Proper maintenance can help retain fit and make shoes last longer

By Nadine Halili | Art by Sai Shah | Source photo by Kristian Egelund/Unsplash

When it comes to the perfect running shoes, you need to look for the right option that caters to your specific needs. But even though runners may have particular needs, it’s always important to choose a pair that lessens joint strain and can correct your stride—ones that are easy on your feet and can prevent injuries. 

If that’s not difficult enough, taking care of them is another story. Sadly, running shoes wear out even when you don’t use them and, given the extension of the enhanced community quarantine, we bet not many of you have had the chance to run as often as you want (unless you have a treadmill at home or have figured out ingenious ways to run). Without proper care and storage, your running shoes may crumble when you get the chance to take them out for a run again. 


Clean your shoes gently

In order to maintain your shoes’ fit and form, gentle cleaning after each use is recommended. If they still have dirt and mud from your previous run, scrub these off with a cleaning brush. Remove the insoles and laces then gently scrub your shoes, laces and insoles separately with a shoe cleaner or a basic all-purpose household cleaner. Refrain from putting them in the washing machine. Though you can get away with this for a few times if the shoes don’t contain labels that warn against this, soaking them frequently will erode the midsoles. After cleaning, stuff them with newspapers to absorb moisture and odor and to keep the shape as you leave them out to dry. Don’t place them in a dryer because this will affect the glue that’s binding the shoes.


Give them space and away from heat

Leaving shoes in the heat or under direct sunlight can bleach their color; it can also dry up, shrink and harden the midsole, reducing durability. Furthermore, storing your shoes in a hot environment can also melt the glue, altering the form and fit. New Balance’s global performance manager Claire Wood told Runner’s World that stacking them under boots or heavy shoes can wear them down as well. Store your shoes in a dry environment and away from harmful elements. 


Shoes need to breathe

Sneakerhead JumpanBostic told sōlscience that his old sneakers are still wearable because not only does he regularly wear them, he also wraps the shoes in a towel and drills holes on the shoeboxes where he stores them. Although the advice generally applies to lifestyle sneakers, it doesn’t hurt to try the same principle. Placing your running shoes in a plastic bag or box prevents air from circulating, thus hardening its glue quicker and making them prone to breaking once you wear them again. Furthermore, moisture can build up in your shoes (from sweat after a run) so it’s best to air dry them before storing them to maintain their form and prevent unwanted odors.

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