Should Runners Have 2 Pairs of Shoes? – Yes, But Why?

While out on a run you might have heard some of your friends talking about all of the different pairs of running shoes they own and looked down at your slightly worn pair of trainers and thought:

 “Should I have 2 or more pairs of running shoes?”

Simply put the answer is depends!

With that slightly disappointing answer out of the way, let’s cover all the possible scenarios so you can apply it to your individual circumstances.

As a general rule, most runners who train 2-4 days a week, only need one pair of running shoes as they will last for many months. 

However, rotating shoes helps prevent injury and offer exceptional cushioning for runners. 

Should Runners Have 2 Pairs of Shoes? - Rotation Is Important

Should Runners Have 2 Pairs of Shoes? The Definitive Answer

Runner Q: If You Run Less Than 4 Times a Week at a Similar Pace

You probably do not need more than one pair of solid daily training type of shoe. Having two is ok, but it's probably unnecessary. 

There is no real need to invest in a second pair of training shoes if you are getting out for a run around 2-4 days a week, as a good pair of running shoes will serve you quite well for months at that rate.

You shouldn’t have any issues if you are training intelligently, having fun, and staying consistent. Just make sure to keep track of the wear and tear on your shoes over time, as daily training shoes will generally need replacing after 300-500 miles.

SIDE NOTE: The lifespan of a running shoe depends on a multitude of factors that are worth covering before we move forward.

ALTRA Men's AL0A4VQT Torin 4.5 Plush Road Running Shoe, Black Steel - 7 M US

What Impacts a Running Shoe’s Lifespan?

  • Running Form
  • Foot Strike Pattern
  • Build Quality
  • Running Surface
  • Running Frequency
  • Overall Volume (milage, time, intensity, etc)

Reliable Daily Training Shoes 
(Listed By Category)

Lighter weight & Minimal Shoes- Saucony Kinvara & Altra Torin

Neutral Shoe / Cushioned Shoe - Hoka One One Clifton & Asics Novablast

Max Cushioned Shoes - Hoka One One Bondi & Brooks Glycerin

Stability Shoes - Hoka One One Arahi & Brooks Adrenaline GTS

Motion Control - Asics Gel-Kayano & Hoka One One Gaviota

No Frills for Neutral Runners - Puma Velocity Nitro

If You Run Less Than 4 Times a Week, but Include Faster Paces - Runner Should have Two Pair

Even if you run 4 times or less per week, but still like to include a speedy workout into your training, then you might still want to include 2 running shoes into your collection and rotate them.

For faster workouts, it often helps to have a lightweight and more responsive type of shoe to get some extra ground feedback to assist with proper form, cadence, and mentally investing into your workout.

ASICS Men's Metaracer Running Shoes, 9.5, Digital Aqua/French Blue

Traditionally these would come as a low stack height minimal shoe, but in the modern times we live in, you will often want a carbon plated shoe option for these workouts.

The reason it might be beneficial to have a regular daily trainer AND a dedicated workout shoe is that it gives you some options depending on how you are feeling that day. If you have a workout, but are feeling some minor tweaks here and there, then of course you can just stay in your trainers.

However, if you happen to feel good for a key workout session, then you might really want something that offers some extra “pop” into your stride.

Personally, I find that lacing up my workout shoes allows me to switch gears mentally and prepare for the session to come.

Once I have that lighter and more performance oriented pair of running shoes on then I feel like I have dedicated myself to getting better that day and am more likely to give it a more honest effort (at least that is what I tell myself to justify buying more shoes).

Popular Workout/Race Day Shoes
(Listed By Category)

Traditional Flats (non-carbon plated) - Adidas Adizero Adios & Nike Streak

Responsive Carbon-Plated Shoes - Saucony Endorphin Pro & Asics MetaSpeed

Cushioned Carbon-Plated Shoes - Nike Vaporfly Next

If You Run 5 Or More Times a Week

This is the point when I think it is really time for you to develop a shoe rotation.

You are obviously interested and invested in this whole running thing and it will probably be in your best interest to include at least 2 pairs of different daily training shoes within your shoe rotation.

