Running is more than just a sport. It is a way of life, and as a runner, you know that certain components are necessary for safe, efficient running. Proper gear and suitable running conditions are crucial. Proper gear is an integral part of running, and one of the most important pieces of running gear is, of course, running shoes.
Once you have taken the time to methodically select the perfect running shoe for your type of running, your average pace, and the typical conditions you are accustomed to running in, it is important to ensure that you maintain proper upkeep of your running shoes.
If you are training for your Half Marathon or Marathon, you will most probably be having more than 2 pairs of shoes. You might have also been told to retire your shoe after its had its life of running for 800km +. Each brand has its own retirement age and sometimes it depends on the condition of sole.
As I’m leading up to a Marathon training, I have invested in an additional pair of shoes, which makes it a total of 3 shoes that I have for my training. I try and alternate the shoes every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, wearing the most comfortable and oldest one for my Saturday long runs.
I wasn’t very knowledgable about running shoes before I started running and finding the right shoe for my feet was always a challenge. However as I discussed more with my run buddies and also instructions from my Coach, I realized what to look for in a shoe. Needless to say, these shoes don’t come cheap and I always try to look for deals and discounts.
So while we are at it, it’s also important to take good care of the shoes so that the longevity of the shoe can be increased and we can extract more value for money. Dirty or stinky shoes are something to be concerned about, even while you’re running. Caring for your running shoes is essential for you to focus on your running!
Some of the things that I do regularly:
Always Untie The Lace: This is the most common mistake that all of us make including me. After an intense workout, I hate to spend even 5 secs to untie my lace to remove my shoe. But I learnt much later as I spent a lot of money on these shoes, that they need to be loved. When we put the shoes on and take them off without untying the laces, we are putting extra stress on the seams and other attachment points. Untying the lace and loosening up the lace before removing the shoe prevents the heel cup from getting crushed and losing support.
Know Their Birthday: What I also learned is to track the no of kms I have used the shoe for by using the wonderful feature on Strava where you can add your gear and with every run, it keeps calculating the age of your shoe. I also learned it the hard way that once the sole dies, however prim and proper condition your shoe might be in, its supposed to be retired. This did burn a hole in my heart and my pocket. The soles once gone, do not provide the security of foot landing and the cushioning needed for the feet.
Hand-Cleaning Only: The other mistake I used to do is to wash my shoes in a washing machine. Just pause for a minute and think about it. The washing machine is meant for washing clothes and dry them using a tumble dry method. They are designed to wash clothes, not shoes. Shoes have a different technique of handling and hand washing them is the best way to care for them. Using some detergent and a simple brush should do the job. Also avoid soaking your shoes in water as it can damage the fabric and adhesives!
The Best Way to Dry: Dry wet shoes by stuffing them with newspaper after removing the insoles. Wet shoes that air-dry on their own tend to stink. In addition to helping dry your shoes quickly, stuffing newspaper tight into the toebox helps retain the shape of the shoe. After an hour or so, the newspaper would have soaked a lot of water. At that point you could replace it with a fresh set of paper and leave it. Also never leave your shoe to dry in sun.
Give Them Space: It’s important to store the shoes properly when not using them. I always keep the shoe box that it came in and keep the shoes back into the same box after use or when not using them. Stacking shoes one above the other will crush the shoe and wear them down.
Cleaning your running shoes regularly is as important as running on a regular basis. Not only will it preserve and extend the life of your running shoes, but it will also make you feel better about yourself.
How do you care for your shoe? Let me know in the comments.