Run For Life: How to Keep Your Favourite Running Shoes Useable
You’ve searched high and low for a pair of running shoes that is both comfortable and durable. Finally, you’ve found the perfect pair – they feel like felt on your feet; soft and enveloping but built to last.
Regularly you pound the streets in them, clocking up the miles as your fitness and overall health benefits. Yes, your trainers are the perfect match and fit that you’ve always craved – and you don’t want to let them go.
Which is why, after a good few weeks of use, you will need to look after and maintain your running shoes. They’ve started to look a little frayed at the edges, there are spots of inevitable mud and marks here and there – and there’s the unmistakeable aroma of something definitely unpleasant coming from the soles.
So, what to do?
The temptation to throw them in the washing machine might be huge. But beware – this is no quick fix. It’s highly likely the heat and powder will degrade the adhesives used to hold your shoes together and though they might come out looking spick and span, they will probably start to fall apart – literally at the seams – after a few more uses.
Oh – and while we’re on the subject – avoid the tumble dryer too. Again, the heat is too high for the glue, but the constant banging and tumbling is hardly TLC for dedicated and actually quite delicate pieces of athletic equipment.
What your shoes need is a bit of time, patience and gentle attention. Start by compiling these items:
• A soft scrubbing brush
• A medium scrubbing brush
• A mild detergent
• A bowl for water
• A sponge
• An old toothbrush
Start with removing the individual parts – the laces and the insoles. Then, using the medium brush, warm water and mild detergent clean the soles. These are the hardest-wearing parts of the shoes and you can give them a good, stiff clean. An old toothbrush will help with removing grit and dirt that’s embedded in the grips. Dry with a towel.
Next, clean the uppers with mild detergent and lukewarm water. Wipe them repeatedly, but gently. Be aware that this method applies to mesh, fabric or canvas shoes – for leather or other fabrics, there will be different cleaning methods.
Stuff some newspaper in the shoes and let them air dry (don’t put them on a radiator and keep them out of direct sunlight) as you give the laces a good hand clean. The newspaper helps absorb moisture as well as holding the shoes’ shapes as they dry.
Then it’s time for the insoles – the place where most of the odour will be coming from. Remember that sweat does not smell – it’s the bacteria on your skin breaking down acids in your sweat that causes the odour.
Clean them by scrubbing over and over with a wet sponge and warm water. It may take time – or even repeat treatments – but that odour can be brought under control. Of course, there are odour masking items – and you may be tempted to even replace the insole – but remember there is no guarantee of achieving the perfect fit you had before.
This process, although not a quick fix, is the best procedure to ensure longevity and prolonged performance from your favourite running shoes – and it should really become part of your overall fitness routine.
After all, who wants to go back to uncomfortable trainers and reduced effectiveness just because you didn’t give your premium sports gear the love and attention they deserved?