how can i make my running shoes last longer
how can i make my running shoes last longer

Running shoes are an investment, and it’s only natural that we want them to last as long as possible. From cushioning to traction, they provide the support and comfort needed to tackle miles upon miles. But how can we ensure their longevity? In this article, we’ll explore some practical tips and tricks that will help you extend the lifespan of your trusty running shoes and keep them in top-notch condition. Say goodbye to premature wear and tear, and hello to miles of uninterrupted running bliss.

Choosing the Right Running Shoes

The first step in making your running shoes last longer is choosing the right pair. Proper shoe fit is essential for comfort and preventing injuries. When trying on shoes, make sure they have a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. This allows room for your feet to swell during long runs. Additionally, check for quality materials that are breathable and able to provide support. Lastly, consider your running style when selecting shoes. Different shoes are designed for different types of runners, so choose a pair that aligns with your specific needs.

Maintaining your Running Shoes

Once you have found the perfect pair of running shoes, it’s important to maintain them properly to extend their lifespan. Here are some tips to keep your shoes in great condition:

Store Shoes Properly

After each run, it’s important to properly store your running shoes. Avoid leaving them in a wet or damp environment, as this can lead to the growth of mold and bacteria. Instead, allow them to air dry in a well-ventilated area. Additionally, storing them in a shoe rack or box can help maintain their shape and prevent unnecessary wear and tear.

Avoid Excessive Walking in Running Shoes

While it may be tempting to use your running shoes as everyday sneakers, it’s best to limit their use to running activities only. Excessive walking in your running shoes can cause the midsole to compress, reducing the shoe’s cushioning and support. To make your shoes last longer, consider investing in a separate pair of sneakers for everyday use.

Rotate Multiple Pairs of Running Shoes

Rotating between multiple pairs of running shoes can significantly extend their lifespan. By alternating between shoes, you allow each pair to fully dry out and recover between runs. This helps prevent moisture buildup and reduces the chances of odor-causing bacteria growth. Additionally, rotating shoes can help distribute the impact of running more evenly, reducing wear in specific areas.

Keep Shoes Clean

Regularly cleaning your running shoes is crucial for maintaining their appearance and performance. Remove any dirt or debris by gently brushing or wiping the shoes with a damp cloth. For more stubborn stains, use a mild soap or specialized shoe cleaner. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials, as these can damage the shoe’s materials.

Use Shoe Inserts

To enhance comfort and support, consider using shoe inserts or orthotics. These inserts can help reduce impact and provide additional arch support, promoting proper foot alignment during runs. By using inserts, you can minimize stress on your shoes’ midsoles and extend their lifespan.

Replace Worn-out Insoles

Over time, the insoles of your running shoes will naturally wear out. When you start to notice signs of wear, such as decreased cushioning or visible damage, it’s time to replace the insoles. Replacing worn-out insoles can help restore the shoe’s original comfort and support, allowing you to continue running without compromising your feet.

Don’t Use Shoes for Other Activities

While it may be tempting to use your running shoes for other athletic activities, this can significantly reduce their lifespan. Each sport has specific footwear designed to provide the necessary support and functionality. Using your running shoes for activities such as tennis, basketball, or hiking can put excessive stress on the shoes’ materials and lead to premature wear and tear.

Taking Care of Shoe Soles

The soles of your running shoes endure significant wear and tear, so it’s important to take care of them to extend their lifespan. Here are some tips for maintaining your shoe soles:

Protect Soles on Hard Surfaces

Running on hard surfaces, such as pavement or concrete, can cause excessive wear on the soles of your shoes. To protect them, consider using shoe inserts with extra cushioning in the heel and forefoot areas. Alternatively, you can choose running shoes with thicker and more durable outsoles specifically designed for road running.

Avoid Extreme Temperatures

Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, can affect the performance and lifespan of your shoe soles. Exposure to high temperatures can cause the soles to soften or melt, while extreme cold can make them brittle. To prevent damage, avoid leaving your shoes in direct sunlight or in a car during hot summer days. Similarly, avoid storing them in extremely cold environments, such as a freezing garage or attic.

