Running Shoe Rotation
Running is repetitive in nature. That repetition is one of the leading causes of common running injuries. A simple process of running shoe rotation changes the stimulus enough to improve your defense against running injuries.
Your body thrives on change. We know this from training. Hit a training plateau, change the stimulus. Most training programs worth their weight build in the stimulus change. Consequently, most of that is geared around completing your running goal. The defense against common injuries is no different. You need to introduce stimulus change to keep the body from getting into that repetition groove. Running shoe rotation is a perfect stimulus change that most runners fail to address. Most runners only have one shoe to run it at a time. While that may seem like the general good practice it’s not. One shoe just adds to the repetition.
At the very end of this Flo Track video, the coach says something so simple and breakthrough at the same time. He says “Put on your trainers for your cool down”. It’s a tried and proven practice among the best runners in the world. Very few of those runners have one shoe to run in. Most have many.
The Least Amount of Running Shoe Rotation You Should Do
First and foremost you should have two shoes you run in.
One shoe for fast days. And shoe for long days and recovery days. If you don’t have fast or long days have a Tuesday/Thursday shoe and a Wednesday/Saturday shoe.
Your Best Running Shoe Rotation Practice
My preference for you and my personal running shoe rotation practice is more varied. I always have at least 4 shoes in rotation and generally it’s based on feel. If I feel sluggish or if I feel good. My current 4 shoes pictures above:
- New Balance Fuel Core Sonic – 6mm offset, moderate midsole volume.
- Saucony Kinvara – 4mm offset, moderate midsole volume
- Hoka One One Challenger – 4 mm offset, maximum volume
- Altra Superior – 0 mm offset, low volume midsole
If I am trail running and I feel sluggish it’s the Hoka. If I a feel like everything is working, it’s the Atra. Same on the road, the New Balance is the sluggish shoe and the Saucony is the feel good shoe.
Notice a couple things:
- I’m not brand loyal – No single brand can cover all your needs. They want to say they can but really they can’t. It’s better to be brand agnostic.
- I’m not set on any heel to toe offset. There are a couple reasons but the biggest is just the fact that Heel to toe offset is one measurement in the shoe, it’s not the shoe. There are so many other factors in shoe construction that create the feel on your foot. I don’t base my decisions on the geometries on paper I base my decision on the feel on my foot.
Running Shoe Rotation is just one way to change the stimulus in the routine that is running. It’s by far the easiest. A side benefit of this is you don’t become beholden to a favorite shoe. If you are running in one shoe today and don’t know where to look, send me an email or find me on twitter. I’d be happy to point you in a good direction.