Running is a great way to stay fit, and to also satisfy your competitive nature if racing is your thing. Whether it’s a 5K or full-blown marathon, the goal of lowering that running time with each race is an added motivator to stay fit and also keep it fun. But if you’re a runner then few things are more important than the shoes you run in. The mileage can add up fast, but so can the bucks when having to buy pair after pair so it never hurts to find ways to make those favorite shoes last as long as they can. While it’s important to run in good shoes and replace them when needed, there are a few simple techniques to insure you’ll get the longest life possible out of them.

Running shoes

Only Use Them for Running

First and foremost, decide never to wear those comfy running shoes for anything but your runs. This confines them to only the mileage you’ll put on them while running and that way it’ll be easier to track when it’s time for new ones. Running shoes normally last from 350-400 miles per pair, so make a note when they’re first purchased and log the mileage. Secondly, invest in a second pair and alternate between two pairs every time you run. This will keep each pair fresher and help prevent them from wearing out as fast when one pair can dry out from moisture while you use the second pair.

Always Dry Your Running Shoes

After every run, make sure to let the shoes dry out. Don’t keep them stuffed in a gym bag or closet and if they get wet from rain, remove the insoles and loosen the laces so they can dry out faster. Resist all urges to throw wet shoes in the dryer to dry them out. This will only break down the leather faster and those shoes won’t last as long as they should. And speaking of drying, avoid throwing running shoes in the washing machine too; they’re not meant to be submerged in water, so instead use a scrub brush and some mild soap for any spot cleaning needed.

Try to find a spot for your running shoes that you always keep them in that has good circulation and is away from air vents and heat. This will keep them from breaking down from those elements. For example, resist the urge to keep the shoes in the trunk of your car until the next work out. If it’s summertime, the heat will practically destroy them.

Use an Athletic Shoe Support Insert

Lastly, add an athletic shoe support insert at the halfway point of the shoe’s life. The arch support and cushioning is one of the first things to break down, and adding an insert can make your shoes feel brand new. The supports are available at most drugstores or larger department stores, but make sure to get one engineered for running or athletic shoes. They usually have added arch support and gel inserts made to take the pounding that a running shoe experiences. The inserts are easy to cut to make fit any shoe and then just slip it under your shoe’s insert, and then replace the insert back over it.

Dean Nason is a fitness enthusiast who writes for Hive Health Media.  He enjoys writing about topics ranging from weight loss tips to natural treatments for arthritis.