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Can alternating running shoes decrease the risk of injury?

It’s very tempting to keep running in the same shoes once we have found the perfect model (check our post: 5 Tips To Find The Best Running Shoes).

This 2015 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports may encourage runners to be daring and add another shoe to their training regimen. The study reveals that alternating running shoes can decrease the risk of injury.

264 recreational runners trained for 22 weeks and reported all information about their training during that time, including running-related injuries defined as “physical pain or complaint located at the lower limbs or lower back region, sustained during or as a result of running practice and impeding planned running activity for at least 1 day”.

One third of the participants (87 runners) reported a running-related injury during the 22-week observation period.

The researchers found that the risk of running-related injury was significantly lower for runners using more than one pair of running shoes. Malisoux et al. wrote:

The parallel use of more than one pair of running shoes is a protective factor.

They suggest that this can be the result of a variation of the load applied to the musculoskeletal system. In other words, changing running shoes solicits the body differently and may allow it to become stronger and less prone to injuries.

What do you think? Are you alternating running shoes or do you stick to your favorite shoe model? Please share your experience in the comments section.

Photo credit: akunamatata (Flickr)

Kevin Le Gall

Kevin Le Gall

Kevin is the founder and editor of Runner's Lab. He started running in 2015 and completed his first marathon in Rotterdam in 2016. He's also worked for Under Armour from 2016 to 2018 and helped launch their running collection in Europe (in particular the HOVR shoes). In addition, Kevin is a 300-hour certified yoga teacher (Sivananda) and uses this experience to run more mindfully with a focus on well-being over performance.

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