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Rotating Running Shoes

Posted by George Parker on
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How often do you rotate running shoes during the week? What if doing so could help your running and stay off injury?


I was in a Facebook group this past weekend. Someone had asked a question and her question was, she said that she was doing hill repeats as part of her training program. And I guess magically on the course as she's running a running coach showed up, this kind of sounds like the beginning of of a joke, but it's not. And the running coach said to her, Hey, you should wear different shoes when you're doing your hill repeats. You should put on not your trainers. You should put on your racing flats. So you feel lighter and you can run up the hills. And she was asking the group was that a good idea, and there's a lot of comments on both sides. And I should mention that I am the furthest thing away from a running coach. I'm just a running enthusiast who has opinions.

And a lot of people said, yeah, you should put on your racing flats. It'll make you speedier, make you quicker, help your turnover. And that's what you want. You're running your Hills sprints. And I think there's good advice there. But what I said to her was, I said, Hey, you should actually keep your trainers on because in my experience, one of the harder parts about hill repeats is the banging of going down the hills when you're constantly then, if you have a good grade, you're going back and your legs are pounding as you go downhill. And having a cushion trainer for that is really going to help you to make sure your legs don't get hurt too much. And if you're going up the hill in the first place, it's not like you're going all that fast.

You're running hard. It's simulating it's speed workout, but you're not getting a ton of speed out of it. And so I thought you're probably better off protecting your legs. But what it got me to thinking was the idea of rotating your shoes throughout training. And what I mean by that is one of the things that I had think has helped me a lot is wearing multiple shoes during a training block. And that means that if I look at my current training now, I'm working through, I believe four pair of shoes. I have two types of trainers. I have HOKA Cliftons and I have the Brooks Ghost. And those are both cushioned neutral trainers that I wear for my easy runs outside. Just to put a lot of miles in with a lot of cushion, I have found has helped me and it helped my legs.

And so I rotate to those shoes. Each one of those is different. And so each one of them feels to me like it's recruiting different ankle muscles as I run, which I feel like overall is going to help my running by rotating shoes. I never quite get used to. You have to rotate them in. Along with the two trainer shoes, I have a pair of racing flats that I'll pull out maybe today, but I pull out on speed days, legitimate speed days, track workouts, really fast runs. These are light, no cushion, very little drop in the shoe. And those are fun too. You feel very fast when you wear them, but there's not a lot of cushion and so your legs can get very much beaten up. And the last pair of shoes I have is that I have a pair of the carbon plate shoes that I like to wear on long progression runs that I hope to one day race in to set a fast time because I'm a old guy.

I don't care about the metrics of it anymore. I just want to get the best times that I can with the technology available. So I rotate those shoes. And the point of that is, is that each one of them recruit different elements of your running legs and your running muscles. And that can only help you because when you're looking to prevent injury, as you're building up mileage, anything you can do to strengthen your leg muscles, including just the small stabilizing muscles is going to be helpful and wearing different running shoes constantly keeps the muscles in your feet and in your ankle having to adapt to get stronger as they experience stimulus. And that could only help you as you advance in your running. That's it. Hope you guys all have a great running day.


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