How many pairs of running shoes do you own?
I have a front porch full of running shoes of various kinds and various states of wear and tear which I use for different types of running. I have lost count of how many exactly but my wife will probably say too many! It really depends on the type of terrain, the type of weather, or even the time of year that I am running.
A study published in 2013 showed that runners wearing more than one type of running shoe over a period of time had a significantly reduced risk of injury compared to runners who wore the same shoe over the same time period. This makes sense as different types and makes of shoe will direct ground reaction forces in different ways through the foot and ankle and thereby possibly reduce the risks of repetitive strain injury caused by running the same way in the same shoes from day to day.
The study also found that participation in other sports reduced the risks of injury, giving more weight to the benefits of cross training in preventing injury. This has always made sense to me, and it is nice that we now have some research to back it up.
Of course it is important to make sure that any radical changes to your type of running shoe causing a significant shift in load, for example going from a cushioned shoe with a 12mm heel drop to a zero drop minimalist shoe, should be introduced gradually to guard against overstrain.
It seems then that mixing up your running programme with different running shoes and cross training could significantly reduce the risk of sustaining a running injury, so if you've been eyeing up that nice shiny pair of Innov-8s or Asics to add to your collection and wondering how to justify it, now's your chance!
Malisoux, L.; Ramesh, J.; Mann, R.; Seil, R.; Urhausen, A.; Theisen, D., Can parallel use of different running shoes decrease running-related injury risk? Scandanavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports 2013.
I have a small favour to ask you.
I produce these blogs for the benefit of the running and active community and I want as many runners and active people as possible to benefit from these. It would really help me if you could take a moment to share these articles with your active friends on social media and any relevant groups or forums that you may be subscribed to.
Please feel free to post any questions and comments if these blog post raise any issues for you. Thanks from a fellow runner!