Some sports, like football and hockey, require players to wear specialized equipment. Others, such as long distance running, require very little equipment to participate. But with few exceptions, sports will require some type of footwear.

First things first. Do you need new shoes? There is an easy way to see if your shoes need to be replaced.

Once you have bought a pair of athletic shoes, how long should it be before you replace them? Many people wait until the soles of the shoes wear out before buying a new pair, but that is not a good idea. Very often, the shock absorption of running shoes or the lateral stability of cross-training and sport-specific shoes will wear out long before the soles do.

In general, you should replace athletic shoes every 350-550 miles. You also need to consider other factors, like your activity, body weight, and the type of surface you exercise on. Keep in mind that it is better to use mileage as a guide regardless of the condition of the tread. A good way to estimate how much mileage should be put on your shoes is to take 75,000 and divide it by your current weight.

Outside of mileage, are you still unsure if your shoes need to be replaced? There is an easy, visual check that you can do. Place the shoe on a flat surface, if you notice any unevenness, that is a good indication that it is time to replace the shoe. Also, look for other signs of wear, like creasing.

If you are ready for a new pair, take a moment to think about how you use your shoes, and what you want to get out of them.