Yes, I said it. There really is a good excuse to buy more running shoes. One of the first things I remember reading when I really started researching running and preventing injuries was the importance of shoe rotation.
Many people, especially if they are just starting out just, pick up a pair of shoes at their local sports or department store. Some people even go to the Nike outlet and get bad advice from the untrained salesperson. I strongly recommend going to a local running shop that will do a gait analysis to see what type of shoe you should run in. For example, while the Brooks Ghost 8 is a great shoe, it might not be the right shoe for your feet. The trained staff at your local running store can get you in a shoe that will reduce your chance of injury. Why would you need more than one pair of shoes though?
Looking at statistics from the various running companies, shoes tend to last anywhere from 300-400 miles before needing to be replaced. After that point they aren’t protecting your feet as much and can increase the risk of injury. By having multiple pairs of shoes you are spreading out the wear and tear on your shoes, making them last longer than they would if you only had one pair. You also allow time for the cushion, which is what’s lessening the impact on your joints, to decompress fully.
While there is a higher up front cost, you will most typically save money in the long run because your shoes will last longer. The best time to buy shoes is when there are holiday sales or they are transitioning to a new model. Altra is currently discontinuing the Instinct 2 because they released the Instinct 3 a few months back. They are selling the Instinct 2’s at over 50% off ($49.00 plus free shipping). You can’t beat that deal. You can also stock up on shoes that you know you already like. Just because one version of a shoe works well for you doesn’t mean that the next release of the same shoe will (i.e. my friend thinks the Instinct 2 is the best shoe that he has ever put on, but he doesn’t like how the Instinct 3 feels. I like the way the Instinct 3 feels better than the Instinct 2).
Running in Multiple pairs of shoes can serve several purposes. It is great to have shoes for specific functions. I like to run in light weight shoes with less cushion for my speed workouts and intervals. I run in more comfortable shoes that weigh a little more and provide more cushion for most of my recovery and easier runs (the bulk of my runs). For my long runs, I like to have something that has a little more cushion. By having different types of shoes, your feet have to work differently. This strengthens the muscles in your legs and feet. This is similar to the benefits of not only running on the road, but mixing in running on gravel, trail running, and even running on the beach. Mixing up both your runs and shoes will help reduce the risk of injury by making you stronger.
I am really lucky to test out running shoes because it allows me to see how many awesome shoes there are out there. I have certain shoes that I like for different purposes. I have been rotating my shoes for quite a while and I feel that it has helped strengthen my legs and feet, which in turn has made me a better runner. I am getting injured less, and I feel that shoe rotation is one of the key reasons why. If you are looking for a good pair of running shoes, take some time and drop by your local running store for a gait analysis. Fleet Feet and RoadRunner Sports are great places to go. You have my permission to tell your significant other that I said you need more running shoes. I have your back!!!
(1) Matt Johnson, Runner Academy, “Rotate Different Running Shoes to Reduce Injury and Improve Performance.” February 18, 2014, https://runneracademy.com/rotate-different-running-shoes/