Do you need a second shoe?

Author: By Steve “The Footman” Manning Founder of intraini  

Even shoes need a rest day!

It’s a fact! You need to alternate running shoes to let them recover.  

Read on to find out why this is important for you as a runner.   

A general rule of thumb should be to purchase a new set of running shoes at least once a year. If you are doing 20km or less a week of running, then one pair of shoes a year may suffice. If you are a regular runner or training for the longer events, then you should be looking at having at least 2 pairs of shoes on the go at any given time.

These shoes should not be identical and should be purchased at different times.  It’s a good idea to  dedicate these to specific training sessions.

Have two different shoes

Running is a very repetitive movement performed in a relatively limited range of motion and for extended periods of time. Some chronic injuries can develop simply from the foot being in the same structured and shaped shoe for every run. Using a different running shoe during the week creates different stresses on the feet.

This reduces the chance of a repetitive strain injury. The second shoe can have the same type of features, but will mould slightly differently to the foot allowing very subtle changes to the muscle use. E.g. High mileage runners

Plastic memory

There is a theory that plastic deformation occurs to the cushioning compound following each run. It's a well known fact that running exerts 5-8 times your body weight and a significant amount of ground reaction force occurs with each step. Deformation is bound to occur to the cushioning. Rotating the shoes you use allows this cushioning to recover ready for the next use

Use lighter weight shoes for speed and races

When you run faster your running form becomes more coordinated and efficient. You don't need to have the same amount of support & cushioning under your feet. In fact, the more you have, the faster 

you are likely to fatigue. Light weight running shoes, racer trainers, and racing shoes are all designed to allow easier flow of our running, with little effort at toe off. E.g. light weight trainer/racers


Choosing a shoe should be related to the surface on which you run. Trail running shoes are a classic example of being specifically designed for the more rugged terrain. The outsole has more tread than road running shoes to cope with the mud & rocks, and the midsole is usually lower to the ground so the foot can adapt more quickly to the changing surface. Track runners need to be in more flexible shoes in order to cope with the constant circular motion. Wearing a chunky midsole while doing speed on the track, significantly hinders the foots ability to move. Similarly, cross country shoes need to be light weight and more flexible, again

to cope with the uneven surface and more frequent turns.

When do you buy the second shoe?

If you are considering a second shoe for training, and your main reason is to vary what you wear, purchase the shoe 1-2 months after the first. This means that you should never be caught out with an old pair of shoes.

How do you know which shoe to buy?

The shoe you choose depends on what you are wanting it for.  

A big tip is to go for a lighter one.  You will love that faster feel for your speed sessions, park runs and races.  Most importantly, come in and try them out.  Our running team at intraining Running Centre are knowledgeable and know which ones will complement your current running shoe range.

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