How to treat your running shoes right

For most runners, shoes are the most important piece of gear they own. It’s where the rubber meets the road (literally!) and can play a huge part in keeping you comfortable, improving your performance, and preventing injury.  Here are some tips on taking care of your shoes, so they can take care of you.

Running shoes are for running.  It can be tempting to wear your running shoes all the time, especially if you really like them.  Don’t let your running shoes become your around-the-house or around-town footwear.  They’ll last longer and treat you better if you only use them for running.

Don’t put them in the washer.  Even if they end up muddy or otherwise gross, your shoes don’t want to go in the washer.  I know, it’s a piece of cake to throw them in there and the sound they make bouncing around in the dryer can be downright hypnotic.  But still, a dry scrub should do the trick just fine.

Dry them off.  Just because you keep your shoes out of the washer doesn’t mean they won’t get wet.  Getting them wet probably won’t do any harm, but it is important to take care to get them dried out properly after the fact.  Don’t just let wet shoes dry out in the corner or crumple up in a gym bag.  Lay them out in the open air and stuff them with paper towels to help them keep their shape as they dry.

Untie them.  Maybe you’re worn out after a hard run and just want to get your feet up on the coffee table.  Or maybe you’re in a hurry to get running and don’t want to slow down to lace up properly.  Either way, Mom was right.  Be sure not to force your shoes on or off without untying them.

Especially if you’re already logging the miles you put on your body, consider keeping an eye on the ones you put on your shoes.  When it is time to buy your next pair, you’ll have an idea of how much use you got out of the old ones.  (It also makes for good small-talk with fellow runners.)  If you buy solid footwear and take good care of it, you should be able to get a few hundred miles out of each pair.

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