Regularly Clean Soles

Cleaning the soles of your running shoes is essential for maintaining traction and preventing the accumulation of dirt and debris. After each run, remove any mud or dirt by gently scrubbing the soles with a soft brush or old toothbrush. Wipe off any remaining residue with a damp cloth. Regular cleaning prevents the soles from becoming caked with dirt, which can affect their grip and performance.

Use Athletic Detergent for Cleaning

When cleaning your running shoes, it’s important to use a gentle detergent specifically formulated for athletic gear. Regular laundry detergents can contain harsh chemicals that may damage the shoe’s materials. Use a small amount of athletic detergent mixed with water and gently scrub the soles to remove dirt and stains. Rinse thoroughly and air dry the shoes before storing or wearing them again.

Protective Measures for Shoes

To further protect your running shoes and extend their lifespan, consider the following measures:


If you frequently run in wet or rainy conditions, applying a waterproofing spray can help protect your shoes from moisture damage. The spray forms a protective barrier on the shoe’s upper, preventing water from seeping through. Be sure to choose a waterproofing product specifically designed for running shoes, as some generic sprays may not be suitable for all materials.

Conditioning Leather Shoes

If you own leather running shoes, regular conditioning is essential to maintain their appearance and flexibility. Apply a leather conditioner every few months to keep the leather supple and prevent it from becoming dry or cracking. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific conditioner you are using.

Avoid Submerging in Water

While it’s important to clean your running shoes, it’s best to avoid submerging them in water as much as possible. Excessive exposure to water can weaken the shoe’s materials and compromise their performance. Instead, spot clean any stains or dirt using a mild soap or shoe cleaner, and gently scrub the affected areas with a cloth or soft brush.

Avoid Overexposure to Sunlight

Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause the colors of your running shoes to fade and the materials to deteriorate. Whenever possible, store your shoes in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. If you need to dry your shoes after a wet run, opt for air drying in a shaded area instead of placing them in direct sunlight.

Use Shoe Trees for Proper Shape

To maintain the shape of your running shoes when not in use, consider using shoe trees. Shoe trees help preserve the shoe’s structure and prevent it from developing creases or deformities. They also help absorb excess moisture, reducing the chances of odor or mildew buildup. Insert the shoe trees into your shoes after each run to keep them in optimal condition.

Caring for Shoe Uppers

In addition to the soles, taking care of the uppers of your running shoes is crucial for prolonging their lifespan. Follow these tips to keep your shoe uppers in great shape:

Clean Uppers Regularly

Just like with the soles, it’s important to clean the uppers of your running shoes regularly. Use a mild soap or shoe cleaner and a soft cloth or brush to gently clean the fabric or synthetic materials. For leather uppers, follow the specific care instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Remove Stains Properly

If your running shoes have stains on the uppers, it’s important to remove them promptly and properly. For fabric or synthetic materials, spot treat the stain using a mild soap or water and gently scrub with a brush or cloth. Avoid using excessive force, as this may damage the materials. For leather uppers, consult the manufacturer’s instructions or a professional cleaner for stain removal.

Dry Shoes Properly

After cleaning, allow your running shoes to dry completely before wearing or storing them. Stuff the shoes with newspaper or cloth to absorb moisture and help maintain their shape. Avoid using direct heat sources such as hair dryers or heaters, as these can shrink and damage the materials. Instead, let your shoes air dry naturally in a well-ventilated area.

Use Shoe Stretchers for Leather Shoes

If you own leather running shoes and find that they feel tight or uncomfortable, consider using shoe stretchers. Shoe stretchers can help widen the toe box and stretch the leather to improve the fit. Follow the instructions provided with the shoe stretchers and be patient, as the stretching process may take several days.

Dealing with Smelly Shoes

Unpleasant odors can be a common problem with running shoes, but there are ways to combat them. Follow these tips to keep your shoes smelling fresh:

Allow Shoes to Air Out

After each run, allow your shoes to air out in a well-ventilated area. This helps to dry out any moisture and prevents the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Removing the insoles and loosening the laces can also aid in better airflow. Avoid placing your shoes in a closed space immediately after a run, as this can trap moisture and contribute to odor buildup.

