You already know that the right pair of shoes is a key investment to keep you running comfortably and without injury. But do you know how to keep your trainers in top condition as you rack up the mileage? Most traditional running shoes can serve you well for about 300-500 miles, and there are a few things you can do to make sure you get the most life and the best performance out of each pair. Check out our favorite tips and tricks below.
It’s a good idea to keep at least two pairs of shoes in your lineup so you can rotate them out from one training session to the next. This approach gives the foam midsole of your shoes time to “bounce back,” keeping the cushioning fresher longer than if the shoes were taking a daily pounding. If you run in a wet climate and/or tend to sweat quite a bit, this also gives each pair a better chance of drying out in between runs for increased comfort and decreased funk buildup. Put simply, following a shoe rotation will extend the useful life of your shoes.
Some runners will keep a more cushioned shoe on deck for longer runs and another more streamlined shoe for weekly speedwork and tempos. And many runners also have a trail-specific model that’s better suited to handle the dirt and muck that comes with off-road use. Even if you’re a diehard fan of one particular shoe model, we’d suggest picking up a few different colorways and getting in the habit of a regular rotation.
Keeping ‘Em Dry
You won’t take a rest day just because it’s wet outside, so it’s easy for your running shoes to get wet and smelly. After a run, store your shoes in a dry place. Putting them next to a fan is a-OK, but avoid going to the extreme of putting them right next to a heating vent or other heat source. This can cause damage to the upper materials and the midsole compounds. Many runners also pull out the insoles of wet shoes, which helps to speed up drying time. Another tip: prop your shoes up against a wall or place them on a rack for improved air circulation.
You also might want to use a Shoe Dog after a damp run to get your shoes dry and ready for your next run. The cedar-filled cloth pouches of these Dogs help to absorb moisture and odor, so your shoes don’t become a biohazard. For best results, use the Shoe Dog immediately after a damp excursion to prevent mildew smells from developing.
Keeping ‘Em Clean
If your shoes already stink, freshen them up with a set of SneakerBalls. Place these little odor-fighting spheres in your sneaks to get rid of any unwanted smells, and your feet (and running partners) will be happier for it.
You can also spend some quality time with your dirty shoes and a bottle of Penguin Sport Gel Cleaner. This product cleans and deodorizes the fabric of a shoe, and can be used on other apparel and athletic gear as well.
Though significantly improved in recent years, the sockliners that come standard in running shoes today still offer limited cushioning. Replacement insoles can be an excellent option for runners who want to recapture that in-store feel they recall so fondly. Cushioned insoles can breathe new life into a pair of shoes with a few hundred miles on the odometer, and keep you feeling comfortably protected for a few hundred miles more.
Many runners are surprised what a difference replacement insoles can make. The Sof Sole Airr insoles (Men’s Airr Insoles / Women’s Airr Insoles) are top sellers for us and offer plenty of heel and forefoot cushioning if your standard insoles are all worn out.
Laces and Lacing
As a shoe racks up miles, the upper often begins to stretch out some, and you may find yourself having to tie your laces tighter. This might cause hotspots and blistering. You can try a special shoe lacing technique (watch our Lacing Techniques Video) to get a more specialized fit and keep your shoes comfortable longer.
Or, if you just want to spruce up some older shoes with laces that offer a more dialed-in fit, you may want to try a replacement shoelace like the Xtenex X300 or the Yankz Sure Lace System. These laces allow you to customize the lacing of your shoes.
The days of having a good cobbler in town may be gone, but you can still do some pretty nifty DIY repairs to spare your running shoes a visit to the trash bin. We sell Penguin Shoe Goo, a multi-purpose repair glue that can reattach separated outsoles, coat frayed shoelaces, secure loose insoles, and perform several other stunts.
How else do you maintain your running shoes and get a little extra life out of them?