Why Runners Need Multiple Kinds of Running Shoes

Kristan Dietz
by Kristan Dietz
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Why Runners Need Multiple Kinds of Running Shoes

The first thing most new runners do is search for the perfect pair of running shoes. Unfortunately owning just one set of shoes might not cut it. Your running arsenal should include a collection of shoes that are ready for any type of distance or terrain. This could be the key to keeping runners running fast and injury-free.

WHY YOU NEED MORE THAN ONE TRAINER

If you found the perfect shoe that is comfortable and supportive over many miles, it’s a good idea to stock up on them. Yes, buy two pairs of the same shoe. Switching between trainers can extend the life of your footwear.

“Running is a super repetitive motion so that’s a lot of wear and tear on shoes, even on your shorter runs,” says Cori Burns, Category Manager, Running Footwear at Under Armour. “Give shoes a little bit of time to restore between runs so you feel the same amount of cushioning every time you step out.”

Your go-to trainers don’t even have to be the exact same shoe. Runners can own two different shoes that serve same purpose. They can be different brands or varying weights, depending on how much cushioning you need that day.

WHY YOU NEED DIFFERENT RUNNING SHOES

Pounding the roads in the same shoe during every type of run can lead to an overuse injury. For runners who want to explore different terrain or try a new workout, building up your shoe collection is essential to staying healthy.

“Having that same pair of shoes on every day for an extended period of time usually puts the same stress on the same muscles and tendons, so it’s nice to have a little bit of variety in your footwear throughout the week,” says Burns.


READ MORE > WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR FEET WHEN BUYING RUNNING SHOES


Here are a few different options to consider:

LIGHTWEIGHT TRAINER

These shoes have a bit less cushioning but a lot more flexibility and responsiveness compared to typical shoes. They are perfect for faster workouts like tempos or intervals. The lighter weight makes your speedy workouts feel much faster.

RACING FLATS

You can certainly race in lightweight trainers — and that’s probably the best idea for half-marathons or marathons. However many runners like to have a dedicated pair of superlight racing flats when trying for a PR. They definitely aren’t for every runner though. “I wouldn’t recommend a beginner use a lighter weight minimal kind of racing flat. But as a runner becomes more efficient and knows their body, it is a good solution,” says Burns.

TRAIL SHOES

Wearing trail shoes is the safest way to explore rugged terrain. The bottom of these shoes has lugs that are made to grip uneven surfaces. They also have sturdy liners to prevent rocks and debris from getting into your shoes.

GYM SHOES

If you’re wearing your running shoes to the gym, you could be risking an injury. Shoes meant for running do not support the lateral movements you perform in a group fitness class or while lifting. It’s better to have a pair of cross-training shoes for those activities. “It can mean the difference between running for years and getting put out with some sort of nagging injury,” warns Burns

One last note — if you do wear your running shoes to the gym or even just walking around daily, remember this decreases their lifespan. If your shoe is meant to last for 400 miles, they will wear out significantly faster if you use them for other activities.

About the Author

Kristan Dietz
Kristan Dietz

Kristan is a freelance writer, editor and social media specialist. Her work has appeared in Women’s Running and Competitor Running. She resides in Hoboken, NJ with her husband and 2-year-old son. Find her on Instagram at @kstandietz and Twitter at @kristandietz.

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