I wore my ‘running shoes’ like this for years. As my mileage picked up I started to feel the age of the shoes. After 9 or 10 months my joints would start to hurt. A new pair of shoes would be the remedy. Around this time I also discovered outlet malls. I would time my shoe purchases and to maximize the value I would purchase several pairs of the same shoe. I have been running in Reebok’s, not exclusively, for about 8 years now. Their outlet mall stores always have buy 1 get 1 at 50% off. Also, they have 40% off coupons several times a year.
Last year, while putting up big mileage training for an ironman and then even bigger mileage training for a marathon I had 4 pairs of Reeboks – two pair of white/red and white/blue. The different colors were different models but they were similar. Since they looked the same I had to number them. For the marathon, I wrote on the inside heel – MG1 and MG2 for Mardi Gras 1 and 2. This allowed for me keep track of the shoes and rotate them effectively.
I am not that obsessive about the tracking the rotation. I do not record the mileage on each individual pair of shoes. I do however track the mileage on the set of shoes. Below are some tips from Super Dave at Road Runner Sports:
1. First, start with two pair of shoes that both have less than 250 miles on them. If they're the same model, mark one pair as A and the other B. To rotate most effectively, keep track of the mileage you've put on each pair.
2. The newest pair (lowest mileage) should be used for your longer runs and your competitive racing.
3. The older pair (highest mileage) should be used for your shorter runs, inclement weather runs or your offroad runs if you aren't using a trail shoe.
4. Keep the older pair in the rotation until you've run 450 miles in them. At that point, it's time to "boot" your old pair and bring a new pair into the rotation.
Along with injury prevention I think rotation between different models of shoes helps to strengthen my ankles and feet. The variety helps me to eliminate any hot spots that can develop running everyday – but like I said, I am fortunate and I can run in just about any neutral (high arches) type of shoe.
In addition, rotating your shoes also allows for the foam in sole to decompress. This will increase the life span of the running shoes. I read something that said rotation two pairs of shoes should give you the mileage of three pairs. So buying four pairs might give me the mileage of 6 or seven pairs!
I keep a pair of shoes in my gym locker that are for short runs (I run about 6 miles at lunch most days of the week) and I keep I keep a pair at home for long runs. Every couple of week these pairs of shoes will be rotated with the fresh pairs. It will be easier this time since each pair is a different color.
So I went to the outlet mall a few weeks ago and procured all of the shoes that I will need to train / race me through to the Mardi Gras Marathon in February and then Boston in April. I can usually get between 250 and 450 miles per pair of shoes. With 4 new pairs shoes it should easily be enough to train, race 4 half marathons, a 12K, a 25K , a 30k and 2 marathons. At an average of 50 miles per week that will be right at 1600 miles.
2 pair of Reeboks and 2 pair of Under Armour (new at the outlet mall)
How many pairs of running shoes are currently in your closet? (I’ll count mine tonight - although I am afraid to know just how many pairs I have.)