Chances are, you haven’t taken the time to care for your workout shoes in a while. We tend to think we can hang onto the same pair of running shoes for years on end, or that there’s no need to clean the pair of shoes that get splattered with mud if we run through a puddle after a rainstorm. But what about when your shoes get worn down and you start experiencing pain? Or you need to wear your running shoes to an indoor HIIT class but don’t want to destroy the gym floor? What if your shoes just smell, uh, not fresh?
If you’re experiencing pain during or after your workouts
If you start to develop shin splints, you’ll know. There’s no mistaking that ongoing pain that ranges from a dull ache to a sharp pang that can make even walking nearly unbearable. We often meet shin splints with frustration, worrying that we’ll need to take a lot of time off from working out or that the injury will reappear as soon as we start again. You will probably need to take at least a bit of time off to heal shin splints, depending on how severe they are, but the good news is that this type of injury often stems from keeping your running shoes for too long. You can easily fix this by buying a new pair. The general rule of thumb is that you should replace running shoes once you’ve run 300–500 miles in them. If you don’t track your miles but run regularly, you can guess that you should go through at least two pairs of running shoes per year. If you notice that the soles of your shoes are wearing down and you start to see that the bottom of your shoe is creased and compressed, it’s time to consider buying a new pair.
If you need to clean your shoes for an indoor workout (or you just want them to look nice)
Clap the bottoms of your shoes together and scrape away excess dirt with an old toothbrush. Then, place your shoelaces in a laundry bag and run them through the washing machine. It’s safe to run most running shoes through the washing machine as well, just as long as you have the time to let them dry. If you want to wash the shoes more gently, mix detergent and water in a bowl and scrub the shoes with an old rag or cloth. Let the shoes air dry indoors, so they won’t experience a yellow discoloration that the sun can produce.
If your shoes need to freshen up
You can try the cleaning method above, but if you don’t want to wait to let your shoes dry, there are a few tricks you can try. You can opt for traditional deodorizers and sprays, but an easy, natural fix is to add a tea bag or two to each shoe. Choose a fresh scent, like peppermint tea. The teabags will absorb the scent in the shoes, leaving your running shoes smelling fresh once again.
If you work out regularly, your running shoes are some of the most frequently used items you own. Taking care of them pays off.