I had a conversation with a running friend of mine a few months after I started running that would change the way I thought about running shoes forever. That conversation brought to light the idea of having several pairs of running shoes and what the benefits were. To be honest, I never even thought about owning multiple pairs until then.
I don’t have a big shoe budget and am fortunate to people close to me that have hooked me up. I started with a pair of Nike Pegasus 29’s and then transitioned to the Mizuno Prophesy 2’s. Mizuno shoes tend to fit my feet better and have a little more cushioning. I also have a pair of Mizuno Precision 13’s, which is more minimal shoe. I have retired the Pegasus but run in the Prophesy’s for my longer and easy runs and my Precisions for my speed work and races. So, why should you rotate your shoes?
A typical pair of shoes is made to last from 300-400 miles before you will need to replace them. When you run, you exert about 1.5 to 3 times your body weight on the shoes. The foam that cushions your feet gets compressed when you run and having multiple pairs of shoes will allow 48 hours (or longer) for the foam to decompress completely. If you don’t allow this to occur, you will actually be increasing the risk of injury because you are not getting the full protection that your shoes were designed to provide. The shoes will not last as long either if you do not allow full decompression to occur.
I know what you are thinking, “I will cost so much more to buy multiple shoes.” This is the case in the very beginning, but you can look at it a different way as well. Your shoes will last twice as long so you will not actually be spending more money in the long run. You can actually buy multiple pairs of shoes when they go on sale to save even more money. Running companies usually have huge sales a few times a year, especially when the new shoes come out.
Another key reason to run in multiple shoes is that you can purchase different types of shoes that will be beneficial for different types of runs. I use my Precision13’s for speed workouts and races because they are lighter and have less cushioning. I use my Prophesy’s for longer and easy runs. If you always wore the same type of shoes you feet would get used to them. If you run in multiple types of shoes, they will strengthen your feet in different way, simulating running on different surfaces, thus reducing the risk of injury.
With so many different types of shoes available, it is also good to try different shoe brands. I am going to be buying a pair of Altra Instinct 2.0 shoes in the near future. They offer a zero drop shoe that is cushioned and have a wide toe box to allow your toes to spread out naturally. I can’t wait to add them to my rotation. Please let me know what your favorite type of shoe is and how many pairs you have.