How to Care for Running Shoes to Make Them Last Longer

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Sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but after three years of use those running shoes are now doing more harm than good. It’s impossible to make those bad guys last longer.

While it’s always bittersweet to say goodbye to a well-loved pair of shoes, there is positive news to consider as you search for a replacement. It’s possible to get the most use out of your next pair of shoes if you take proper care of them.

It’s true that they’ll wear out just as your previous pair of running shoes did, and every other pair before that. Nonetheless, there are measures you can do to keep your running shoes going strong for longer. How to extend the life of your running shoes with these simple maintenance tricks.

How to Care for Running Shoes to Make Them Last Longer
How to Care for Running Shoes to Make Them Last Longer

Your running shoes are only for running.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of using your new running shoes as your “everything” shoes. Why not wear them while doing yard maintenance or while running errands? And if you’ve got errands to run before getting home, changing shoes afterward is a pain.

While it may be tempting to wear your running shoes for activities other than jogging, doing so may shorten the life of your shoes and make them less suitable for running. The reason for this is that the useful life of most pairs of shoes decreases with time and miles.

There are a number of factors, such as your own body weight and foot shape, that might shorten the lifespan of your running shoes, but one of the most obvious is using them for activities other than running.

John stresses the importance of only using running shoes while actually running. “Keep track of the mileage you’ve put on your running shoes with ease utilizing a spreadsheet or app. However, keeping track of how many miles you’ve put on your running shoes when you also use them for other shoes can be challenging.”

Switch up Your Running Shoes

It’s no secret that a decent pair of running shoes can break the bank, which is why it’s smart to have a couple pairs on hand for rotation whenever possible. You’re putting a lot of strain on your shoes, and they require rest and recovery time just like your body does. They may live longer if you give them time to rest.

According to John, a person should have multiple pairs of shoes. “If you’re a runner who puts in miles every day, rotating pairs of shoes is essential to running the life of your footwear. It is important to let the midsole foam decompress and let the insole and uppers to air out before wearing.”

It’s Important to Wear Appropriate Running Shoes

Different types of footwear exist for different shoes like tracks, highways, and trails for good reason. Running shoes are designed for various terrains and surface types. You can expect more wear and tear on your road shoes if you use them for trail running.

John agrees that the outsole rubber and any exposed midsole foam that peeks through the rubber will wear down far faster once you start putting road shoes on dirt, rocks, and roots.

As a corollary, the running shoes you wear should be appropriate for the type of running you’re doing. Depending on your running style, you may need a specific pair of shoes.

“Perhaps you’ll need something more cushioned for a slow recuperation day, or something light and springy for a fast work day,” John suggests. “Those lightweight and responsive footwear shoes typically have less rubber on the outsole, leaving more of the midsole foam exposed and in contact with the ground, which can lead to accelerated wear and tear.

This means that you will need to change your shoes more frequently if you use the light shoes for every run rather than alternating between shoes based on the training you are performing.

Do some cross-training that’s similar to running.

You may get extra mileage out of each pair of running shoes by engaging in cross-training. To extend the life of your running shoes, you can alternate between running and other activities that are similar to running but don’t put as much stress on your shoes.

To get the most out of it, “choose something that is ‘running specific,'” as John puts it. “Activities like walking on a treadmill or outside, utilizing an elliptical trainer, or even cycling might be considered “running-like.”

John suggests that those who have access to a pool try their hand at pool running in order to rest their shoes. You might even try cross-country skiing if it’s winter.

Do not put your shoes in the dishwasher, washer, or dryer.


It’s tempting to wash your smelly and soiled shoes in the washing machine or dishwasher so they look like new again, but John advises against it if you want to get the most use out of them.

She warns that shoes should never be washed or cleaned in a dishwasher, not even on the top rack. “Hot water has the potential to deteriorate materials and speed up the bond-breaking process. You can’t really injure yourself by playing in the mud.”

John recommends knocking the bottoms of your shoes together to remove the crusty bits. The remaining residue can be removed with a dry nail or dish brush.

To clean the surface, I recommend using a wet towel.

For the same reasons, if your running shoes become wet while you’re out and about, you shouldn’t just toss them in the dryer. Take out the insert instead.

Put some newspaper in there to help absorb the moisture if you have any. What John has to say. “Simply avoid drying your shoes in the dryer. Heat has the potential to accelerate the breakdown of linkages and materials.”

Whenever you put on or take off your shoes, untie the laces first.

All of us are guilty of it at times. To remove your running shoes without having to untie them, you can just step on the heel of the shoe with the foot that isn’t wearing them.

And when you’re ready to go for a run again, it’s a pain to untie and retie the same shoe, right? You might as well just cram your foot back in there before you head out for your run. There are certain ways to cut corners on the beginning and conclusion of your running, but they won’t help you save money or time in the long run.

“You’re not doing your shoes any favors,” John scolds. “The heel cup wears out more quickly if you step on it to get your foot out of a shoe or if you try to cram your feet into a pair of shoes that are too tight. If you must wear shoes with laces, a shoe horn can be used to ease your foot into the shoe without bending the heel, and elastic laces can transform a pair of shoes into a slip-on design.”

Keep your running shoes in a dry, cool place when you’re not using them.

If you’re going to be storing your shoes somewhere in between runs, give some thought to the conditions under which they’ll be kept. It’s possible you’re doing more harm than good by exposing them to harsh temperatures or stowing them away in the depths of your closet.

“John says that rapid temperature changes and being crushed by other shoes both accelerate the wear on the upper and the midsole. Furthermore, the midsole can become hard or shrink in excessive heat, and stiff in extreme cold.”

After a run, you shouldn’t leave your shoes in the car or on the patio; instead, bring them inside to a dry, cool place where they won’t be affected by other shoes or sports equipment.

Achieve Physical Fitness

Going to a specialty running shoe shop for a fitting may seem like a hassle, especially when compared to simply ordering a new pair of shoes online. Shoes that don’t fit properly are not only uncomfortable, but they also tend to wear out faster.

John says, “Finding a shoe that lasts longer is as simple as getting your feet into the appropriate shoes—both in terms of style and size.” Many runners are using shoes that are much too small, which speeds up the wear process.

John adds that if you pronate or supinate, you should look for stability shoes because they are built to accommodate those gait abnormalities. Wearing these instead of neutral shoes will increase their longevity.

How Often Should Running Shoes Be Replaced?

The average lifespan of running shoes is between 300 and 600 miles, but this number might vary widely from brand to brand.
1 In addition to keeping track of your mileage, there are a few additional symptoms that can indicate it’s time to visit the running shoe store for a new pair of shoes.

Eventually, your body will let you know when your shoes have reached their limit, John warns. Pain in the joints, the low back, the arches of the feet, and other rapid onsets of heat and blistering are all telltale signs.

Your legs, she warns, may just become more exhausted from running. Your feet may hurt less, but your shoes will definitely show more wear.

To paraphrase what John says, “your shoes are toast” if there are tears or worn areas on the upper (both inside and out). “If the outsole has sections where it looks like a bald tire, they’re done,” one person said.

Furthermore, if you’ve been using them for a long period of time, their useful lifespan has expired.

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