How Alternating Running Shoes Benefits Your Running

How Alternating Running Shoes Benefit Your Running

After working in run specialty for so long, one of the most common questions is: “Does Alternating Running Shoes Benefit Your Running”?

The short answer is, you don’t need to do anything… 

How Alternating Running Shoes Benefit Your Running

But this post isn’t about the short answer.

The longer answer:

Alternating running shoes can benefit your running. It doesn’t matter if you are training for a 5k, a marathon, or even an ultra marathon.

Keep in mind that your injury rate does go up if you don’t alternate the right running shoes.  Every running shoe is made for a different foot type, and if you alternate the wrong shoes (for your feet), you will get injured. You can learn more about running shoes in my ebook.

There are very few situations you should rotate a stable and neutral running shoe together.  Make sure that the running shoes you’ve chosen are correct for your particular gait and feet.  Every shoe is good for someone, but there is no “best shoe.”   I cannot stress how important it is to go to your local Running Store and get your feet analyzed. 

How Does Alternating Running Shoes Benefit Your Running?

Alternating Running Shoes Increases Durability of the Running Shoe:

Well, yes, having two pairs of running shoes means you use the shoe less frequently, but it also means your shoe has time to recover from each run. Shoes need recovery too? With every run, the technology in your running shoe compresses a little bit. By allowing the shoe to sit for a day, it will recover minutely.

So why does alternating running shoes extend the life of the running shoe? If you give shoes 1-2 days to “recover,”  the midsole materials don’t continuously compress.  Like a sponge, they fluff or bounce back closer to their original state.

It does naturally cost more to buy two shoes; you are getting more for your money.  Ask your running store if they give a discount for buying two shoes.

Different Running Shoes are Made for Different Types of Runs:

As someone who has multiple pairs of shoes for different activities, this is important. Take the Hoka Bondi versus the Nike Alphafly. They are made for different types of runs!  The Hoka Bondi is made for easy runs. It has plenty of cushion to keep your body happy. The Nike Alphafly is made for racing. If you run too many weekly miles in the Alphafly, you might find yourself injured, or the shoe won’t last more than a few weeks. Racing in the Hoka Bondi is fine, but you’ll run faster in other shoes. Alternating running shoes will benefit your running because you’ll run differently in different types of shoes.

Every shoe has a time and place.

Plus use an old running shoe model for cross-training allows your current training shoes to last longer.

By alternating running shoes and having different types of shoes for different workouts, you’ll get the most out of each pair.

Alternating Running Shoes Can Help Decrease Injury: 

As I mentioned above, this only works if you do it correctly!  While alternating running shoes is not a magical way to prevent injuries, you can decrease your injury risk by alternating running shoes.

Stress fractures happen from doing the same thing day in and day out.  If you run the same route, in the same shoes, every day, you are more prone to an injury.

Choosing different brands or models to alternate allows your body and feet to work differently. It can be enough that it can decrease the stress put on any given area of your body.

Should You Alternate the Same Exact Style of Running Shoe or Different Brands?

Alternating running shoes will benefit your running because two of the same style allows each shoe to have a longer life span.

Alternating different running shoes allows each shoe to have a longer lifespan, plus your foot will work differently in each shoe.  You’ll be less susceptible to injury by alternating different types or brands of shoes.

It’s just fun.  This isn’t a scientific fact, but alternating running shoes is just fun. 

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Questions for you:
Which shoes are in your shoe rotation?
Have a question about shoes?  Ask below!


  1. I rotate between Brooks Ghost for most of my runs, and Newtons for my long runs (which is also what I race in).

    But it’s about time to go to the running store and get refitted . . .

  2. I feel like if you wear different shoes for workouts vs. easy/long/recovery days, this naturally happens too. I wouldn’t want to race a 5K or run 800m intervals around a track in the same shoes I wear for say, a 16 miler. I talked to the manager at my LRS about this when I got my orthotic made and told her about how many pairs of shoes I alternate. I wondered if that may have something to do with my injury. She said she doesn’t see any more injuries than usual from people who say they alternate (assuming none of those people are alternating say, the Brooks Beast and Saucony A6 here… lol).

    I will say though, coming back from injury, I have been wearing the same shoes mainly because all my miles are easy and I want to wear a shoe with a higher drop so my calves aren’t working as hard. When I start running more and doing workouts, I will pull out other shoes.

  3. I have three shoes that I am currently rotating all are the same type of shoe. I need newer shoes soon. The older shoes have 1,200 miles, then its 700 and 400 miles each for the other two pair. I need a little money to replace the shoes so I have to sell my plasma for a while longer to get the extra money.

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