Only a runner will know the kind of time and energy that goes into buying a pair of shoes! Finding the perfect match is not only expensive but also a lengthy process of trial and error. Once you find a shoe that brings out the best from your run, it makes sense to hold on to them for as long as possible. Studies calculate that our shoes need to be replaced approximately every 600-800 kms, and naturally, the better you care for them the longer they can serve you. Here are some handy tips to ensure that you can go that extra mile with your favorite pair.
1. Keep them dry
If you’ve stepped on a puddle or been out running in the rain, it’s important to dry your shoes properly when you get home. The best way is to stuff them with newspapers to absorb the excess moisture. You could also remove the insoles and leave them out to dry separately. Sweat and bacteria from our feet and socks are responsible for causing an odor at times; experts recommend some baking powder to take care of the smell. Under no circumstance, however, put your shoes on a radiator or gas oven for drying; the direct heat can damage the glue holding it together and cause the shoe to come apart.
2. Get two of them
Most serious runners prefer alternating between two shoes during their training runs; this helps them max out the mileage from each pair and also gives the shoes a chance to decompress and dry out completely before the next wear. Ensure that you get the same kind of fit from both pairs, however, so that your body doesn’t have to readjust each time your swap shoes.
3. Use them only for running
As good-looking and comfortable as your running shoes may be, restrict wearing them only for your running hours and not for walks or errands. Even if you’re just walking around in them, that would still wear out the cushioning of the shoe leading to faster wear outs and damage. Also, do not use road running shoes for extensive trail runs as the demands of the trail will make them more prone to damage.
4. Wear them well
You’ve been told this since childhood – untie your laces when you take your shoes off, don’t just kick them off. As tedious as it may seem, it is important for the long-lasting life of your shoes. Putting them on and off repeatedly without untying them can alter the shape and affect your fit.
5. Clean them properly
Washing machines and spin dryers are not for shoes. If they are dirty, just scrub them with soap and cold water and a brush, and let them dry naturally, with paper stuffed inside. Always remember to store your shoes in a cool, airy place after a run rather than a closed trunk of gym bag.
Pro-tip: Remember the date when you buy new shoes, because it helps determine how many miles you’ve put them through since then. If you’re only using one pair, you could invest in a new pair halfway through the life of your original shoes. New shoes and how they feel during your runs can be a good reference point for checking when you need to wave goodbye to your trusted pair.