Running shoes are not just a piece of athletic gear; they are like a faithful companion that takes us miles and miles, supporting us every step of the way. As runners, we all know that finding the perfect pair of running shoes is no easy task, and once we do, we want to make sure they last as long as possible. But have you ever wondered what is the best way to store running shoes to extend their life? In this article, we will explore some simple yet effective tips and tricks that will help you keep your beloved running shoes in top condition, ensuring that they accompany you on many more memorable runs to come.
Clean and Dry the Shoes
Remove the Insoles
Before storing your running shoes, it’s important to remove the insoles. Insoles can retain moisture and sweat, which can lead to bacterial growth and unpleasant odors. By taking the insoles out, you allow air to circulate more freely inside the shoe and help them dry more effectively.
Brush Off Dirt and Debris
Before washing your running shoes, it’s a good idea to brush off any dirt or debris that may have accumulated on the surface. Use a soft-bristled brush or an old toothbrush to gently remove the dirt. This step helps prevent unwanted materials from getting trapped and potentially damaging the shoe fabric during the washing process.
Wash the Shoes
Once you have removed the insoles and brushed off any dirt, it’s time to wash your running shoes. Fill a basin or sink with warm water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Gently scrub the shoes using a soft cloth or sponge, paying extra attention to any stained areas. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach as they can damage the shoe materials. Finally, rinse the shoes thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue.
Air Dry Completely
After washing, it’s crucial to let your running shoes air dry completely. Direct heat from sources like radiators or hair dryers can cause the shoes to warp or shrink. Instead, place the shoes in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Stuffing them with crumpled newspaper helps absorb moisture and maintain their shape. Allow them to dry for at least 24 hours before storing or wearing them again.
Keep Them in a Cool, Dry Place
Avoid Extreme Temperatures
To extend the life of your running shoes, it’s important to store them away from extreme temperatures. Exposure to heat can cause the glue holding the shoe components together to deteriorate, while cold temperatures can make the shoe materials brittle. Ideally, choose a storage location where the temperature remains consistent, such as a closet or a room with a controlled climate.
Find a Well-Ventilated Area
When it comes to storing running shoes, ventilation is key. Air circulation helps prevent the growth of bacteria and mold, which can thrive in damp environments. Avoid storing your shoes in sealed plastic bags or airtight containers as they can trap moisture and prevent proper airflow. Opt for a location with good air circulation, such as an open shelf or a rack.
Use a Shoe Rack or Shelf
Investing in a shoe rack or shelf is a great way to keep your running shoes organized and easily accessible. A shoe rack allows you to store your shoes off the ground, which can help protect them from dust, dirt, and potential water damage. Moreover, it helps maintain the shape of the shoes by preventing them from being bent or crushed under the weight of other items.
Consider a Shoe Bag or Box
If you have limited space and need to store your running shoes in a tight area, consider using a shoe bag or box. These storage solutions provide protection against dust and moisture while allowing you to stack multiple pairs. However, ensure that the bag or box is breathable to prevent any potential moisture buildup.
Preserve the Shoe Shape
Stuff with Newspaper
To maintain the shape of your running shoes during storage, fill them with crumpled newspaper. The newspaper helps absorb any remaining moisture and provides support to the shoe structure. Avoid using colored or glossy pages, as they might transfer ink or stains to the shoes. Make sure to replace the newspaper regularly, especially if the shoes are still damp.
Use Shoe Trees
Another effective way to preserve the shape of your running shoes is by using shoe trees. These lightweight devices are inserted into the shoes and help maintain their natural form. Shoe trees also assist in absorbing moisture and reducing odors. Choose shoe trees made of materials like cedar, which can help control shoe odor and repel insects.
Avoid Folding or Crushing
Running shoes are designed to provide support and cushioning, and folding or crushing them during storage can cause the materials to break down or lose their shape. Avoid stacking heavy items on top of your running shoes or storing them in ways that can cause undue pressure or folding. Treat your shoes with care to ensure their longevity and performance.
Protect Against Moisture and Odor
Apply Waterproofing Spray
One effective way to protect your running shoes from moisture and potential water damage is by applying a waterproofing spray. These sprays create a protective barrier on the surface of the shoes, preventing water from seeping in. Before applying the spray, make sure the shoes are clean and dry. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.
Use Silica Gel Packs
Moisture is a common enemy of running shoes as it can cause materials to deteriorate and promote the growth of bacteria and mold. To absorb excess moisture and reduce the risk of odor, place silica gel packs inside your shoes when storing them. Silica gel packs are available in various sizes and can be easily found online or in stores selling shoe accessories.
Wear Moisture-Wicking Socks
Another way to protect your running shoes from moisture and odor is by wearing moisture-wicking socks. These socks are designed to quickly wick away sweat from your feet, reducing the amount of moisture that reaches the shoes. By keeping your feet dry, you can minimize the risk of bacterial growth and potential damage to your shoes.
