LOLZLetter Edition 27| How to Extend the Life of your Running Shoes

Welcome or Welcome Back.

This week I’m typing to you from Colorado! My husband and I decided to go on a short trio out west. It’s been a nice break from the hustle and bustle of New Jersey. In fact, I haven’t had cell service for the majority of the last few days. I also ran my first road half marathon at altitude which was fun, and I’ll have a full recap on the blog soon.

This week a few people asked about how they can extend the life of their running shoes. It’s no secret that running shoes are the most expensive aspect of the sport. They are the only thing you really can’t “get away with skimping out on.”

Let’s first take a look at why running shoes break down and lose their cushion.

So How Do Running Shoes Lose their Cushion?

By using them…but what happens?

Most of the cushion in a running shoe is located in the midsole. In this type of shoe, the midsole is above the outsole and below the upper. (i.e., the middle). The midsole is usually made up of foam, most commonly “EVA” foam. Over time and mileage, this cushion compresses and breaks down.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • There is no exact mileage for any particular running shoe. It varies from person to person, but most running shoes get between 300-500 miles.

  • Racing flats and shoes like the Nike Next% get between 50-100 miles.

  • Models older than two years will deteriorate faster. Foam naturally breaks down over time,  and you won’t get the entire lifespan out of an older shoe. That’s why a shoe that is two years old is drastically cheaper (don’t pay more than half price because that is about the mileage you’ll get).

  • Insoles (like Dr. Scholls) don’t make the shoe last longer. An insole might add a layer of soft cushion, but the running shoe cushion is located in the midsole – not the sock liner. Once the midsole breaks down, it breaks down.

How Can You Make Your Trainers Last Longer?

Use Your Running Shoes for Running:

Well, duh! But remember, when you walk, stand, or kick around in your shoes that does add miles to them. You might only walk a mile during a typical workday, but that is still deteriorating the cushion.

Once you retire your running shoes from running, use them for other things like walking, mowing the grass, or living life.

Alternate Shoes:

I actually wrote a post about alternating shoes in 2017. If you have two pairs of shoes, they’ll last longer, right?

Think of your running shoes like sponges. If you place a brick on a sponge, it compresses. When you take the brick off, it bounces back.

If you never take the brick off, it keeps compressing. If you alternate the brick between two different sponges, each sponge bounces back.

That is similar to alternating running shoes. Giving your running shoes a “rest day” can help the cushion bounce back and give the shoe a longer life. Your shoes can thank me later. :)

Don’t Put Your Shoes in the Dryer:

The dryer will break down the shoe cushion technology. You will ruin them.

If you must clean your shoes, rinse them off and use a toothbrush or a small paintbrush to remove the dirt. Then let them air dry. Take your sock liners out and stuff your shoes with newspaper to absorb moisture faster.

Bring Your Shoes Inside:

Leaving your shoes outside in extreme elements can break them down. Have you ever left your shoes in your car overnight on a frigid evening only to find them frozen the next day? Or left them in your car all day in 100+ degrees (I hope it didn’t smell). Heat can do severe damage to your running shoes (hence don’t put them in the dryer).

Shop Locally:

Why does that matter?

I could write 12 newsletters on why you should shop locally for running shoes but I’ll still to why you should shop locally to extend the life of your running shoes. Local running stores have the “freshest shoes.” They haven’t been sitting in warehouses endlessly waiting for an online order, and the cushion hasn’t been decompressing.

Old models linger in large warehouses for months or even years and have been breaking down. Plus, many local running stores have exchange policies that allow you to try new shoes before being stuck with a pair you dislike.

If you ever need a recommendation for a local running store, you can always reply to the newsletter and I’ll look around for you. In the greater NJ/Philadelphia/De area any of the following will help you out: RunningCo. of Haddonfield, Philly Runner, North Wales, Bryn Mawr, Delaware Running Company, Runners High.

You’ll never get extra years out of your running shoes, but taking a few precautions can get you some extra miles.

What is Keeping Me Entertained:

Ali on the Run Show Episode 162: Allie Ostrander, Professional Runner for Brooks Running

4 Key Pieces of Marathon Training Advice from Jordan Hasay: “Identify your Bigger Picture”

OUR BODIES, OUR RESPONSIBILITY, AND THE MEDIA: I appreciate Amelia Boone's honesty and openness while overcoming her eating disorder.

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