Thursday, 5 June 2014

Shoe care

Unless you've got loads of money you are going to want to look after any shoe you buy to prolong it's lifetime. Here's how I do that:

1. If they get muddy I always wash them, either in a stream at the end of a run, or with the hose pipe in the garden. It's important to spend a few minutes giving the shoes a thorough wash. A small stone wedged somewhere will rub the fabric and could eventually lead to a hole forming. Some foot beds have tiny holes in them and mini-pebbles can get lodged in those - that could easily lead to a blister. Mud and peat pressed into fabric will abrade, so washing all the minuscule particles out can reduce that risk.

2. Dry and air shoes every time they are used. Take out the foot beds and dry those separately. Then stuff the shoe with newspaper - push it right down to the toes. I tend to get three pieces of paper in each shoe. For particularly soggy shoes, remove the paper after an hour or so and replace with dry paper. Repeat that every few hours to keep drawing the moisture out of the fabric.

Even if you've not got particularly damp feet on a run, moisture will have come off your feet so shoes should be aired anyway. No newspaper needed if they're virtually dry, just don't shove the shoes in a closed cupboard or bag until your next run.

3. Air dry the shoes away from direct heat - i.e. do not place on a radiator. However tempting it is to dry shoes quickly this will only cause more harm by drying out the fabric and stitching too quickly. Your feet are likely to get wet on a fell run anyway, so putting on damp shoes is something you quickly get used to if you only own one pair! Drying your shoes out naturally allows all the fabrics to dry evenly and they won't have that stiff crispy toasted feeling when you next put them on.

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