By: the Mizuno Shoe Guy
There’s absolutely no question that running in winter is not only more difficult and arduous it’s also much harder on your shoes. The cold temps, wet conditions and often salt-crusted roads and sidewalks all take a toll on your shoes—unless you take proper care of your Mizunos.
Sub-freezing temperatures harden the midsoles and continually running in damp, salty shoes will lead to mildew and shorten the life of your shoes. Aside from the economics of buying a new pair of shoes every month, there’s nothing worse than going for a morning run in shoes that are still wet and smelly from the day before.
While there isn’t anything you can do about running in cold temps that firm up the midsoles (other than running on a treadmill), there’s plenty you can do to ensure that your shoes are dry and free of salt and odors for the next day’s run.
Suffice it to say, running in wet weather, your shoes will get soaked by rain, snow and slush puddles. That’s a given. Somewhat surprisingly, what isn’t a given is doing something as common sense as completely drying your shoes immediately after a run.
Once you’ve completed a wet run which has saturated your shoes, follow these simple steps on how to dry your running shoes:
– Remove the shoe’s insoles (or sockliners) and allow to dry.
– Loosen the laces.
– Pull the tongue up and forward to allow air to circulate through the shoes.
– If there’s salt on the roads and sidewalks, take a hand brush and remove as much as possible.
– Stuff the shoes with balled-up newspaper or paper towels to soak up the moisture.
– Place the shoes in a dry, indoor spot, either in front of a floor heater, radiator or even a fan. Don’t place the shoes too close to the heat source or fan.
The warm air will flow in and through the shoe’s fabric and dry the shoes quickly. Certainly, the shoes will completely dry overnight, but if you have another run scheduled later in the day, a second pair of shoes is recommended.
Other things to remember when drying shoes:
– Never dry running shoes in a clothes dryer. (The high heat can damage the glue which holds the shoes together. The heat can also weaken the upper and cause it to crack.)
– Don’t stick a hair dryer into your shoes for extended time. You can use a hair dryer for a minute or two for quick drying, but too much heat is damaging to the shoes—and will ruin the dryer.
– Don’t leave wet running shoes in a gym bag or locker overnight. They won’t dry at all.
Once your shoes are properly dried and ready for your next run, it’s also important how you store your shoes. Why this matters in the winter is if you leave your shoes outside, freezing temperatures will firm and harden the midsoles of your shoes and reduce the shoe’s life.
Because of those cold temps, it is imperative that you don’t store your running shoes in unheated areas such as a car, garage or porch (or outside). Instead, simply keep your shoes in the house or office or any room temperature environment where there is circulating air. That way your shoes will be dry and ready for your next run.
If it’s extremely cold outside, a quick shot of hot air from a hair dryer into the shoes and your socks will warm things up. Your feet won’t stay toasty very long, but it’s better to start a cold winter run with warm shoes and socks.
There’s not much you can do about the wet winter conditions, other than take pride in the fact that not even lousy, inclement weather will keep you from running outside.