People often wonder if they need more than one pair of shoes. It's a common question and depending upon your needs, it is something to consider.
First off, there are two pretty distinct points of view about shoe rotations. You have a group that believes it's a sales gimmick so that people will buy more shoes that they don't need and you have a side that believes you need a different pair to improve in different workouts and to keep from injuring yourself. Any regular customer at ORC knows that one of our first questions is what are you using the shoes for and that we actively discourage buying a shoe that won't help you especially if it costs more and will only offer you minimal or no benefit. However, there are certain types of situations where having more than one type of shoe is a benefit.
There are several different shoe rotation patterns. We usually focus on the two shoe, three shoe, recovery, and terrain based rotations. Read on to find out more about each.
We suggest starting with only one shoe. If you're a beginner or prefer running for pure enjoyment, getting fitted for a daily trainer is where you should begin.
Two shoe rotation
With a two shoe rotation you are essentially using a shoe for everyday runs and another for faster runs. As I said above, getting your everyday trainer right is what you should do before branching out to multiple shoes. After your daily trainer is established and you want to pick up the pace more with faster runs each week, you might consider adding a second pair designed for that purpose. These lighter shoes, usually with less protection and cushioning, are designed and feel faster. Used primarily for tempo runs and speed workouts, this is a good second shoe to add to the rotation. Not only can it work for faster runs but you can also use it as a racing shoe for most distances.
Three shoe rotation
The classic three shoe rotation adds a racing specific shoe. Getting a racing shoe will not be for everyone. If you're looking for faster times that will let you set personal bests or place in your age group or overall, the current trend is toward carbon-plated shoes that will help you run faster with essentially less overall effort. However, these are going to be more expensive options and also will be less durable than your daily trainer or lighter speed shoe.
If you do a lot of specific training involving tempo runs and intervals, sometimes you might consider adding a shoe that's more cushioned than your everyday trainer for slower recovery runs. Part of using a lighter shoe or a race specific shoe on a regular basis is experiencing some muscle tiredness. The benefits of a lighter or racing shoe also has the downside of offering less protection for your body overall. A typical recovery shoe would be softer with a generally thicker midsole that will reduce impact forces.
Terrain based rotation
Depending upon the terrain you run on, you may need a different type of shoe. If you do a lot of trail running, you could consider adding a trail specific shoe to your rotation. Although we don't recommend a trail shoe for every type of trail, if you're running across streams or up rocky trails where you need more grip, a trail shoe is something to consider.
An example rotation
As an example of a shoe rotation, I use the following currently:
Everyday runs - Asics GT-2000 or Mizuno Inspire.
Faster shoe - Hoka Carbon X.
Trail shoe - Brooks Catamount.
Race shoe - Hoka Carbon X for road and Brooks Catamount for trail.
Recovery shoe - Hoka Gaviotta or Mizuno Horizon.
If you're considering branching out to different types of shoes, come in and we'll help you find the best combination for your needs and running style wheter it's one or multiple shoes.
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