There’s a lot of bad advice out there about running. This blog post will begin my efforts to help my readers improve their running with evidence-based information.
Each week I’ll attempt to present some form of running-related research and how it can be applied to an individual’s training and/or rehabilitation.
This week, I’ll be discussing how alternating running shoes can minimize running injuries based on a study published in 2015 in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. You can read the abstract below.
Type of Study
Prospective Cohort Study over the course of 5 months
- A prospective cohort study is a study that follows similar individuals (or cohorts) over a period of time to determine how certain factors affect certain outcomes.
264 healthy, adult runners. 116 participants used one running shoe while the remaining 148 alternated between 2, or more, running shoes.
Over the course of the study, 87 individuals were injured.
A statistical analysis (called an adjusted Cox proportional hazard regression analysis) was performed to determine if alternating running shoes had a protective effect against sustaining a running-related injury.
And it did!
In fact, those who alternated different running shoes had a 39% lower risk of sustaining a running-related injury compared to those who used only one shoe.
The authors theorized, “A possible explanation would be that the alternation of running shoes induces a variation in the type of physical load applied to the musculoskeletal system.”
Within the conclusion of this paper, several different research articles were cited to demonstrate that different running shoes have been demonstrated to alter:
- The external impact forces associated with running
- The way a runner moves (kinematics)
- Muscle activity
In my opinion, the best way to prevent running injuries is to follow a training plan that allows for adequate tissue adaptation time.
But if something simple, such as alternating running shoes, has been demonstrated to decrease injury risk by 39%, that is certainly something I’m going to invest in.
There are the two primary shoes I’m alternating between: the Saucony Kinvara (left) and Hoka Clifton (right) courtesy of Fleet Feet Sports, Augusta.
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section of my Facebook or Instagram pages. What types of shoes are you using in your training?