Getting the Most from Your Shoes
Do you like saving money? Do you spend your weekends searching bargain bins and wait for months until the right sale comes along? Do you like to “pop tags” at good ol’ Salvation Army for those rare finds? As you may have guessed, buying running shoes secondhand isn’t a great option. But, you can take steps to keep the shoes you do have in good condition. And, in turn, get the most out of your kicks.
A pair of pairs
Split up all that stress! If you can spare the change, consider getting a second pair of running shoes. Why? Listen. When two pairs of shoes are used alternately for workouts, 80% of the cushioning is left in either pair after 60 runs of 5 miles, instead of 60% of the cushioning when a single pair is used. This is because it takes up to 48 hours for the midsoles to recover from the shock absorption involved in a long run.
When buying a second pair of shoes, don’t buy two of the same pair. It’s good to have some variety for the stress that your foot endures, as long as the second pair works well for the running you do. Giving your shoes some “time to rest” will provide a longer lifespan for your shoes and your wallet in the long term. An added benefit to starting a shoe rotation is that you’ll have a choice of shoes for different runs, having the option to wear shoes better suited for different workouts.
Show your shoes you care
Your shoes will thank you for treating them well. After a run, get in the habit of untying your shoes before you take them off: don’t kick them off. That trite treatment will wear down the padding around the heel and the heel counter - an important part of the motion control qualities of the shoe. Also, limit the activities of your running shoes to running. Lateral exercise activities, like basketball or “sharks and minnows,” can disturb the balance of your shoes.
Where you put your shoes is also important for keeping them in tip-top shape. If your shoes get wet during a run, do them a favor and give them 24 hours to dry. Take out the insoles, insert some newspaper, and leave them indoors in an open space. Do not put them in the dryer! Direct heat is too much for your shoes to handle, even leaving them in direct sunlight can be too intense. On that note, leaving shoes in the cold is also ill advised. Goldilocks likes her shoes at room temperature, so should you.
But what do you wear on the town?
You may think it’s none of your running shoes’ business, but the shoes you wear when you aren’t running can have a positive or negative effect on your feet. That isn’t to say you should wear running shoes all the time, especially the ones you actually use to run. Like I mentioned before, running shoes need a break to work properly and it’s good to vary the stress put on your foot.
When choosing your non-running footwear, look for something that fits to your foot and offers some support. Something with laces usually fits better. Avoid loose casual shoes that can cause heel spurs or loose fitting high tops, which can irritate your Achilles. And for you ladies asking about high heels? Bad idea. The impact on your feet is six times higher per step than the impact of the average shoe, so opt for a heel of an inch or less.
Good luck out there, and take care of your shoes. They might just take care of your wallet.