One of the old adages in running is to rotate through different pairs of shoes for injury prevention. In other words, have at least two pairs of shoes you can alternate daily. For some this is natural, with training shoes, racing flats, cross country spikes, performance training shoes, and even barefoot drills part of the normal weekly rotation. But for others who train in only a single make and model, adding shoes requires foresight (ie. Buying multiple shoes at once or buying your “next” pair long before the current one expires).
One study (Malisoux 2013) put this adage to the test with a group of 264 recreational runners over 22 weeks. Authors found that “parallel use of more than one pair of running shoes was a protective factor” against running related injuries. Some possible explanations…
Finding a connection between non-running sport participation and running health is also an intriguing result. There are many possible explanations here, but the simplest is that non-linear athletic skills may complement the strict linearity in running that often leads to repetitive strain conditions.
Sometimes old running adages pass scientific muster; sometimes they don’t. In this instance, the conventional wisdom seems to align with the formal literature, but as with many things, more study is needed to confirm whether a connection exists.
Malisoux L, Ramesh J, Mann R, Seil R, Urhausen A, Theisen D. Can parallel use of different running shoes decrease running-related injury risk? Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2013 Nov 28. doi: 10.1111/sms.12154. [Epub ahead of print]
(originally published at www.pikeathletics.com)
Allan Phillips, PT, DPT is owner of Ventana Physiotherapy