Use Odor Absorbers

To combat odors, consider using odor-absorbing products such as activated charcoal or baking soda. Place a small amount of either substance in a clean cloth or sock and insert it into your shoes overnight. These substances absorb moisture and neutralize odors, leaving your shoes smelling fresh.

Wash Insoles Separately

If the insoles of your running shoes are particularly smelly, it’s best to remove them and wash them separately. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for proper cleaning methods. Machine washing or hand washing with mild soap and water are common methods for cleaning insoles. Allow them to air dry completely before reinserting them into your shoes.

Consider Using Antibacterial Spray

If regular cleaning and odor-absorbing products are not effective, consider using an antibacterial spray specifically formulated for shoes. These sprays kill odor-causing bacteria and leave a fresh scent behind. Follow the instructions provided with the spray for best results.

Avoid Wearing Shoes without Socks

Wearing socks is crucial for preventing odors in your running shoes. Socks act as a barrier between your feet and the shoes, absorbing sweat and reducing the chances of bacterial growth. Opt for moisture-wicking socks that help keep your feet dry during runs. Regularly washing your socks after each use is also important for maintaining hygiene.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

To further extend the lifespan of your running shoes, avoid these common mistakes:

Not Replacing Worn-out Shoes

Running shoes have a limited lifespan, typically ranging from 300 to 500 miles depending on factors such as your weight, running style, and the terrain you run on. Ignoring signs of wear and tear, such as visible midsole compression or significant outsole wear, can lead to discomfort and increase the risk of injuries. It’s important to replace your running shoes when they have reached their mileage limit or when you notice significant deterioration.

Not Considering Terrain

Different terrains can have varying impacts on the lifespan of your running shoes. Running on rough or uneven surfaces, such as trails or gravel paths, can cause accelerated wear. It’s important to choose shoes with durable outsoles and additional protection if you frequently run on challenging terrains. Additionally, rotating shoes and using different pairs for different terrains can help distribute the impact and extend their lifespan.

Ignoring Signs of Wear and Tear

Regularly inspect your running shoes for signs of wear and tear. Look for visible damage, such as loose stitching or separation of the sole from the upper. Pay attention to any discomfort or changes in cushioning or support. Ignoring these signs can lead to discomfort and increase the risk of injuries.

Not Having a Variety of Shoes

Running in the same pair of shoes every day can lead to accelerated wear and tear. It’s beneficial to have multiple pairs of running shoes and rotate between them. This allows each pair to fully recover between runs and helps prevent excessive wear in specific areas. Additionally, different pairs can provide varying levels of cushioning and support, catering to your specific needs on different days or terrains.

Overwashing Shoes

While it’s important to keep your running shoes clean, overwashing can actually be detrimental to their lifespan. Excessive washing can weaken the shoe’s materials and reduce their overall durability. Instead, focus on regular spot cleaning and proper storage to maintain the shoes’ cleanliness and performance.

Seeking Professional Help

If you encounter any issues or concerns with your running shoes, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A podiatrist can provide valuable advice on the right type of shoes for your feet and running style. They can also recommend specific insoles or orthotics to enhance comfort and support.

If your shoes require repairs, consider reaching out to a shoe repair service. Professional repair can extend the lifespan of your shoes by fixing minor issues such as loose stitching or damaged soles. They may also provide tips on proper maintenance and care, helping you make your running shoes last even longer.

Extending the Lifespan of Running Shoes

By following these tips and taking proper care of your running shoes, you can significantly extend their lifespan. Investing in quality shoes, following the manufacturer’s guidelines, and regularly inspecting and repairing them when necessary are all essential steps. By taking care of your shoes, you not only save money in the long run but also ensure that your running experience remains comfortable and injury-free.


Caring for your running shoes is essential for prolonging their lifespan and ensuring optimal performance. From choosing the right shoes to maintaining them properly, there are numerous steps you can take to make your running shoes last longer. By following effective shoe care tips and avoiding common mistakes, you can enjoy the benefits of prolonged shoe lifespan, such as cost savings and injury prevention. So, lace up your running shoes, take care of them, and hit the pavement with confidence!