The results of an interesting study show that switching between different pairs of shoes may help prevent running-related injuries. Published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, the study of 264 recreational runners found that those who used multiple pairs of running shoes over a 22-week observation period had a significantly lower risk of running-related injury than those who used only one pair.
During the study, researchers from the Public Research Centre for Health in Luxembourg recorded information about the runners such as running shoe use and running-related injuries on an internet-based electronic database. Multiple shoe users were defined as those who reported at least two different pairs of running shoes, different brand, model, or version, in the system and who alternated between them at least two times during the observation period. Multiple shoe users wore their predominant pair of shoes for an average of only 58% of their running sessions.
Runners in the multiple-shoe group had a 39% lower rate of running-related injury than runners who predominantly used only one pair of shoes, and had a hazard ratio of .614. Increased mean session distance (hazard ratio .795) and increased weekly participation in sports other than running (hazard ratio .848) were also found to be protective against running-related injury, while history of previous injury was a risk factor (hazard ratio 1.722).
The study authors believe that alternating running shoes may reduce injury risk by providing variation in the type of physical load applied to the body but alert that other factors may have to be considered.
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