Friday, April 2, 2010

Is there such a thing as too many running shoes?

A while back I got a post on my blog asking me how many running shoes that I have. So this morning I finally broke down and counted them.

I am somewhat embarrass to say that I have 21 pairs for running.

Now before you shoot me down, let me explain.

Having 21 pairs for running shoes does not mean that they are all the same.

Let me start by saying that I have a rotation of shoes.

Also some of the shoes are in various states of usages.

And some of the shoes are specific types of runs i.e. workouts.

Here are some examples:

  • Tempo runs – medium light weight trainers – around 9-10 oz.
  • Speed intervals – light weight trainers – around 8-9 oz.
  • Trails – trails shoes – 12 to 14 oz.
  • Long runs will be heavier trainers – 11 to 13 oz.
  • Easy and Recovery days – 10 to 12 oz.

Maybe you are asking why I need so many shoes. Well, I believe they are needed for several reasons:

  • Shoes take time to recover just like your body. Running in the same pair simply wears the shoe down so much faster
  • Shoes need to fit the type of workout that you are doing. For example, when you are doing your speed work, you want a shoe that weighs less. This helps your lower body – especially your legs – become accustom the race conditions.
  • Then there is the mental aspect that comes with wearing certain types of shoes. If I put on my recovery shoes – mentally it keeps me in the mode to do a recovery workout. If put on my lighter shoes, mentally it helps me prepared to do a harder work out. You get the idea. My shoes set the tone for the type of workout that I am expecting to do.
  • Then there is always the rotating of shoes. Rotating shoes let you put a new pair into the pool and slowly break them in. Usually by running in them for shorter runs and then later longer runs.
  • Another great aspect of having multi pairs is that no two brands and model of shoes are exactly the same. Each type of shoe gives the foot a different ride. My belief is that this can help prevent injuries.

Now that you have read my post, you are probably saying that running shoes are expensive. And, yes, you are absolutely correct; running shoes are expensive. But when you look at it from the stand point of buying two pairs will most likely allow the shoes to last longer. Also once you have multiple pair, you can start the rotation of shoes in and out process, and the cost is most likely no different than before. Now, I am not advocating that everyone have 21 pairs of shoes. 21 pair is what I have now and I need most of them because I do run a lot.

On a side note, I didn't count my racing flats of which I have several pairs. My very lightest racing flats will be used for pretty anything up to a ½ marathon. Beyond ½ marathon, I will opted for a slightly heavier shoes. In my recent blog entry about Tobacco Road Marathon you saw that I used the "Brooks Green Silence" rather than my "Brooks T6". In little over week, I will be running the Tar Heel 10 miler, and I will be using the T6 racing flats. Why? For shorter races I can get away with less cushioning and support. If you wondering how long a racing will last, again it all depends. Typically, I get about 100 miles of racing miles out of a pair. Marathons tend to be harder on the shoes than a 5k so for a marathon I may only use them for 2 or 3 marathons.

These are my thoughts on the topic of multiple running shoes.


Best of luck with your running shoes selection.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. I'm the person who posted the question a few months ago. Another question. Are you loyal to only one particular brand of shoe or do you always go with what shoe feels best to you no matter which brand? I am also new to trail running and have not yet bought a specific trail shoe. Any thoughts on picking trail shoes? I have run on McAlpine Grenway with my regular shoes and had no trouble. I have recently run at the Whitewater Center and wished I had a shoe with better traction. Also is the retirement for trail shoes the same for road shoes?

Cool Down Runner said...

Through the years, I have switched between brands many times. Always I was in search of the shoe that felt the best to my feet and to my legs and body.

Currently, I am using Brooks running shoes because I feel they give me the best opportunity for staying injury free and feet/leg respond well to them.

Yeah, if you are running McAlpine then you really don't need a trail shoe. But for the WWC trail, having a good trail shoes will help. One thing that you will find is the trail shoes have a stiff sole to them. This is to provide protection against rocks and roots.

My trail shoes last a little longer for a few reasons. I only use them on Trails, and I don't run on trails every day. Also running on trails doesn't beat up trails shoes like the road or concert does with your normal running shoes.

I probably get close to twice the miles out of them.

Currently, I am using the Brooks Cascadia shoes.