How to Make Your Tennis Shoes Last

Here are simple tricks and tips for extending the life of your athletic shoes.

Athletic shoes can be very expensive, and all of us would like for them to last much longer than they do. Unfortunately, between the daily wear and frequent laundering, they do eventually fall apart and unlike our patent leather shoes, can not be repaired.

There are a few tricks that can help extend the life of your shoes; the most important is wearing the right one for the job.

For those of us who work out at the gym, jog a track, or play basketball, we own a pair of athletic shoes for that particular sport in mind. As long as they are only worn when exercising, they will last much, much longer. Considering that specialized athletic shoes can cost upwards of $70 and more, it doesn't make sense to wear these to the grocery store or out mowing the lawn.

For those tasks, a cheap pair of sneakers will do. The same logic can be applied to our children's sport shoes. After a track meet or basketball game, have them slip into a pair of inexpensive canvas sneakers and save the wear and tear on the good ones.

Along this same principal, rotating athletic shoes is another way to extend their life. Once those sports or walking shoes are too worn for working out, turn them into play or yard shoes instead. By setting aside one pair strictly for outside play or work, you save the wear and tear on the rest.

But, no matter how well you've cared for your shoe, halfway through its life the insole begins to break down and the laces start to separate. Before relegating them to yard duty, why not consider switching out the insoles and laces? For between $8 to $20, a replacement insole can be purchased from any shoe department and new laces are less than $4. With a new insoles and laces, athletic shoes will be good for many more additional months.

Even harder than ordinary wear and tear on shoes, is laundering them. Laundering athletic shoes breaks down the components of the shoe, and leaves them looking somewhat shapeless. For discount shoes, the paint can even fleck off parts of the uppers, making them look worse than before.

For shoes that are smelly, sprinkle the insides with baking soda instead, and set them outside in the direct sunlight to deodorize the natural way. However, if your shoes are so gross on the outside that they must be laundered, it's really best to wash them by hand using a scrub brush and mild detergent.

To dry them, set your shoes near a vent or in a sunny window. Air drying is the best way to dry any shoe, whether it's wet from perspiration, a sudden rain storm, or fresh out of the wash. To dry shoes the proper way, remove the insert or sole and stuff the inside of the shoe with paper towels or newsprint. After a few hours, replace the paper towels with dry ones, and set aside until completely dry.

There is no magic solution to making those expensive athletic shoes last for years and years. However, by wearing the right shoe for the job, and limiting the times they are laundered will prolong their life by a considerable degree.