Did you ever pull out a pair of barely used running shoes that had been lying in your closet for months, and then gasp at the sight of it flaking, or worse, the heel completely peeling off as you walk? It happens even to the best sneaker brands, CGs! Most shoe companies and athletes recommend replacing workout shoes—whether it’s for running, hiking, or other sports—every 300-500 miles, but there are ways to keep your favorite pair in tiptop shape a little longer.
1. Take it off properly. That childhood habit of forcibly kicking off your sneakers without undoing the laces isn’t good for your shoes. Even if you’re tired or in a rush, loosen the laces properly before taking off your shoes.
2. Clean before storing. Never store dirty or muddy shoes. For light grime, rub it off with a damp cloth and let the shoe dry before storing. For more stubborn mud, brush it off with an old toothbrush and warm water mixed with laundry detergent. Rinse and let the shoes air-dry before storing.
3. Keep it dry. Storing damp shoes will cause the material to flake, mold, or crumble. When your shoes get wet, don’t be tempted to place it in direct heat like the dryer or radiator. The best way to dry it out is to loosen the laces, take out the insoles, and let it air dry, even if it takes hours to a day. For faster drying, place a crumpled newspaper inside. [via: About.com Running & Jogging]
4. Don’t put it in the washing machine. You will find many online articles that teach you how to wash your sneakers in the washing machine, but please don’t! It will damage the canvas and cause the stitching to come loose. [via: Men’s Health]
5. Store it in a cool, dry place. Whether you prefer keeping the pair in its original box or in the closet shelf, make sure it gets some air circulation and is away from moisture and heat. You know those silica gel packs that come with retail goods? Don’t throw them away. Keep the unopened packs in your closet or shoebox to wick away moisture, foul smell, and bacteria. Just make sure you keep the silica gel away from pets or kids.
6. Alternate your shoes. If you run or work out almost every day, rotate between two pairs of shoes. Your favorite pair will last longer if you give it a day or two to rest, decompress, and dry out before the next workout.
7. Use it only for exercise. Not only is it a fashion no-no to use your gym shoes for non-athletic purposes, but wearing it daily will also shorten its lifespan.
8. Know when it’s time to let go. The rule of thumb is to replace your athletic shoes every 300 to 500 miles, depending on your body weight, level of activity, and the surface on which you run or work out. Aside from obvious signs such as peeling soles and crumbling material, your own body is a good gauge on the condition of your shoes. If you've been feeling more muscle fatigue after working out, pain in your joints, uncomfortable knees while running, and even shin splints, then that could be a sign that your shoes no longer have adequate cushioning.