Although running is supposed to be a relatively inexpensive sport, the sticker shock that can accompany a new pair of running shoes often makes you wonder how you can possibly make them last longer. Running shoes should typically be replaced every 300-500 miles (on the lower end if you are a heavier runner).
Higher quality running shoes tend towards the $80-$100 price range. If we use the $100 price and consider a person running 50 miles a week, they would burn through a new pair of shoes every 10 weeks! There are a few things you can do to help your running shoes live up to the higher end of their expiration date:
- Do NOT put your running shoes in the dryer! Although it may be tempting after a particularly soggy run, the high heat of the dryer causes materials used in the running shoes to break down much faster. If your shoes get really wet after a run, you can stuff them with newspaper and lean them up against the wall with the toes pointing down. I usually have a beater pair of running shoes that I save for really nasty weather conditions.
- Rotate your running shoes. I have a fairly large arsenal of running shoes that I rotate through depending on the type of run I am doing and what I feel like wearing on any given day. Believe it or not, letting your shoes take a day or two off between runs will help them last longer. This is because the shoes are able to dry out completely (crucial if you have super sweaty feet!) and they are able to recover their shock absorbing properties (this takes about 2 days)! I came across an interesting fact from Bob Glover’s The Competitive Runner’s Handbook: “Studies show that by alternating two pairs of shoes they’ll last longer than three pairs used consecutively.”
- Make sure you note the date you beginning using each pair of new running shoes. While some people like to write the date that they started using a new pair of shoes on the box, this is out for me because I never save shoe boxes! I like to put the purchase date/first use date on my calendar in Garmin Connect. Noting the date you begin using your shoes makes it a lot easier to track the mileage on them accurately. Many people wait too long to buy new shoes because they just don’t know how many miles they have on them.
- Buy local! I love to support local businesses, especially local running stores, which are unfortunately a dying breed. Cost concerns often lead us to look for the best price on shoes, even if this means stocking up on a past year’s model. When you buy a shoe that is deeply discounted because it’s outdated, you really have no idea how long it has been sitting around somewhere. When you shop local, you are getting the most current model of the shoe or occasionally a great discount on one that just became last year’s model!
- Keep your running shoes for running. Because running shoes are so comfortable, we tend to wear them even when we aren’t running. It’s a good idea to have a pair of sneakers for casual wear and only wear your running shoes when you are training. It might not seem like you are putting a lot of miles on just walking around, but you would be surprised how quickly this can pile on the miles!