If you are a seasoned runner, you already know how important a good pair of sneakers can be and even more important, how hard they can be to maintain through rough conditions. Even if you are a casual runner it is important to take good care of your shoes so that you don’t needlessly spend money replacing or repairing your favorite pair.
5 Ways to Maintain Your Running Sneakers
Save ’em for Running
Although you should probably replace your shoes every 300 to 400 miles, there are steps you can take that will extend the life of your sneakers. About.com’s Christine Luff suggests that you should only be wearing your running shoes while you are going for a run. Those shoes may be incredibly comfortable outside of exercising, but even just by walking around you are wearing out the cushioning. Reserving your sneakers will not only increase the amount of times you can wear them before they break down, but will also make your runs more comfortable and enjoyable for a longer period of time.
Don’t Rush Them On or Off
Luff also suggests that you make sure to take your shoes on and off properly, even if you may be in a rush. Stretching the laces and tongue of the shoe can create a loose fit that will distort and wreck the shoe quickly. By actually taking the time to untie your shoes, you are adding to their lifespan.
You may also wish to alternate pairs of shoes every time you go running, which would allow each pair a day or two to decompress and dry out between workouts. “This is especially important if you did a run in the rain or snow,” says Luff. “Wearing running shoes that are fresher will help prevent injuries more than if you ran in the same ones every day. The extra cushioning in the shoes will help protect your joints, especially your knees. Allowing your shoes to dry out will also reduce your risk of athlete’s foot.”
Clean them Properly
It is important that you keep your shoes clean and dry, but Coach Jenny Hadfield of Runnersworld.com advises you to stay away from the washing machine and dryer. “It breaks down the shoe materials and makes for a very noisy hour at home,” Hadfield says. “Instead, after a wet, dirty run, rinse them off, use a light brush to get the grit off, and then towel dry and stuff with newspaper or paper towel.”
Know When to Replace ’em
Eventually you are going to need to replace your shoes once they have seen enough action. The common breaking point of around 300-400 miles does not apply to all runners; if you are a runner who prefers roads and sidewalks to treadmills then you can expect your shoes to break down sooner. Check the mid-sole of your shoe after a while, as that part deteriorates before the treading and will eventually cause soreness in your joints, especially in your knees.
Remembering and following these simple rules of proper running shoe maintenance will extend the life of your footwear considerably, and will save you money, and possibly undue stress on your joints, in the future.