Preventing Injury and Optimizing Shoe Performance
It makes sense, when a piece of equipment gets old or worn down it eventually needs to be replaced. If you run with any sort of regularity, you likely hold the same wisdom to be true for your running shoes, but there is more to it than just changing them out when they get worn down.
According to a 22 week study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, runners who regularly rotate through 2 or more shoe models lowered their risk of running injury by an astonishing 39%! At first you may block at the idea (and cost) of having multiple pairs of shoes you rotate through weekly, but have you ever gone down the rabbit hole of running injury? The average visit to see a specialist costs $25 - $50 (IF you are covered by health insurance), if you are put on a treatment plan or require medication or therapy you can expect that cost to jump exponentially. Not to mention the $100 or so you spent on race registration that now, due to injury you will likely have to sit out.
You may find yourself asking, “Why does rotating shoes, rather than just changing them out at 400 miles make such a difference?” There are two reasons. One is that, just like your muscles, your shoes (rather the foam inside of them) needs time to recover and decompress. If you pound out mileage in the same shoes every single day, they do not get enough time to recover and perform optimally.
Secondly, different models of shoes distribute the stress of running differently thereby lessening the strain on any one tissue. Additionally, rotating shoes promotes the alternation of running pattern and varies forces on the lower extremities during running. Bottom line, rotating shoes makes an overuse injury less likely.