Just like your body needs rest, shoes need rest days as well. When foam gets compressed and sweaty, it needs time to bounce back and dry out. If you have a second pair of shoes, the first pair can “rest” while you use the others. An extra day or two without use helps your shoes to last longer.
Plus, if you use two different models of shoes, the subtle change in stack height or heel-to-toe drop can help work on other running small muscles in your feet and legs.
2. Dry them out
If you run through a rainstorm, a flooded trail or a stream crossing—or you just sweat a lot—you’ll end up with soaked shoes. Like resting your shoes to let the foam decompress, it’s important to let your shoes dry out because wet shoes will start to stink and generally feel gross.
One simple way to dry your running shoes is to remove the insole, set them aside where they can easily dry and stuff the shoes with something absorbent, like newspaper or paper towels. Let them sit for a few hours or overnight, and then remove the paper. You can also let the paper dry out afterward and reuse it several times.
If you don’t subscribe to a newspaper, look for free publications outside the grocery store. Just choose newsprint and not a glossy magazine. Keep a pile of paper on hand for rainy days or if you are an excessive sweater and regularly need to absorb moisture from your shoes.
If your shoes came in the box with paper stuffed in them, keep it! It’s already the perfect size and texture to absorb excess moisture. Your local running store probably has a giant pile they would be thrilled to give you.