So say you play one hour a week, your shoes could last up to a year. If you play two hours a week, then probably around half a year until you have to replace them again.

If you want to calculate how many miles your shoes have endured, you could also count the average number of miles that you cover in an hour and multiply by the total number of hours you’ve played.

So say that you are an aggressive player who covers around five miles per hour and have used them for about 30 hours, you should then multiply five by thirty which will give you a total of 150 miles that your shoes have covered in their lifespan so far.

How To Increase The Lifespan Of Your Tennis Shoes?

All this will probably make you wonder whether you can improve the lifespan of your shoes.

There are many ways that you can do so. Such ways will help you keep your newer shoes for a longer time and help you save money in the long-term. These measures are the ones below:

  • Use them on the appropriate surface – As heavily emphasized above, keep the appropriate shoes on their intended surface.

  • Own different shoes for different surfaces if you regularly switch between surfaces – This ties in with the above-mentioned point. Additionally, if you use the formula for calculating mileage that we’ve provided above (Miles × Hours used), you can even go three years without ever having to change shoes if you regularly switch between surfaces.
  • Opt for more premium shoe options – Here, premium doesn’t necessarily relate to the shoe’s price, but rather the quality of the shoe. More premium options are usually built to last longer and will serve you better in the long run.
  • Strictly use your tennis shoes to play tennis only – Using your shoes for other activities like running or hiking will take a toll on them. This is simply because the shoes are manufactured for a sole purpose, and deviating from that purpose will harm them because they are not built to handle such tasks.
  • Use cedar wood inserts/ shoe trees – These help to absorb the excess moisture that can be found in your shoes and also reduce the amount of shoe creases. It is important to opt for wooden ones as the plastic ones rarely tend to absorb the excess moisture. The wooden options also remove bad odor and give the insides of your shoes a great smell.
  • Clean your shoes regularly – If possible, clean your shoes after each session to prevent dirt from accumulating on the shoes.
  • Maintain airflow – This is important especially for rubber-soled shoes. When shoes are placed in sealed containers for long periods, a chemical process known as hydrolysis can take place. When this occurs, certain parts of the shoes, such as the rubber soles, can easily decompose and cause damage to the shoe.
  • Ensure that you don’t leave them in extreme conditions – Conditions like extreme heat and extreme cold will cause strain on your kicks and decrease the lifespan of your shoes.
  • Avoid putting your shoes in the dryer – Tying in with the previous point, drying your shoes using natural methods is always the preferred method. After washing, pat dry with a towel and put either a newspaper or paper towel inside the shoe’s inner sole. However, if you trust that your shoes truly are heat-resistant, then you can put them in the dryer but for a very limited time. Experts suggest no more than five minutes.
  • Proper storage is important – In addition to keeping your shoes away from extreme conditions, properly storing your shoes will guarantee an increased lifespan and more usage. Protective gears like shoe carrying bags ensure that your shoes aren’t crushed by other items and help in achieving proper storage. The previously mentioned shoe trees help in proper shoe storage as well.

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Closing Thoughts On How Often Players Should Change Their Tennis Shoes

As stated in the article, knowing how often players should change their tennis shoes will differ wildly based on several variables.

Aggressive players who play regularly will find themselves changing their shoes even every three to four months, while less-aggressive players will definitely keep their shoes for longer.

If you’re an aggressive player who plays on hard courts, you can always take advantage of shoes that come with outsole guarantees.

You can see our recommendations on some of those shoes in our article highlighting the best shoes for hard court surfaces.