Sunday, December 15, 2013

Rotate Your Running Shoes To Minimise Injury

Picture by Tomas Kalina from
I started running when I was twelve. I ran mostly cross country and track races (as there were definitely a lot less road races then compared to now). Since those early running days, I began rotating all my running shoes.

My mum would nag at me for having so many pairs of running shoes and wanted to throw away the older pairs. I would simply tell her I'd throw them out but secretly kept them in another place or brought them to school to keep in my locker.

After getting good enough results to be sponsored, my shoe rotating "habit" got worse I guess.

Back then, I simply felt that using different shoes each time I ran would stress different parts of my foot and legs and hopefully less chance of me getting injured.

Turns out I was right. A recently published study suggests that runners who rotate more than one pair of running shoes are significantly less likely to get injured compared to those who wear the same pair of shoes each time they ran.

The researchers studied 264 runners over 22 weeks. Information on training volume, injury rate, cross training, shoe usage and other variables were obtained. 116 runners in the study used a single pair of running shoes, with 91% of their running done in that same shoe. The other 148 runners used multiple pairs of running shoes. They had a main pair which they ran in (an average of 58% of their runs) while also using another 3.6 pairs (on average) for their other runs during the study period.

The researchers found that those who rotated their running shoes had 39% lower risk of getting injured during the study period compared to those who ran mainly in one pair of running shoes. The researchers suggested that different shoes distributed impact forces from running differently, lessening repetitive strain on the legs during running.

Depending on the shoe's midsole height and firmness, a person's stride length and ground reaction time also changes, affecting running gait although these factors (midsole densities, structure and geometry) need further research. Also in support of reducing injury due to varying loads, the researchers found that the runners who also cross trained had lower incidences of injury.

Well, all you shoe geeks can rejoice now that you have an excellent reason to convince your significant other, wife, husband or mum that you need another pair of running shoes.


Malisoux L, Ramesh J et al (2015). Can Parallel Use Of Different Running Shoes Decrease Running-related Injury Risk? Scand J Med Sci Sports. 25(1): 110-115. DOI: 1111/sms.12154.

*Picture by Ian Dennoir of shop window @ Carnaby Street Soho London from

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1 comment:

  1. Hi! You have discussed a very important issue about running injury that most of the people suffer a lot and I have faced this sort of problem also but still I didn't get any solution. But by reading your research it seems to me that to rotate running shoes can minimize the injury and that's why I will try to implement this very soon and hope that it will be very effective. Thanks mate.