6 Tricks to Make Your Sneakers Last Longer

SHAPE magazine
September 6, 2012

by Jessica Smith for SHAPE.com

Make your sneakers last longer with these tips
Make your sneakers last longer with these tips

Good workout shoes are a must--but they can also be expensive. Squeeze more miles out of the kicks you already have with these easy tips:

1. Treat yourself to multiple pairs: You have more than one pair of heels, so why not make room for an extra set of kicks in your closet? Using your sneakers on rotating schedule can double their duration. This is also a great strategy if you do a lot of cross training, as you'll likely want to use different types of sneakers for your various workouts (trail runners for outdoors, cross trainers for weight training, for example).

"Shoes last longer when you rotate two or three pairs for your workouts . Just like people, the foam in shoes needs recovery from workout to workout and giving them a few days of rest allows that foam to return to its normal size and function," says Jason Fitzgerald, a marathon runner and author of 101 Simple Ways to be a Better Runner.

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2. Wick away moisture without heat: Damp shoes are a breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria-plus, no one likes stepping into soggy insoles. Since heat can damage your sneakers, avoid tossing them in the dryer after a rain-soaked run. Instead, dry them out immediately by stuffing them with newspaper, Fitzgerald says. "Replace the newspaper every three to four hours as it absorbs more water ."

3. Dry clean only: "Don't put your shoes in the washing machine. The soaking doesn't help the sole or arch support construction in the slightest," says former shoe store manager Ben Nettleton, now an affiliate director at the Global Healing Center in Houston. To keep the outside of your sneakers squeaky clean, Nettleton recommends investing in athletic shoe foaming cleanser and scrubbing the surface with an old toothbrush. For the insides, try using Gold Bond medicated powder, baking soda, or other similar deodorizing (but dry) products.

4. Get some shoe goo: Seams starting to wear on your running shoes ? Before you toss them, evaluate the damage and consider becoming a 'shoe surgeon,' says Chris Grow, an avid runner in San Diego. Invest in some 'Shoe Goo' ($3.49, Amazon.com) and use it to repair the soles, side panels, or even your shoelace eyelets.

"I've found it doubles as a pre-emptive re-enforcement on the seam areas of my shoe where I get the most wear; [it] can double the usable life of any pair of sneakers ," Grow says.

5. Be exclusive: We're all guilty of wearing our sneakers to run post-workout errands. But if you really want to make your shoes last, switch to another pair before you step outside the gym.

"Only wear your shoes for working out, says Aric Shlifka, co-owner of Kiddles Sports, a sporting goods store that specializes in bikes and running shoes in Lake Forest, Ill. "If you are a runner, only use the shoes for your runs, not for running errands."

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6. Take the time to untie: Are you using proper shoe removal technique? Yes, there's a right and wrong way to take off your sneakers . By stepping on the heel to kick them off without untying, you hardly save any time and wear them out much faster. To avoid stretching or bending your shoes out of shape, take the few extra seconds to untie and remove them by hand.

If you really can't afford to spare tying (and untying) time, use this helpful shoe-tying technique from our friends at FitSugar.

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The 2012 SHAPE Beauty Awards

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