Did you start running thinking it would be a cheap sport? Oh, how quickly the shorts and bras and race entries add up — not to mention the shoes! Sure, the barefoot route would eliminate this expense, but the majority of us want to remain shod. And even if you found a dollar on every single run, that still wouldn’t come close to covering the cost. Knocking out 70-80 miles per week, I’ve certainly gone through my fair share of shoes that are only supposed to last for 300 or so miles. Read on for 10 ways to extend the life of your running shoes!
1. Wear running shoes only for running. Save a pair of retired running shoes for walking and chores.
2. Don’t machine wash your shoes. If you’ve got a serious mud crust or stink problem, try the garden hose or bathtub. I do break this rule when I donate shoes, washing with just a touch of detergent.
3. Avoid temperature extremes. In other words, don’t store your shoes in the car in the winter or in the summer.
4. Stuff them with newspaper after they get wet. Stuffing them with a wad of newspaper (or junk mail!) will speed up the drying process without needing to resort to the heat vent or dryer (see #3).
5. Rotate your shoes. Basically, this means having 2 or more pairs of running shoes that you alternate. Contrary to what some say, shoes don’t need time to “recover” or decompress from pounding. However, you may be able to eke out a few more miles without injury by using older shoes sparingly and treating your legs to newer cushy shoes on other runs.
6. Track your shoe mileage. Learn what mileage cap works for you. If you’re rotating, this will help avoid using the oldest shoes too often. It may also help you avoid injury! A few years ago I noticed occasional heel pain. From my log, I noticed it seemed to be associated with a particular pair of shoes and removed them from my rotation. Voila – cured!
7. Run on softer surfaces like dirt, wood chips, tracks or the treadmill. While there’s ambiguous evidence on a hard surface’s effect on cushioning properties of the shoe, a hard surface like the road or sidewalks will certainly cause more wear and tear on the outsole. Speaking of the outsole …
8. Pay attention to the type of outsole when purchasing new shoes. The outsole, or bottom outside of the shoe, is my weak link – I’ve worn through it before! When shopping for durable shoes keep in mind that carbon rubber is more durable than blown rubber, so ask the salesperson what the material is if you’re concerned.
9. Consider your weight. While a 5 or 10 pound loss isn’t going to make a big difference, keep in mind that most of us probably put more stress on our shoes than 100-pound Desi Davila.
10. Buy local. With online shopping, you may end up retiring shoes early due to poor fit. Ask an experienced sales associate at your local running store to help you find appropriate shoes for your body.
How many miles do you get out of your shoes? Any other tips?