Running Shoe Care

Just like the smell of new car, there is a certain appeal to the lovely aroma of a brand new pair of running shoes.  The promise of well cushioned miles ahead perfumes the air with the anticipation of your next delightful workout. 

But like a new car the scent of new shoes disappears quickly as the bright white midsoles become tarnished in puddles of mud and dirt trails.  With the elements of dirt, terrain, and weather how do we preserve the life of our shoes?  Here are five tips straight from your very own running shoe:

  1. I hate taking a bath!  Never wash your shoes.  The midsole of your shoe is made up of various types of foam.  After each workout this foam needs time to “bounce back” to the original shape.  Submerging the shoe in water makes it impossible for the foam to recover and destroys the support system in the shoe.
  2. Keep me dry.  Your shoes are certain to get wet from normal wear but there are a number of tricks to help them recover from your latest splash through puddles or sweaty summer run.  After each workout open up the laces of your shoes as much as you can.  Remove the sock-liner or insert in the shoe.  Stuff the shoe with newspapers to soak up the moisture and leave the shoes in a dry, cool environment.
  3. Give me a happy home.  The foam in your shoes will recover the best in an ideal environment.  That means storing your shoes in a well ventilated area at room temperature.  Avoid leaving your shoes in your gym bag or in the trunk of your car all summer.  A happy home allows the foam to respond and be ready for your next wear.
  4. Give me a friend – another pair of shoes!  Although it is an added expense, if you can swing try getting two pairs of the same shoe at the same time.  Wear each pair of shoes on opposite days.  The foam in your shoes requires about 36 hours to return to normal.  Most of us wear our shoes within 24 hours, never giving the midsole a chance to fully recover.  Alternating wears will enable both pairs of shoes to last longer. 
  5. Celebrate my retirement but not my birthday.  We should all replace our shoes every 300 – 500 miles, depending on the use of the shoes, the frequency of the wear, the impact on the shoes, and various additional factors.  For most individuals that means that shoes should be replaced every 6 – 8 months.  If your shoes have lasted a year you are most likely overdue for a new pair. 

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