How to build a running shoe rotation

A runner’s most valuable possession is without a doubt their running shoes.

You may be the type of runner who likes to alternate between responsiveness and soft cushioning during your training. Or maybe you prefer using the same shoe every day no matter what type of session you are going for. After all, if you have found the perfect shoe for you, why would you change?

While it’s totally OK for beginners to use (or better start with) one running shoe, more advanced runners would benefit from rotating between multiple pairs. This is why in this article we are going to outline the benefits of a running shoe rotation and how to build one that works for you.


1. Making the most out of each training session

Different running shoes are built with different sets of characteristics that make them more suitable for specific uses and training, to help you make the most out of your sessions in the best way possible. Training can be hard sometimes, so why wouldn’t you rely on the shoe that has the most appropriate specs to make your training as easy and efficient as possible?

2. Keeping a wider spectrum of muscles active and strong

Each running shoe has its own unique combination of features that will train different muscles of the legs and feet during your training. If you are used to running in the same shoe for every run over a long period of time, by consequence you will be going to solicit the same fibers stride after stride, in each run.

But if you think about it, by doing so how many fibers are you not training? And that is where the second benefit of a running shoe rotation comes in: different pairs with different features will help you keep a wider spectrum of muscles active.

3. Extending the lifespan of your shoes

We tend to think that we are the only ones who need to recover after a run. However also the midsole foam needs some “recovery time” to fully bounce back after your training.

So if you are training multiple times a week, rotating your running shoes will allow the foam to fully regenerate. This will not only extend the lifespan of your shoe – by delaying the feeling of lifelessness that kicks in when a shoe is ready to retire - but will also ensure you can fully benefit from the same comfort and features the next time you lace up.

When it comes to the upper part of a shoe, it is very important to keep it clean, and rotating your shoes gives you the time to do that properly.

During your run, you accumulate dust, salt from your sweat and in some cases even dirt in the fibers of the upper mesh, which, if not removed, can cause some premature tearings after a while.A very unclean upper mesh will also be more rigid, and will not fold and stretch naturally which might damage the upper prematurely in the long run.

Rinsing your shoes regularly in cold water and letting them dry naturally will help you keep your shoes in the best conditions.


Now that we explored some of the key benefits of implementing a running shoe rotation into your routine as a runner, the next step is creating one. How to do it in a way that works for you comes down to what type of runner you are, your goals and your training schedule.

Are you a fan of tempo runs and fast races? Or maybe prefer jogging and easy runs? Depending on what your running schedule looks like, different shoes can help you make the most out of your sessions in full comfort.

A versatile shoe for any road adventure

For mixed training, from long runs to speed workouts, a versatile daily performance trainer like Altra Rivera 2 is a shoe that can satisfy all your training needs. Ready to provide miles of comfort as well as responding well to faster paces when needed.


A shoe for fast trainings

For short, fast intervals and tempo runs, a lightweight and responsive shoe like Altra Escalante Racer will help you reach faster paces. Fine-tuned for speed, this road style features a powerfully plush midsole and lower stack height that make it the go-to machine for maximum reactivity when pounding the pavement or circling the track during your speed training session.


A shoe for long runs

For long-distance runs with medium or varied paces, a more cushioned shoe like Altra Torin 5 will help you keep your legs fresh and ensure miles of comfort whilst still providing a responsive feel during faster segments.


A shoe for support when you need it the most

For those times when you crave a little extra foot guidance in your runs, a support shoe will be the best ally in your quiver, such as Altra Provision 6. Thanks to its dynamic support features, this shoe naturally provides the support you need, only when you need it the most.

Even those who identify themselves as “neutral” runners can benefit from the shoe’s added features. For more information on this topic, check out our article on the difference between Neutral and Dynamic Support shoes.


A shoe for race day

Looking for a new PB on race day? Then you need a shoe that helps you reach full speed in each stride without sacrificing comfort, like Altra Vanish Carbon. This carbon-plated race shoe is engineered to provide maximum propulsion, without altering the way your body was designed to run.


For more help with finding the next Altra shoe to add to your shoe rotation, check out our Shoe Finder or take an overview of our full range.

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