Do Shoes Go Bad Over Time? (Do They Break Down If Not Worn?)

Shoes do not go bad, but they can lose their structural integrity. This can happen over time due to the natural breakdown of materials used in the manufacturing process. Shoes are designed to be worn and walking puts a lot of stress on them.

"As an Associate of Amazon I earn from qualifying purchases made from links in this post."

No matter what type of shoe you own, it will degrade over time due to normal wear and tear. This is especially true for athletic sneakers which are specifically designed for high performance and comfort at the expense of durability.

Sneakers, in particular, tend to be made with lightweight materials which allow for greater mobility while running or playing sports. They can also be made with breathable fabrics that wick moisture away from the foot which is essential for active people who tend to sweat more than casual walkers.

However, there is a good chance that your shoes will live a long life if you take care of them properly.

Do Shoes Go Bad Over Time?

The simple answer is yes, your shoes will go bad over time. While a better word might be deteriorating, the fact is, your shoes, won’t last forever.

Of course, their life span will widely depend on how often you wear them, their brand, make, and model, and of course the terrain on which you are walking.

However, as a general rule of thumb, your shoes should pretty much feel good as new for at least the first six months, and they will most likely begin to go bad after six months and certainly by twelve months.

Do Shoes Break Down If Not Worn?

Depending on the shoe, even shoes that have never been worn will begin to break down, especially shoes made from materials like leather or suede that require regular maintenance.

Storing shoes in a cool, dark place can extend their lifespan quite a bit when not being worn, but even rubber will eventually deteriorate.

Unworn shoes will deteriorate slower than those worn every day, but variables like excess moisture in the storage area or being stored on the floor can cause them to break down quicker than expected. Check on your stored shoes regularly to prevent breakdown.

Why Do Shoes Expire?

Shoes usually expire because of normal wear and tear. In some cases, manufacturing defects or poor quality can cause shoes to expire sooner than expected.

You can help extend the life of your shoes by keeping them clean, avoiding rips and tears, performing repairs. However, eventually, you will need replacements.

Expiration Times

The length of time a pair of shoes lasts depends on how you use them. Your running shoes will wear out faster if you use them nearly every day. But if you only wear your dress shoes a couple of times a year, they could last for decades.

How Long Do Unused Sneakers Last?

Your unused sneakers will not last forever. If stored correctly, you can expect them to last 2-3 years without too many problems. In saying this, there could be some slight deterioration in the shoe’s materials in as little as 6-12 months.

This means that you will probably get less mileage from your old unused sneakers than a new pair. The rubber and foam materials that form the sole of the shoes start breaking down, which also increases your risk of injury.

If you want your unused sneakers to last longer make sure they are not kept outside in the elements. Also, make sure they are not stored in hot conditions.

Do Nike Shoes Expire?

All shoes expire eventually, even Nike ones. But how fast they expire depends on many factors. The more you wear your shoes and the more you put them through, the faster they will expire. This is also the case if you store them in a poor environment, such as one where they will get wet or unreasonably hot.

Extending Your Shoe Life

Try not to put your shoes through the wringer if you can help it. Wear appropriate shoes for appropriate environments and store your Nike shoes where they won’t be damaged by the conditions around them. This will help your Nike shoes last longer.

Do Tennis Shoes Expire?

The rubber in the soles will deteriorate but not expire. How long you can expect your tennis shoes to last will depend on how much you wear them and how well you store them if you aren’t using them. Expect your shoes to last between six and twelve months if you are using them regularly or several years if they are in storage.

How Long do Unused Tennis Shoes Last?

If you have your tennis shoes in storage, you can expect them to last between two to three years without any issues. However, you will need to keep them in a clean, protected, and cool place, or they could get damaged.

Do Safety Shoes Expire?

Nothing Lasts Forever

Nothing in life lasts forever, though there are some shoes that can withstand it all. Safety shoes are one of them, durable and tough, protecting the feet from dropped items, excess water, and more. Though there is no true expiration date, safety shoes will need to be replaced at some point in time.

In most cases, safety shoes need to be replaced between six months and twelve months depending on the type of work they are used for. More use means a faster replacement, using them to help keep your feet safe and keeping them in tip-top shape.

Do Leather Shoes Expire?

Leather shoes will expire. However, much will depend on the quality of the leather and how frequently the shoes are worn. A good quality leather shoe, that is being worn occasionally, may last for 1-5 years.

If the shoes are never worn and stored under correct conditions, they may even be suitable for wearing in 20 years’ time.

When worn regularly, various parts of the shoe will probably wear down quite quickly. For example, the midsole will wear down due to compression. This means your shoes start becoming less comfortable and you may notice your feet becoming more tired at the end of the day.


In summary, The lifespan of a shoe depends on many things such as where, when, and how you wear it. It is also dependent on the quality of the shoe, the type of materials it is made from, and the care given to it.

Do Shoes Go Bad Over Time?

The short answer is yes. Just like any other item that is exposed to the elements and not used, shoes break down over time. When you wear a pair of shoes often, they will last longer than the ones that are not used much. Shoes such as running sneakers or tennis shoes can be worn frequently without damage because they are specifically designed for frequent use.

Sneakers made for walking may be used less often but still, need to be maintained so that they don’t lose their ability to support your feet properly. If a pair of sneakers is rarely worn or neglected, it may start to break down from exposure to air and moisture which causes the materials inside to deteriorate faster resulting in a looser fit and loss of cushioning.

You may also be interested in… Why Does the Inside of Your Shoes Turn Black?