Do You Need A Second Pair of Shoes?
by Bob "Wish" Wischnia on August 18, 2011
As a running shoe and clothing company, it only makes sense that we should be quick to advise you that you absolutely do need to buy at least two or three pair of running shoes to train effectively. But do you really need more than one pair of good running shoes?
Although you can certainly train with just one pair of shoes, conventional wisdom has always advocated that you can run better and more safely by having at least two pair in your shoe rotation.
But, is conventional wisdom correct in this assertion? 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 do back-to-back workouts the same day in the same pair of shoes.
Even more important than “resting” your shoes so the midsole cushioning bounces back, is airing your shoes out completely between runs. This is a no-brainer. Simply, place them out in the sunlight (or in a well-ventilated spot). Merely remove the insoles from the shoes and give them a few hours to dry out. This is especially important in the summer when shoes get soaked with sweat. (Never stick the shoes in your clothes dryer.)
Airing the shoes outside, reduces shoe odor which can build up and also prevents athlete’s foot by eliminating fungus which can develop. Airing the shoes thoroughly, also helps extend the durability of the upper of your shoes.
Another runner who should consider adding a second pair of trainers is someone who is logging relatively high mileage in preparation for an upcoming marathon. 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.
If you decide to go with a second pair of shoes, it’s a good idea to buy a different model than your normal, go-to trainer. Have one heavy duty, well-cushioned pair for the bulk of your miles, including your long runs, and use another pair—perhaps lighter, more flexible--for tempo runs or interval days.
This accomplishes a few things. First, it keeps you from becoming biomechanically dependent on one model. Secondly, the second pair allows your body to adapt to the different stresses that you’re placing on it. Finally, by rotating between two (or more) shoes, it reduces the chances of wearing a worn-out shoe for too many miles.
When rotating shoes, make certain the companion shoe you wear is comparable from a biomechanical standpoint to your normal go-to training shoe. That is, if you wear a support shoe for the bulk of your miles, it’s a good idea to wear a lightweight, moderate support shoe as your second shoe. If you run best in neutral, cushioned shoes, your second shoe should be a lighter, but still 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 shoe
Wave Rider, Wave Enigma Wave Precision, Wave Ronin
Wave Prophecy, Wave Creation Wave Rider
Wave Nirvana, Wave Alchemy Wave Nexus, Wave Inspire, Wave Elixir
Wave Inspire, Wave Nexus Wave Elixir, Wave Musha
If you are a recreational runner content to log a few miles a day without any marathon aspirations, you’re just fine with a single pair of training shoes. It still makes sense to air your shoes out in between runs.