Go the Extra Mile: 6 Ideas for Extending the Life of Your Running Shoes


Most serious runners invest huge amounts of brainpower and money into finding the perfect pair of running shoes. Many athletes even keep multiple pairs to wear in rotation or for certain types of events or terrain. Follow these useful tips to help protect your investment and increase the longevity of your favorite running shoes.

Good Form — One winning way to preserve the shape and integrity of your shoes is to master your running form. A sloppy stride can cause irregular wear on your footwear (not to mention your joints!). This is by far the most economical tip in the long run.

Keep It Clean — Pamper your shoes after every run. Commercial cleaners and conditioners help keep your shoes looking great, but a damp towel or soft brush and some water will often work well enough to remove road grime and any funky matter you may have picked up along the trail.

Never Tumble Dry — Not even once. Aside from the horrendous racket your shoes will make thrashing around inside a laundry dryer, the intense heat can have disastrous results on leather, rubber, and plastics. Towel-dry your shoes instead.

Run Races, Not Errands — No matter how cool your new pair of kicks may look, resist the urge to wear them out and about. Conserving your shoes for time on the track will help keep them in shape for when you need them the most.

Call for Backup — As I mentioned in the introduction of this article, many savvy joggers keep a few pairs of shoes on hand at all times. Certain styles of running shoes are built for different purposes; think marathons versus trail running. You may also want to rotate shoes between intense workouts. It may sound funny, but shoes need recovery time just like your body does. If you go particularly hard with your training, your shoes will appreciate the breather and will reward you with extended longevity.

Track Your Temps — Think of your shoes as organic beings. Whether hot or cold, extreme temperatures will break down the materials and may lead to warping or cracking. I’ve had shoes that seemed to literally disintegrate after a few months one scorching Texas summer! Instead of leaving your shoes to melt or freeze in the trunk of your car, bring them inside for a little TLC.

As with anything else, the more care you put into your shoes, the greater your return on investment. This list is in no way exhaustive. Let me know in the comments what tricks you use to keep your running shoes on the roster as long as possible.