Every once in a while I come across a really cool gadget that seems so obviously useful, I wonder why it took so long for someone to invent it. The Shoe Odometer is that kind of gadget.

I do a lot of fitness walking and Nordic walking—and I do it all in a single pair of shoes. I know I’m supposed to replace my kicks every 500 miles or so, so that I’m not pounding the pavement without proper support and cushioning (an excellent recipe for injury).

But the thing is, I don’t walk a constant number of miles per week, so unless I write down my mileage after every workout (which is just not going to happen), I never really know how many miles I’ve accumulated.

Plus, that 500 number is an average—it doesn’t take into account my weight or how much wear I put on my shoes. By default, I usually do the Big Switch every August. But is that often enough—especially since I’m pretty hard on my shoes, wearing away the outer heel as if using a high-powered sander? Or am I replacing them too soon, thereby wasting hard-earned cash? A girl’s gotta know!

That’s where the Shoe Odometer comes in. You go to the website, indicate whether you’re a walker or a runner, and enter your weight and shoe wear pattern (mine is “heavy wear on the heels”). It then spits out your personal “shoe wear number”—in other words, the number of miles you can cover before you need new shoes.

You enter that into the odometer, attach it to the laces of your new sneaks, and leave it there. That’s it. The odometer shows you in percentage form how much wear is left in your shoes, based on the number of steps you take. When it hits 0%, it’s time for new shoes. Brilliant.

Why didn’t someone think of this sooner?

Product: Shoe Odometer

Category: Gear

Pros: An ingenious device that takes the guesswork out of figuring out when you should replace your shoes, whether you’re a walker or a runner. It’s waterproof (no need to worry about rainy-day workouts) and the battery should last 6 to 10 years.

Cons: It’s a little pricey (but worth it).

Cost: $40 at ShoeOdometer.com

Extra tip: Not concerned with shoe wear? It also works as a pedometer—just lace it onto whatever shoe you’re wearing that day.


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