Deodorize with Baking Soda
To keep your running shoes smelling fresh, try deodorizing them with baking soda. Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda directly into the shoes and let it sit overnight. The baking soda will help absorb any odors, leaving your shoes smelling clean and fresh. Remember to shake out the baking soda before wearing the shoes again.
Rotate Your Shoes
Alternate between Pairs
Rotating your running shoes can significantly extend their lifespan. Shoes need time to recover and air out between runs, especially after intense workouts or in humid conditions. By rotating between two or more pairs of running shoes, you give each pair ample time to dry out and regain their cushioning properties, reducing the risk of premature wear or deterioration.
Give Them Time to Air Out
After every run, it’s essential to let your running shoes air out before storing them. Remove them from your gym bag or shoe rack and place them in a well-ventilated area. Allowing your shoes to air out helps prevent the buildup of moisture and reduces the risk of bacteria growth and unpleasant odors. It’s also a good practice to remove the insoles during this time to facilitate faster drying.
Avoid Sunlight Exposure
Keep Them Away from Direct Sunlight
Exposing your running shoes to direct sunlight for prolonged periods can cause irreversible damage. The UV rays can fade the colors of the shoe materials and degrade the overall quality. Whenever possible, store your shoes in a location away from windows or choose opaque storage solutions that prevent any sunlight from reaching the shoes.
Sunlight Causes Color Fading and Material Deterioration
Not only can sunlight cause color fading in your running shoes, but it can also deteriorate the materials over time. The heat from direct sunlight can accelerate the breakdown of the glue and adhesives used in the shoe construction, leading to potential structural integrity issues. Opt for a storage solution that provides protection against sunlight to preserve the appearance and durability of your shoes.
Store in Labeled Containers
Label Each Container
To keep your running shoes organized and easily accessible, consider storing them in labeled containers. Whether you use shoeboxes or clear plastic bins, labeling each container allows you to quickly identify and retrieve the pair of shoes you need. Write the label on the outside of the box or attach a small tag to ensure you can easily find the right pair without having to search through all your stored shoes.
Keep Similar Shoes Together
When storing your running shoes, it’s helpful to keep similar shoes together. Grouping your running shoes by type, such as trail running shoes or road running shoes, can make it easier to find the specific pair you need for different activities. Additionally, organizing your shoes by size or color can also facilitate quick selection and enhance storage efficiency.
Check for Any Visible Damage
Regularly inspect your running shoes for any visible signs of damage or wear. Examine the soles, upper fabric, and stitching for any signs of fraying, separation, or holes. Catching these issues early allows you to address them promptly before they worsen and potentially compromise the performance and longevity of your shoes.
Fix or Replace Worn Out Parts
If you notice any worn out or damaged parts, it’s important to fix or replace them to maintain the functionality of your running shoes. Repair loose stitching, replace worn out laces or insoles, and address any other issues that may impact the fit or performance of your shoes. By taking care of your shoes proactively, you can prolong their lifespan and save money on buying new pairs.
Consider Specialized Shoe Storage Solutions
Hanging Shoe Organizers
Hanging shoe organizers are a practical storage solution for those with limited space. Designed to hang on the back of doors or in closets, these organizers feature pockets where you can neatly store your running shoes. Hanging shoe organizers not only maximize vertical space but also keep your shoes easily accessible and protected from dust and other elements.
Shoe Storage Cabinets
If you have a larger collection of running shoes, investing in a shoe storage cabinet can be a great option. These cabinets are designed specifically for shoe storage and often feature adjustable shelves or compartments. Shoe storage cabinets not only offer ample space to store your running shoes but also protect them from dust, sunlight, and potential damage from being piled up.
Over-the-Door Shoe Racks
Over-the-door shoe racks can be a convenient solution for keeping your running shoes organized and easily accessible. These racks hang over the back of a door and feature multiple tiers or shelves to store your shoes. Over-the-door shoe racks are space-efficient and provide a clear view of your shoes, making it easy to choose the right pair for your run.
Follow Manufacturer’s Instructions
Read and Follow Care Guidelines
To ensure the best care for your specific running shoes, it’s essential to read and follow the manufacturer’s care instructions. Different materials, such as mesh, synthetic fabrics, or leather, may require specific cleaning methods or products. By following the recommended care guidelines, you can maintain the integrity and performance of your running shoes for as long as possible.
Understand Specific Shoe Materials
Running shoes can be made from a variety of materials, each with its own cleaning and storage considerations. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the specific materials used in your shoes, such as mesh, synthetic blends, or leather. Understanding the properties and care requirements of these materials can help you adapt your storage and cleaning techniques accordingly, ensuring the longevity and performance of your running shoes.
In conclusion, proper storage and care are essential to extend the life of your running shoes. By following the steps outlined above, you can keep your shoes clean, dry, and in good condition. Remember to clean and dry your shoes thoroughly, store them in a cool and dry place, preserve their shape, protect against moisture and odor, rotate your shoes, avoid sunlight exposure, use labeled containers, conduct regular inspections, consider specialized shoe storage solutions, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. By implementing these practices, you can ensure that your running shoes will serve you well on your future runs and adventures. Happy running!