If you run some faster workouts, then you may also want to include a lighter and leaner workout/racing shoe as well.

Nike Mens Zoom Flyknit Streak Lightweight Running Shoes White 6.5 Medium (D)

This may seem like a lot, but it’s really just investing in your running journey and allowing you to stay a little more healthy, balanced, and invested into the sport that you have already dedicated so much time and energy to.

You don’t actually NEED a shoe rotation to be a successful and happy runner, but it is another step you can take to grow and improve over time.

If you aren’t super convinced about having more than one pair of running shoes, let’s go over some of the benefits of having 2 or more pairs of running shoes.

Benefits of Having 2 or More Running Shoes in Your Rotation

1. Longer Lasting Shoes

Wearing your shoe to run and only run will increase the overall lifespan on the shoe. By using a workout shoe for just workouts and a daily trainer just ro run easy, both shoes will last longer than if you added on extra stresses to the shoes like walking around or standing around during day-to-day activities.

adidas Women's Adizero Adios 5 w Sneaker, Black/White/Signal Coral, 9.5 M US

Furthermore, having 2 daily trainers allows for the midsole foams of each shoe to revive after having a day or two off from its last run. If you aren’t compounding the flattening of your shoe’s midsole day-in-day-out then it will not pack down as quickly over time.

Alternating your trainers is a great way to keep your shoes fresh and provides that maximal amount of cushioning that you desire.

2. Lower Risk of Injury

This advantage works on a couple different levels.

Running is a sport of movement repetition. The more you run, the more repetitive stress you are putting on your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. When you wear shoes, they will have you move just a little differently depending on the model that you opt for.

Wearing more than one pair of shoes will allow your body to redistribute stress into different areas in your body. Having stress applied in different places will allow your body to recover and strengthen. This will decrease your chances of sustaining an overuse injury as your volume accumulates over time.

ASICS Men's Metaracer Running Shoes, 9.5, Digital Aqua/French Blue

The second way that having more than one pair of shoes helps reduce injury risk is by giving time to let the foam in your shoes refresh back to normal between runs. When you go on a run, it packs down the foam in your shoes, which makes them feel harder and less responsive.

It can take up to 36-48 hours for a shoe's midsole foam to return back to its normal level of cushioning. Switching between shoes makes it easy to give your shoe’s midsole foam time to rebound, which will keep the stress on your legs much lower than if you were to continually pound them into the ground.

3. Running at Different Speeds and on Different Terrain

Most shoes are designed to be used on a certain surface and for a specific speed.

For example, a high performance racing road shoes like the Nike Vaporfly Next% is perfect for running fast and smooth on the roads, but will falter on any of the slightest technical trail terrain.

Saucony Men's Endorphin Pro 2 Sneaker, Reverie, 9.5

The same goes for a trail shoe, which will provide excellent traction and durability on dirt roads, but will not often be great for easy road runs or faster flat workouts.

Having a variety of shoes gives you an opportunity to perform well on any given surface and at any given speed. It is far more fun to know you have “all adequate footwear” for any situation than being worried or insecure about your pair of trainers while getting out for any type of training run.

Finally, it just gives you options to think about having fun on your run rather than worrying about having the proper footwear. If you want to go fast, you know you have a shoe for that. If you want to go trail running with your friends, then you know you can take part in that event without worrying.

Finally, if you want to slog out some easy miles with a soft and plush trainer that babies your foot, then you will have an option for that as well.

Should You Rotate Running Shoe Brands?

When it comes to running shoes, having two pairs and rotating between them is considered a smart strategy. This allows for adequate time for recovery of the cushioning material in each pair, as well as minimizing the risk of overuse injuries. It also prevents runners from becoming too accustomed to one shoe brand or model, which can lead to imbalanced gait patterns or cadence.

Rotating between brands can be beneficial, as different brands offer different levels of cushioning and support depending on the runner's needs. It is important to test out multiple models to find out which fits best. Additionally, rotating between shoe brands can help prevent overuse injuries or issues related to repetitive motion in running.

