Can You Have Too Many Pairs of Running Shoes?

The short answer is yes. But the long answer is no, and you better not be using just one pair! Is there an ideal number of shoes you should have? That’s not for me to say, but I believe there is a minimum every healthy runner should have. Let me explain.

Are you following a training plan for a specific race?


If you answered yes to this question, then you should have at least two, if not three, different pairs of shoes. The top priority is your long-run shoe, which should be super comfy and super protective of whatever issue you worry about. Next, you will want a lightweight, go-fast shoe. You can use this for short runs and speed work. Often times this shoe will become your race day shoe as well, because it is lighter and will make you a more efficient runner. Lastly, you could add a racing flat into the mix. You would use the flat strictly for track workouts. This “minimal” type of shoe will help reinforce good form and help build lower leg strength. The lightweight go-fast shoe will do some of the same, but the racing shoe would be more effective.

Are you running simply for health and sanity sake?

If this describes your situation, I would say that you still need at least two pairs of shoes in your rotation. Every physical therapist I know says that the quickest way to get hurt is to run the same speed, on the same surface, for the same amount of time, in the same shoes. You need to change things up, to challenge your body to adapt. Repetition can quickly lead to overuse injuries. So if you want to stay healthy, you need to run on the trails sometimes, go long occasionally, or run faster for less time, and you need to change shoes. And make sure the pairs are different weights and put your feet in different positions and postures. This will help you develop a strong, reliable core to build on and keep you moving!