Getting the best out of your running shoes

Getting the best out of your running shoes


Most runners wish their shoes would last a little longer. Sometimes it’s not easy to know when they are ready to be replaced. Keep them too long and you are risking an injury. Replace them too quickly and you are burning a hole in your wallet.

This gem of an article by Ryan Missel, originally titled How to Get an Extra 100 Miles Out of Your Running Shoes popped up in one of latest Running World online editions.

It’s well worth a read.

Running industry experts share nine tricks to make your shoes last longer.

Store Them Like Wine

Keep shoes away from heat or direct sunlight. “Don’t leave them in a hot car,” says Betsy Hughes, co-owner of Track Shack of Orlando. “This dries up, shrinks, and hardens the midsole, which reduces the durability and cushioning.”

Give Them Space

Shoes can break down when you’re not running, says Claire Wood, global performance manager for New Balance. “Don’t stack them under your boots or other heavy shoes.” The uppers are pliable, and crushing them wears them down.

The Best Way to Dry

Dry wet shoes by stuffing them with newspaper after removing the insoles. “Wet shoes that air-dry on their own tend to stink. In addition to helping dry your shoes quickly, stuffing newspaper tight into the toebox helps retain the shape of the shoe,” says Jena Winger, footwear and product line manager for Brooks. “After the first 10 minutes the paper will have soaked up as much water as it can, so switch it out with another batch, and leave it.”

Always Untie

“Unlace your shoes to take them off, rather than using your foot to kick them off,” says Wood. And retie them when you put them on. This prevents the heel cup from getting crushed and losing support.

Add Reinforcements

Thin, lightweight uppers can wear out before the sole does. Reinforce weak spots in the upper with Engo blister pads, says Dave Martinez, director of marketing at Big Peach Running Company. “Look at your old shoes for premature wear, and place the pad inside on that same area to protect the upper.”

Let Them Rest

Give your shoes a 48-hour break between runs by training with a second pair. “It takes about that long for the foam to de-compress,” says Winger. And that can extend the life of a pair by up to 100 miles.

Know Their Birthday

Some shoes don’t show when they’re past their prime, especially if you use them indoors, says Wood. “If you don’t log every mile, write the date you start using your shoes on their sides to estimate total mileage.” A shoe’s absolute limit is 500 miles, says Wood, though some may need replacing after just 300 miles.

Hand-Cleaning Only

“Never put shoes in the washing machine or dryer,” says Wood. “The textiles and performance materials are not meant to go through an intense wash and dry cycle.” Buy some baby wipes to clean them, or use a little soap on a dish brush and scrub off whatever part you’re bummed got dirty.

Midsole Life Is Limited

Don’t stockpile a lifetime supply of Vaporflys* in your closet. “Typically, within two years, any shoe’s midsole will start to break down,” saysWinger.

* Marathon coordinator’s note: Vaporflys are a premium performance running shoe, worn by many long distance road runners. Forget the brand; the point is that stockpiling shoes for years will result in some reduction of their integrity – perhaps only buy one or two pairs in advance instead!