It is also important for runners to pay attention to the wear and tear on their shoes. If a pair has seen enough use, it is time to invest in a new pair. As much as possible, runners should avoid wearing worn out shoes because this can increase the risk of injury.

Ultimately, the decision between two pairs or one is up to each individual runner. Whether they choose one brand or two, rotating between them is a smart strategy to ensure that they are getting the most out of their shoes.

When it comes to running gear, having the right shoes is paramount for preventing injury and optimizing performance. It is essential for runners to have multiple pairs of shoes so that they can switch up styles and brands.

Doing this helps maintain proper gait patterns and keeps the body balanced. Additionally, having multiple pairs of running shoes allows for adequate recovery time and prevents overuse injuries from occurring.

No matter how many pairs of shoes a runner decides to own, it is important for them to stay up to date on their wear and tear so that they can purchase new shoes when needed. This will ensure that they are always equipped with the best pair of shoes for their running needs.

By investing in multiple pairs of running shoes and cycling through them, runners can maximize performance and minimize the risk of injury. With this strategy in place, runners are sure to get the most out of their running gear and have longer, healthier running careers. 

Benefits of Rotating Your Running Shoes

1. Running shoes can last longer when you rotate them

Just like any other article of clothing, running shoes go through a lot of wear and tear. They need to be comfortable, supportive, and durable enough to handle long runs on all kinds of terrain.

As a result, it's important to take good care of your running shoes if you want them to last. 

One way to extend their life is to rotate them regularly. alternating between two or three pairs of shoes will help them last longer by giving them a chance to air out and recover between runs.

Additionally, rotating your shoes will also help prevent injuries by evenly distributing the impact on your joints and muscles. So if you're looking to get the most out of your running shoes, make sure to rotate them regularly.

2. You'll avoid injuries caused by running in the same shoes all the time

Anyone who has ever gone for a run knows that having the right shoes makes all the difference. The wrong shoes can lead to blisters, pain, and even injuries. That's why it's important to have more than one pair of running shoes.

By alternating between pairs, you give your shoes time to air out and dry between uses. 

This helps to extend their lifespan and prevents the build-up of bacteria that can cause problems like athlete's foot. In addition, rotating between different pairs of shoes prevents injuries caused by repetitive stress on the same areas of the feet.

So next time you go for a run, be sure to switch up your shoes and avoid any potential problems down the road.

3. Rotating your shoes gives each pair a chance to air out and dry properly

Many people have a favorite pair of shoes that they wear day in and day out. While it's understandable to want to get the most mileage out of your shoes, it's important to rotate them on a regular basis.

This gives each pair a chance to air out and dry properly, which helps to prevent the growth of bacteria. It also helps to prolong the life of your shoes by evenly distributing wear and tear.

So next time you're reaching for your go-to pair, take a moment to consider giving another pair a spin. Your feet (and your shoes) will thank you for it.

4. Your feet will get used to different types of support, which can help prevent overuse injuries

If you're a runner, you know that different pair of running shoes can make a big difference in your comfort and performance. The same is true for other types of support gear, like orthotics or arch supports.

Even though it might feel strange at first to wear something new on your feet, your body will quickly adapt and get used to the new support.

This can help prevent overuse injuries, because your feet will be better able to handle the stress of running or standing for long periods of time. 

So next time you're considering a new pair of shoes or some other type of support, don't be afraid to give it a try - your feet will thank you in the long run!


Overall, you may or may not need 2 pairs of running shoes. It really isn’t a matter of “needing” to have 2 or more pairs of running shoes, but you might find your quality of life in the sport increases when you have options.

It expands your scope of possibilities and allows you to take on any or all scenarios with peace of mind. Now the decision is up to you!

Hi, Jeremy Here, 

I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journeyAbout Jeremy. 

I have run over 250 races including the California International Marathon, Clarksburg Country Run, and various other 5K & 10K races throughout the United States. I am a former Athletics department employee at University of the Pacific and Shoe Consultant with Dicks Sporting Goods

Last update on 2023-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API