Benefits Of Rotating Running Shoes

Posted: December 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

Rotating multiple pairs of running shoes provides two primary benefits:

  • Extended mileage
  • Reduced injury risk

Your running shoes need rest just as you do.  The midsoles of most running shoes is made up of EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) which is an air blown rubber composed of thousands of tiny air bubbles.  The primary purpose of the midsole is to absorb shock and provide cushioning or stability.  The density or durometer of the midsole determines its characteristics or feel.  You place 3-4 times your body weight of force on your lower extremities with every foot strike.  Consider that your feet strike the ground over a thousand times per mile, multiplied by the mileage of each run and that’s a considerable about of force.

This force compresses and weakens these microscopic air bubbles.  It can take up to 48 hours after a run for the midsoles to expand back to their full resiliency and regain their shock absorbing capabilities.  If you run consistently, wearing only one pair of running shoes can prematurely exhaust the midsole.  Rotating just two pairs of running shoes will outlast the life of 3 pairs worn separately.  While purchasing multiple pairs of running shoes can be expensive, it’s far more economical in the long run!

Training in multiple shoes can also help to decrease the risk of injury.  Injuries can occur when training in only one pair of shoes because your lower extremities become accustomed to the gait cycle.  Going from a completely exhausted pair of running shoes (approximately 400+ miles) to a brand new pair can be too much of a radical change and places unnecessary stress on your lower extremities-often resulting in injury.  Rotating multiple pairs of shoes prevents your legs from being accustomed to just one range of motion, even if you’re running in multiple pairs of the same model.

If you are a neutral runner you can run in any genre or running shoe (i.e. motion control, stability, minimalist, lightweight trainer, etc.).  If you need stability or motion control, it isn’t advisable to also run in any of the aforementioned categories.  Many runners prefer a softer or more cushioned shoes for runs beyond 10 miles and firmer, lighter weight shoes for shorter distances.

I recommend noting in your running journal the shoes you wear for each run.  This allows you to track the mileage and reduce or avoid injury by proactively replacing shoes at the end of their lifecycle.

Make the investment and rotate at least two pairs of shoes and you will be rewarded with extended life (mileage) in your shoes and reduce the risk of injury…two priorities of every runner!

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