Do You Need A Second Pair of Shoes? What to Look For
By: The Mizuno Shoe Guy
As a running shoe and clothing company, we probably should hesitate to advise you that in order to train safely and most effectively, it is best to own at least two or three pair of running shoes. But, the question is: Do you really need more than one good pair of Mizuno running shoes?
Although you can certainly train with just one pair of shoes, conventional wisdom has always advocated that you can run better and with greater protection safer by rotating between at least two pair of shoes, if not more.
But, is conventional wisdom correct in this assertion that you need multiple pair of running shoes? For some runners, it is.
Such as who?
High-mileage runners who run every day (some who might even do double workouts) almost certainly require a second pair of shoes to rotate. The reasoning is the cushioning foam which comprises the midsoles of running shoes gets compressed during a run and needs time to recover and bounce back. The midsoles don’t need as much recovery as your legs do, but you should give your shoes a break and not run back-to-back workouts the same day in the same pair of shoes
- Marathon trainers who are logging relatively high mileage (and weekly long runs) for an extended period in prep for an upcoming marathon often need two pair. Training for a marathon is never easy as the higher mileage and all the long runs are tough on the body. One way to ease the stress a bit is to alternate between two different pair of shoes. This helps to spread the pounding between two shoes and ensures that you’re always running on a “fresh” pair with plenty of cushioning
- Ultra marathoners need at least three pair of shoes for training and racing. Ultra runners log such heavy mileage that they must rotate between multiple pair of shoes to ensure they have adequate cushioning and support. In ultras of 50 miles or more, most competitors switch between several pair of shoes at every aid station to always have a “fresh” pair
- Competitive road racers typically use a second pair of lighter, more flexible shoes than their trainers. This second pair of shoes is usually an extremely light road-racing flat or a lightweight performance trainer-racer. These same shoes are generally not used for daily training, but are often used on tempo runs and/or speed days on the track as well as road races.
- Cross trainers, CrossFit and/or gym rats often wear their running shoes but it’s best to wear a secondary pair and save your primary shoes just for running. All the lifting and cross training typically done in a gym and/or on a treadmill, compresses the midsoles and compromises the cushioning of running shoes just like running does. Save your running shoes for running and use old shoes or an additional pair in the gym.
All of this isn’t to suggest that every runner—particularly beginners—need to rush out and buy additional pair of running shoes to go along with their main shoe. You absolutely don’t need to do that. New runners, even new runners who run every day, will do just fine with one pair of shoes for training and racing. But, once you progress there are compelling reasons to buy an additional pair:
Rotating shoes reduces the possibility of injuries. Experienced runners intuitively know this and a recent European study confirmed that runners who use multiple pair of shoes in training had a 39 percent lower risk of injuries than those who ran in the same shoes every day. The researchers believe that the different shoes distribute the impact forces of running differently and reduce the strain on lower leg muscles. Another words, when you run in different shoes, you have a slightly different foot strike which reduces the stress on the same lower leg muscles.
Different shoes for different types of runs. While there isn’t a right shoe for every type of run, many runners prefer a certain shoe (or shoe type) for their various weekly runs. For example, on my Saturday long runs, I prefer a relatively light support shoe (the Wave Inspire). On my easy recovery runs (usually the following two days), I don’t care about shoe weight and want a shoe with maximum cushioning (the Wave Enigma) or maxi support and cushioning (Enigma or Wave Paradox). Like most experienced, competitive runners, I do a fartlek workout or tempo runs to work on my speed and race prep. Those days I either wear the Inspire or my race day shoe (Wave Sayonara).
Trail days. For runs on soft, hilly trails where great traction is a must, only a trail shoe such as the Wave Kazan or Wave Hayate will do. Flat-bottomed road shoes simply don’t have gripping power serious trail runners require to get up and down hills. Whenever I hit technical, tricky trails, I need that kind of sure-footed traction the Kazan delivers for my ascents and descents.
If you decide to go with a second or third pair of shoes, make certain the companion shoe you wear is compatible from a biomechanical standpoint to your normal daily training shoe. That is, if you wear a support shoe for the bulk of your miles, it’s a good idea to wear another supportive shoe, as your second shoe. If you run best in neutral, cushioned shoes, your second shoe should still be a neutral shoe.
For most Mizuno shoes, there is a comparable second shoe that also works well.
Here’s a sampling of some of Mizuno’s popular training shoes and a second shoe that goes well with it:
Main shoe Second, lighter shoe
Wave Rider, Wave Enigma Wave Sayonara, Wave Hitogami
Wave Prophecy, Wave Creation Wave Rider
Wave Paradox Wave Inspire
Wave Inspire Wave Sayonara
Wave Inspire, Wave Rider Wave Kazan
Wave Rider, Wave Sayonara Wave Hayate