My current rotation of running shoes includes all of the following:
Saucony Triumph ISO 2 (for long or easy runs)
Saucony Zealot and Nike Pegasus 32 (for race warmups, tempos runs, or a daily run)
Saucony A6 (for workouts, races)
Occasionally the Asics Quantum for recovery runs when I want to feel nothing because they are ultra-cushioned shoes.
Hoka One One Speedgoat Midi (for trail running)
As you can see, I use and alternate six pairs of running shoes. There isn’t a single running shoe that can do every run, race, and, workout. I wouldn’t want to do a long run in a racing flat, and I would prefer not to race in a trainer. Plus I have an old pair of running shoes for cross-training.
That leads to one of the most common running gear questions:
Should you train in multiple pairs of running shoes?
The answer is yes it’s a good idea! No single shoe can serve the purpose of all of your training needs. Plus having multiple pairs of running shoes in your shoe rotation can extend the life of a shoe and help to prevent overuse injury.
Rotating through two pairs of the same running shoe will prolong the lifespan of the shoe, but you will still be working the same muscles.
How does alternating running shoes reduce overuse injury?
By rotating through a few pairs of running shoes, your gait and running form will change slightly in each pair of shoes. In every pair of shoe, your foot strikes the ground differently because the cushioning of each brand and each shoe varies from shoe to shoe.
Your muscles will work slightly differently in different running shoes which will cause different muscles to become stronger. Your body won’t get used to running in the same thing and it helps prevent injury (it doesn’t always though). It will also create fewer overuse issues because you’ll be using different muscles.
How does alternating running shoes extend the life of a training shoe?
If you use the same shoe daily, the cushioning will continue to compress. The cushioning or foam will break down instead of bouncing back to recover. Having multiple shoes allows each pair to have their own “rest days” even if you don’t take rest days. The average running shoe lasts about 400 miles but there is no exact number. Racing flats usually last less while many trail shoes last longer.
An important thing to note about rotating shoes:
It’s great to rotate through several pairs of shoes, but you should be rotating shoes that are still fit and appropriate for your foot type. Using a very stable shoe and a minimal shoe could multiply your ability to get injured versus reducing it. Make sure that the shoes you are using are compatible with you. Not every running shoe works for every person.