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?”

Then you did what everyone does nowadays, and typed that into your google search bar and stumbled upon this article, and lucky for you we have the answer!

Simply put the answer is that...it 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.

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


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 shoes. 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)

Lightweight & Minimal - Saucony Kinvara & Altra Torin

Neutral and Cushioned - Hoka One One Clifton & Asics Novablast

Max Cushion - Hoka One One Bondi & Brooks Glycerin

Stability - 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 lighter and more responsive 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

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 shoe 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 Endorphin Pro 2 Reverie 9.5 D (M)

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.


Conclusion

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 Me.

Last update on 2022-05-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API