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Saying ‘so long’ to your sole-mate: The benefits of training in two shoes.

Many runners spend their days scouring the earth’s surface to find that single special set of shoes that will take them to marathon greatness. These runners mistakenly hunt for their soulmate as they believe there is only one special shoe out there that can get them to the starting line unscathed. But what if you not only could- but possibly SHOULD train in more than one shoe to prepare for race day? What if training in two shoes actually has real physical, psychological and training benefits that can enhance your race day performance?

While the upfront cost of training in two different shoes may seem daunting, the training tactic has the following benefits:

  1. Forces the body to adapt and get stronger. Have you ever heard a trainer in the gym telling you to change up your routine every three months to ‘keep the body guessing’? Wearing two different shoes of different heal to toe drops and different weights can force smaller muscles in the feet and lower limbs to work harder and adapt. It will force your biomechanics to slightly adapt and can help serve to reduce overuse injuries.
  2. Makes you feel lighter and run faster on race day!… well, you actually are lighter. Many runners use a heavier more structured shoe for their zone 1/conversational pace runs and a lighter shoe for tempo and speed workouts. In my opinion nothing should be brand new on race day, including your shoe. If you want to wear a light shoe on race day then integrate it into your training regime.  
  3. You will always have a dry pair! With two pairs of shoes you will never encounter the feeling that “my shoes are too wet to run.” You may train through the run, snow and sleet no problem but no one wants to put on a pair of damp shoes the next day. No one. A second pair of shoes eliminates this problem. Let’s minimize excuses to maximize results.
  4. Injury prevention. Traditional EVA midsole foam used to construct running shoes takes over 24 hours to fully recover and retake its shape post run. Runners who often run late and then early the next morning should use their second pair for the morning run to maximize the cushioning and protection for your body.

Quick tips to buying two shoes:

  1. LOVE both pairs of shoes so you will use them equally, thus forcing your body to adapt to each shoes.

  1. Consider purchasing one full price and one on sale. Investing in two pairs of shoes upfront can be financially daunting, however most running stores will have a fair selection of sale shoes in your size range (or be able to locate a shoe in one of their other store locations).

  1. Purchase two distinct shoes to force the body strengthen weaker muscles. Consider pairing a heavier shoe with a slightly lighter one OR a higher heel to toe drop (12 mm offset) with a lower drop shoe (6-8 mm or less, depending on history of injury).

  1. Get your shoes from a run specialty store so an employee who has been fully trained and on all of the shoes can properly fit you for shoes. (Tip: Unlike many big box stores many running specialty stores offer a 30 day free trial with their shoes!! That means you can return your shoes for a full refund even after use outside.)

Marathon, schmarathon.

We got this,

-Kass Berry



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