Keep rolling your ankles when you run? It might be time to start rotating your running shoes

Sneaker heads, rejoice – you no longer need an excuse to add new runners to your collection. There’s actual science behind why you should own more than one pair. It may even save you money in the long run. Here’s why… 

Buying a new pair of running shoes can be tricky, especially if you’re an indecisive soul – there are so many on the market, it can be hard to know which model to go for. As well as needing to choose a pair that suits our foot shape and the type of run we’re about to set off on (fast and short, long and slow, intervals, cross-country… the list is endless), budget also plays a massive role in the shoes we buy.

Given how expensive some running trainers can be, it might sound ridiculous to suggest buying more than one pair. But having multiple sets on rotation can have huge benefits for your body, running abilities, the shoe’s performance and, weirdly enough, your bank account. 

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While adding shoes to your rotation will certainly aid your running, don’t stress if you can’t afford to right now; we’re in a coast of living crisis after all,and if you only run a couple of times a week or less, a daily trainer – an all-rounder shoe that can cover all the main bases – will serve you well.

3 benefits of wearing different running shoes depending on your run

You’re less likely to get injured if you run in multiple pairs of trainers     

In a study of 264 amateur runners, those who used multiple pairs of trainers during training suffered from 39% less running-related injuries than those who stuck to one pair.

“One of the main benefits of rotating shoes is that you eliminate potential muscle imbalances,” explains Anthony Maritato, personal trainer and physiotherapist from ChoosePT1st.

“The slight differences in the shoes actually change the position of your foot when running, so you end up working different muscles and tendons, reducing the chance of overworking and injuring muscles. 

“Running is super repetitive, so it’s easy to pick up injuries when you’re constantly working the exact same muscles and tissues in the same way. Running shoes can dramatically impact the distribution of muscle stress throughout the body.”

Working different muscles on each run will also help make you a stronger runner, allowing you to smash those PBs faster. 

Matching your shoe to your run will help you get the most out of training

Many of us use the same sorry old pair of trainers for our runs, whether we’re hitting the road, a trail or doing sprints or long distances, but it makes sense that different types of runs require different types of shoes.

“Speed workout trainers will be built very differently from long run trainers, which in turn will be different from a shoe you wear on an easy recovery run around the park,” advises Lewis Moses, former British 1500m Champion and World Championships athlete turned running and athletics coach and Incus advisor.

“Different shoes also perform differently under the feet – a racing flat/carbon shoe may help you run faster, so is a better option for interval or race-paced efforts than a bulky mileage shoe.

“If you run on the trails in the UK, which can be very muddy, slippery or rocky, it’s important to have a suitable pair of shoes for this too – road running shoes will be almost useless.” 

If you run loads, you might want to think about owning a few different pairs of trainers.

It prolongs the life of the shoe

Experts reckon that running shoes require around 24-48 hours to recover after being used – when a cushioned sole gets compressed and sweaty, it needs time to rebound and dry out. The midsole protects your joints via shock absorption, so you want this to be at peak performance in order to get the most out of your shoes.

“Cushioned shoes need time to bounce back to their original form to help support your foot,” explains Maritato. 

“So, having at least two pairs of trainers will allow you to feel the full potential of the shoes when you run.”

This will also increase the lifespan of the shoe, adds Moses: “Rotating shoes can help avoid wearing out the tread on a single pair of shoes too quickly.” This can save you money in the long run. Win-win.

The best running trainers for short and long runs

Inspired to get yourself a new pair of runners? “Always try to go for comfort over speed or looks with a new pair of trainers – to help you run most naturally and avoid injury,” advises Moses.

“I would also recommend you check an old pair of trainers for the wear on the sole or get a gait analysis done. Some wearable tech devices, such as the Incus Nova, can assess your landing impact while running and you can use this data to help see where your feet are falling more ‘heavily’. This, in turn, can indicate what type of trainer would support your running style best.

“Certain shoes are better designed for those who run neutrally or those who require more support, so if this is required, it’s best to stick to this type of trainer on your rotation.”

Everyday running shoes

  • New Balance Fresh Foam Arishi v4

    New Balance Fresh Foam Arishi v4, £80

    Featuring a cushioned midsole, breathable mesh upper and durable rubber outsole, this shoe will keep you going on those long, weekend runs.

    Shop New Balance Fresh Foam Arishi v4, £80     

    Buy now

  • Adidas Solarboost 19 shoes

    Adidas Solarboost 19 shoes, £140

    These runners have a breathable mesh upper, responsive cushioning and a stability rail for a smooth stride – perfect for distance runs.

    Shop Adidas Solarboost 19 shoes, £140

    Buy now

Speed running shoes

  • Puma Velocity Nitro 2 Wildwash running shoe

    Puma Velocity Nitro 2 Wildwash running shoe, £100

    This lightweight, sleek shoe will have you speeding through the streets, featuring advanced foam technology for superior responsive cushioning, a removable, cooling insole and a high-traction rubber outsole that’s perfect for any surface.

    Shop Puma Velocity Nitro 2 Wildwash running shoe, £70

    Buy now

  • Under Armour Women’s UA Flow Synchronicity running shoes

    Under Armour Women’s UA Flow Synchronicity running shoes, £115

    Designed to support with women’s feet, these runners have a lightweight, breathable upper, plush sockliner to cradle the foot, and a one-piece midsole for responsive, long-lasting cushioning that will protect your feet and body during sprints.

    Shop Under Armour Women’s UA Flow Synchronicity running shoes, £115

    Buy now

Images: Getty; courtesy of brands

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