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Running Shoe Rotation. Regular Runners, Why it Makes Sense to Have More Than 1 Pair.

Updated: Mar 23

running shoe rotation

If you start to run regularly, say greater than 3 times per week it makes sense to get a second pair of running shoes. Rotating running shoes isn't just a luxury, it’s a smart strategy that can enhance your running experience and overall performance.

 

Multiple Shoes to Prevent Injury. By alternating between different styles of shoes, you reduce the repetitive stress on specific muscles and joints. This variance strengthens a wider range of muscle groups, leading to more balanced strength and stability.


Fresh Shoes Prolong Lifespan. If you are running back to back days you can feel the difference in how the shoe foam is impacted, especially after a long run. Alternating between shoes allows the shoes to recover. Running shoes have a lifespan, typically measured in miles. When you rotate between two or more pairs you distribute the wear and tear and extending their longevity. While you may feel that you are having to spend twice, this means you won't have to replace your favourite shoes as frequently, saving you money in the long run.


Enhanced Performance. Different shoes cater to different types of runs, various terrains and weather conditions. For instance, you might have a lightweight, breathable pair for hot weather running and a more durable pair for rainy or winter days. You might have a lighter speed session or race shoes versus a more durable, more padded daily trainer. Running on trails will require a shoe with more traction and protection.


Mental Boost. Having multiple pairs of running shoes can also provide a mental boost. The excitement of wearing a new pair can reignite your motivation and enthusiasm for running. It’s like having a fresh start every time you lace up, enhancing your mental focus and determination.

 
Trail Daily Speed Running Shoes
Left to Right 1. Trail shoes 2. Training, agility & strength work 3. Hard effort runs 4. Easy effort runs

Investing in more than one pair of running shoes isn’t a luxury; it’s a wise choice for any dedicated runner. The benefits extend beyond comfort; they can influence your long-term running journey and health.


  • I have 2 pairs of daily running shoes, both actually the same trusted brand and style. My yellow pair, currently the older version of the two, are for regular easy day running. I tend to use my red pair for interval, HIIT and tempo sessions. My mental boost!

  • When it is time to get a new pair, I just buy the older version of the shoe. Unless the reviews say that the latest version is radically different (that is, worse) it is unlikely that the shiny new version will provide significantly more benefit. The old model can be substantially cheaper than buying the ‘new & improved’ model and can offset the cost of running with more than one pair of shoes.

  • I have a pair of dedicated trail running shoes, essential for our local forest paths.

  • I have a pair of low stack, minimally padded shoes for my strength workouts, to run short distances, circuit training etc. My normal running shoes are good for running but not for the balance and agility required for calisthenics or movement based, functional workouts.

  • In hot and sweaty Singapore, a 2nd pair of shoes allow me to wash and dry my shoes. The build up of sweat and salt is surprising. It is important to stay hydrated and, especially for runners, to measure and address hydration in our tropical climate.

 

If you are running regularly and getting in the mileage remember, a second pair of shoes is an investment in your running success. Build up your running volume gradually, have a plan, rotate your shoes and enjoy the miles ahead.


Happy shopping, er… running!


Alastair

 

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Related Studies


Agresta C, Giacomazzi C, Harrast M, Zendler J. Running Injury Paradigms and Their Influence on Footwear Design Features and Runner Assessment Methods: A Focused Review to Advance Evidence-Based Practice for Running Medicine Clinicians. Front Sports Act Living. 2022 Mar 9;4:815675. doi: 10.3389/fspor.2022.815675. PMID: 35356094; PMCID: PMC8959543.


Relph N, Greaves H, Armstrong R, Prior TD, Spencer S, Griffiths IB, Dey P, Langley B. Running shoes for preventing lower limb running injuries in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2022 Aug 22;8(8):CD013368. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD013368.pub2. PMID: 35993829; PMCID: PMC9394464.


Malisoux L, Ramesh J, Mann R, Seil R, Urhausen A, Theisen D. Can parallel use of different running shoes decrease running-related injury risk? Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2015 Feb;25(1):110-5. doi: 10.1111/sms.12154. Epub 2013 Nov 28. PMID: 24286345.


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