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How to Care for Your Footwear

You know to replace your running shoes after they’ve seen 300 to 500 miles, but how can you keep them up and running during that time? Hitting the trails, beaches, and roads in all sorts of weather will do a number on your kicks, but you can minimize the damage and get the most out of them by taking these steps to care for your footwear.

Footwear Care

Wear Them for One Purpose

While wearing your running shoes around is comfortable and can save you some time, it adds to their mileage and can wear out the cushioning. The best thingto do is have running shoes for running, and comfortable shoes for walking. Additionally, having a pair of minimalist running shoes to alternate with your road running shoesevery few runs can help both pairs last longer. You should also have trail running shoes if you go trail running, since other sneakers won’t be properly equipped for the pressures.

Alternate Your Shoes

Not only should you have trail running shoes for trail running and road running shoes for road running, if you run every day, you should have two pairs of sneakers for the same purpose. By alternating shoes, you give your pairs a chance to dry out and let the midsole foam bounce back.

Use the Laces

Most runners take their shoes off without untying the laces, and put them on similarly. This puts unnecessary stress on the structure, shortens the longevity of your shoes, and eventually cracks the back. So make sure you take the extra time to untie your laces. If your laces are dirty, you can take them off and put them through the washer—just not with the rest of your shoe.

Wash Them Properly

Putting your shoes into the washing machine and dryer is one of the worst things you can do for them. The washer will beat up the structure and the detergent will degrade the materials, while the dryer will get too hot and damage your shoes in no time. To get dirt or mud off, use a small brush, sponge, or toothbrush. You can also use gentle soap and cool water to clean the uppers. Some experts also recommend using baking soda. However, this method should not be used too frequently.

Store Them Dry

No matter how soaked your running shoes are, don’t put them into the dryer. The high level of heat will degrade the glue that keeps your kicks together. In a best-case scenario, take out the insoles or liner and find a well-ventilated place in the sun for them to dry with your sneakers. If your shoes are especially wet, stuff them with dry newspaper to speed the drying process. Radiators and space heaters have the same effect as a dryer and shouldn’t be used.

Moderate Temperature

You should try to avoid storing your running shoes in any area that’s too hot, moist, or cold. Ideally, you should keep your shoes in a cool, dry place.

Control Odor

If your shoes are clean but still smell funky, don’t wash them again. There are other ways to control odor. First, you should always wear running socks with your shoes. Running barefoot is a surefire way to create odor. After runs, put your shoes outdoors or by an open window to air them out. Remove the insoles or liners as well to let them dry before storing them. If your shoes still stink, use baking soda on the inside or under the insoles.


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