There’s not much that feels as satisfying and free as slipping into your favorite running clothes, lacing up your shoes and hitting the trail, road or track. One of the last things runners want to think about is whether their clothes look shabby, smell bad or are unraveling at the seams. It seems to be a necessary evil of any workout regime: the stench coming from the laundry basket, filled with layer upon layer of wet, stinky running clothes.
Like anyone else, most runners don’t particularly enjoy the laundry that stacks up (quickly) after a week’s worth of pounding pavement. By the end of the week, the mountain of clothes can be a rewarding visual cue of the miles covered and a sign that it’s time to do some laundry.
No matter what brand is on the label in your favorite shirt, short or sock, there’s likely been an investment in high quality performance gear that you’ll want to take care of so they last run after run, after run. Here’s our five best recommendations to get the most miles from your favorite running gear, while avoiding any embarrassing situations.
1. Read the labels
Don’t assume that everything goes in the same water temperature or cycle in the washing machine. Manufacturers know their materials and will offer recommendations to protect them. When in doubt, cold or cool water is usually best.
2. Line them up
The heat from your dryer can break down the elasticity in fabrics like lycra and spandex, bake in odor and shrink some fabrics. Air drying your running clothes on a clothesline outdoors or a rack inside is always best. Shake out the wrinkles, and hang them up to dry.
3. Mind your materials
Start with buying quality fabrics and keep them together in the wash. Keep heavy fabrics like towels, denim and thick cotton out of the load with your technical workout clothes that can get crushed and damaged.
4. Do less laundry
Have you ever really thought about the lint that comes out of your dryer? That lint is your beloved clothes slowly degrading. Fact is: the less you wash your clothes, the less wear and tear you’ll see. Prevent stink in between washings with anti-odor fabric treatments like deFUNKit and stinky shoes with the shoe deodorizer.
5. Give your shoes a break
It’s tempting to spend all day in your supportive, comfortable running shoes but it’s best to let them air out between runs so they can bounce back to shape. Keep them out of the dryer, though, where the heat can damage the glue that holds them together.
With a little extra TLC, your most comfortable, high-performing running clothes and shoes can look great, smell fresh and last longer.