Time for New Gear! When to Replace Your Favorite Fitness Items

By Lindsey Johnson
Woman lacing up running shoes

Investing in quality fitness gear can help you reach your goals and may hold up longer over time. Protecting your investment with proper care and attention can also extend its shelf life. However, even the best made products need replacing from time to time to ensure safety and ultimate performance, so it is important to know when you replace common fitness items.

Yoga mats

Woman holding yoga mat

Yoga mats are a one-time purchase, right? Not even close! Experts recommend replacing the fitness item every six months to two years. You can protect the life of the mat by cleaning it after your practice and allowing it to fully dry before storing it. Using clean hands and feet for each session will extend the life by minimizing bacteria. If your yoga mat is peeling, you’re starting to slip or find yourself struggling with balance poses, it smells funny or your joints hurt after your practice, it’s time to buy a new one.

Running shoes

Woman putting on running shoes

Experts recommend replacing running shoes approximately every 300-500 miles, which is around six months for the average runner. Inspect shoes periodically to look for wear on the sole, where portions are worn down or the white midsole is peeking through. If you start to experience pain in the legs, hips or back during or after a run, it’s time to go shopping! The same is true if you start developing blisters or hot spots on your feet. Even without regular wear, shoes break down over time in the heat and humidity so routine inspection is important. Don’t delay in replacing worn shoes as they can cause injury if used past their prime.

Bicycle tires

Yellow and white bike

Just like our cars, our bike tires wear down after use also. For the average road-riding bicycle, this may be around 2,000 miles and even fewer for road racing or mountain biking. Look for signs of wear in the tread, where it is more worn down and smooth. Some bike tires also have a wear indicator, which is a hole in the tire that eventually flattens out with use. Inspect tires for cuts, gashes and dry rot. Frequent flat tires are another sign it’s time to get some new wheels!

Pickleball paddle

Pickleball paddle

Like other sports equipment, pickleball paddles wear out over time. For the average recreational player, expect a paddle to last approximately one to three years, based on frequency and intensity of play. Paddles start to feel differently over time as the sweet spot becomes duller. Inspect your paddle for cracks or damage. Extend the life of your paddle by refraining from paddle high fiving, throwing the paddle or storing in extreme temperatures.


Man putting on sunscreen

While not technically a fitness item, it is still important to replace and is an essential part of our outdoor fitness regime. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that all sunscreens maintain their original potency for three years from manufacture. Some sunblock includes an expiration date or a period-after-opening date, indicating how long the sunscreen will hold the same SPF after it has been opened. If you can’t remember when you bought it, check the consistency, look and smell. If it’s watery, chunky, a different color or has a different or unusual odor, it’s time to toss it and buy a new one. While it won’t hurt your skin just by using it, it won’t protect you from the sun the way you think, leaving yourself open for sunburn and sun poisoning.

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