Caring for Your Running Shoes.
To get the most from your running shoes you have to treat them right. You have spent a small fortune so you need to get your money’s worth. But how? Here are some dos and don’ts in caring for your shoes.
The five worst things you can do to your running shoes are
1. Wash them in the washing machine.
2. Dry them in the clothes dryer.
3. Let them get wet and stay wet.
4. Wear them for other activities such as basketball or tennis.
5. Kick them off by dragging one foot over the other.
Running shoes do get stinky. Just ask my wife! Different shoes react differently due to the type of glue used by the manufacturer. Running without socks is one main problem associated with smelly shoes because the perspiration goes directly into the synthetics of the shoe. To combat this, simply put baking soda in the shoe or replace the insole or sock-liner. Washing shoes in the machine with the chemicals used in detergents can create a chemical reaction and actually cause your shoes to breakdown more quickly. The best way to clean your shoes is with a bristled brush (or toothbrush) and mild soap and water. There are also some cleaners on the market made especially for running and walking shoes.
Never put your running shoes in the dryer. (I learned this one the hard way). Running shoes aren’t intended to survive fast, hot drying. The mid-soles are held together with cements that lose their effectiveness above 120 degrees. Drying shoes in direct sunlight is not good either. The sunlight can cause mid-sole foams to shrink and deteriorate. So what’s left? Put your shoes on a shoe tree and let them dry for a few days. This does work best and gives you a good reason to have two pair of running shoes.
Too many people wear their running shoes for activities that running shoes are not made to handle. Running shoes are made only to move in a straight forward motion. They cannot take the stress of side to side action as in the movement of playing basketball or tennis. I suggest a shoe designed specifically for those functions or a cross trainer with built up outer mid-soles.
One frequently asked question is, “How long should new running shoes last?” There really isn’t a simple answer to that one because all people vary in running characteristics. Usually more efficient lightweight runners will get more mileage than a heavier runner. Also the type of surface you run on comes in to play. Running on soft surfaces such as grass or wood chips will prolong the life of the shoe. The best rule of thumb is to expect between 500 and 700 miles from a shoe but be aware of the warning signs of breakdown. If you start to have aches or pains despite no change in your training routine you probably need to update your footwear. Treat your shoes right and they will give you hundreds of pain free miles.