A recent study done by the University of Arizona found that the average pair of shoes had 2,887 units of bacteria on the inside and a massive 421,000 units on the outside. Added to this is the additional sweat from running, and soon your shoes can become damp, smelly and extremely uncomfortable. Keeping your shoes clean and dry is essential for your comfort, otherwise, they can rub, causing chafing and blisters, and making you sore. If they are not clean, the bacteria can also cause a host of other problems including athletes’ feet and fungal infections. Fortunately, there are simple ways that you can look after your running shoes so that they are comfortable every single time you wear them.
Washing your shoes
Regularly washing your running shoes will prevent them from getting smelly. Putting your shoes in the washing machine is one of the simplest ways to get them clean. You shouldn’t just throw them straight into the drum however, first you should carefully remove any laces and insoles. Put these in a pillowcase or a separate bag – this will prevent the laces from getting tangled too. Place your shoes in another bag and tie this up tightly. When you put your shoes in the washing machine, throw in a few old towels in the machine too, so that your shoes aren’t bumping around in the drum. Wash your shoes on the lowest speed and temperature setting possible – this will prevent them from shrinking. After they come out of the machine, fill your shoes with kitchen paper and leave them to dry naturally – never put them in the dryer.
Keeping your shoes dry
Wet and damp places are a breeding ground for bacteria, which is why you should make sure that your running shoes are given time to dry out in between each run. When you get home, remove the insoles and stuff your shoes with newspaper. If you push the newspaper right down into the toes of your shoes, it will help them to retain their shape, so that they remain comfortable for longer. It takes around 48 hours for the foam in your shoes to properly decompress after a run, so it is advisable to use a second pair if you are going out running before then.
Storing your shoes
Running shoes should be treated like a bottle of fine wine and given plenty of space to breathe when you store them. Don’t just throw them into the cupboard with a load of other shoes, and certainly don’t put anything on top of your running shoes, as they are very pliable and will easily get crushed. When you put your shoes away, sprinkle a little baking soda into them – this will help them to stay smelling fresh and dry.
If you look after your running shoes, they will stay comfortable and also support your feet better. With some good TLC, you could get as many as 500 miles out of your shoes too.