When You Should Throw Out Your Sneakers

Sneakers are a footwear necessity for those who work out, enjoy comfort, or love sporting an athleisure vibe. However, if you end up wearing the same pair of sneakers all the time, you'll need to recognize the signs and learn how to know when you should throw out your sneakers.

These days, a pair of sneakers can cost you a pretty penny. Depending on the brand or designer, the price of sneakers can range dramatically. Folks who are sneaker aficionados may end up spending a huge chunk of their disposable income on these type of training shoes, because sneaker companies and high end designers alike usually follow fast fashion rules. Having said that, there is a market for vintage sneakers and fans of this footwear will be more interested in the retro vibe of old school sneakers, rather than the contemporary designs released in more recent years.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter whether you spent $10 or $100 on a pair of sneakers if you love them. However, when your favorite footwear comes to a point when they've seen better days, you might find yourself hanging on to a pair of old sneaks much longer than you really should.

So I spoke with Dr. Janet Prystowsky, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Livad Skincare, in order to know when you should throw out your sneakers.

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"If your shoes constantly smell," says Dr. Prystowsky in an email to Bustle, "it’s probably because there is a bacteria or fungus growing inside of them. In which case, you’re going to want to kill that bacteria or fungus before you wear your shoes again."

"You don’t want the infection to transfer to your feet, because then it could infect your skin and spread to your other shoes," she explains.

To avoid the nightmarish situation of inadvertently spreading an infection from shoe to shoe, Dr. Prystowsky has some solutions. "Try freezing your sneakers overnight, running them through the washer/dryer, or buy a UV shoe sanitizer. If your sneakers still smell, it’s time to throw them out," she advises.

"Keep in mind," Dr. Prystowsky warns, "if you have a foot odor problem, the bacteria or fungus has probably infected your feet."

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If you find yourself in a stinky sneaker situation, Dr. Prystowsky says, "Try washing them thoroughly for a few days. If the odor persists, then contact your dermatologist. There are over the counter medications for fungal infections. You’ll need to see your dermatologist if the fungus is in your toenails or if you have a bacterial infection. Prescription medication may be necessary."

Dr. Prystowsky has one very important piece of advice to bear in mind, that could save your new soles, along with (potentially) a ton of money. "Make sure to treat your foot infection before buying a pair of sneakers that you care about. You may want to purchase a cheap pair that is bacteria and fungus free until your infection is gone."

If your sneakers smell relentlessly, try Dr. Prystowsky's tips on how to freshen them up. But, if these fail and your sneakers still whiff, it's probably time to chuck them.

Before you purchase a new pair, get your feet checked out to ensure you don't have a foot ailment. Because nobody wants to buy an awesome pair of sneakers, only to have to bin them shortly after because of a fungal infection!

Images: Brooke Cagle (1), Jakob Owens (1), Kristian Olsen (1)/Unsplash