Why You Should Alternate Between Different Types of Running Shoes

Varying sneaker styles for different types of workouts can help build strength and prevent injury

Finding a good pair of running shoes that work well for you takes a little bit of work. Some research is required and probably a bit of trial and error too. On top of the time and effort you have to put into finding the right pair, you’ll probably have to hand over a small chunk of change when you do find just the shoes you’ve been looking for.

Assuming your entire budget isn't dedicated to sneakers and you have a life beyond shopping around for the perfect pair, the last thing you probably want to hear is that you should go out and buy more running shoes.

On the other hand, if you're an avid runner I don’t doubt that you probably jump at any excuse to get your hands on a new pair of sneakers that will add to your already ridiculously large collection. Either way, one of the cardinal rules of running says you should replace your sneakers every 300-500 miles.

See also: How to Make Your Running Shoes Last Longer

Updating your shoes before they become too worn and broken down helps prevent injury. As a runner, your number one focus should be injury prevention, and one way you can reinforce this strategy is by alternating between different types of shoes for different workouts.

For example, USATF-certified running coach Jason Fitzgerald suggests using a more minimal shoe for short and easy or fast speed workouts and a more supportive shoe for longer endurance workouts.

He explains on his blog:

“Wearing ‘less shoe’ will help you develop stronger lower leg and feet muscles while reinforcing good running form. It’s more difficult to aggressively heel strike in light shoes so you’ll be forced to run more economically with lighter, quicker steps.”

He also says that this may help prolong the life of your running shoes because of less repeated use.

“I can say that it might prolong the life of a pair of shoes since you're not putting all the miles on a pair of shoes in a short time period. You're lengthening its lifespan, so it may allow the foam some ‘recovery’ in between runs. It depends on the type of foam in the shoe, but I think it helps.”

Just like when it comes to picking out any pair of sneakers for running, choosing what type of shoe to use for each type of workout may take some trial and error because what works for one runner may not be right for you. Asking for help at your local running shop or sporting goods store will be your best bet for finding the right pair.

See also: How to Choose the Right Running Shoes