There’s something uniquely satisfying, comforting and refreshing about slipping your feet into a fresh and brand new pair of running shows. The unworn and untarnished soles are bouncy, airy and haven’t been bruised – making you feel more confident and stronger with each step as they help you fly along the pavement. The rubber traction hasn’t yet been erased by rugged roads and the foam interior has yet to be pummeled by the sheer speed of your feet pounding down on the material as you rack up hundreds of miles.
Every runner has, at one time or another, experienced the heavenly sensation of taking their brand spanking new pair of shoes out for their “first run” and breaking them in. When you buy a new sneaker that’s more dynamic, better constructed and withstands more of the elements, your old shoes sometimes just won’t measure up to handling the challenges you put them through from one run to another.
Other runners are notorious for buying multiple pairs of shoes for different purposes – working out at the gym, treadmill running, trail running and even walking. Who can forget that one pair of shoes you need for those light evening jogs or recovery runs that you don’t want to spend over one hundred dollars on?
With so many types of running shoes on the market – and runners trying to keep up with what’s “in” and what “performs the best,” many might wonder what’s the big deal with having SO MANY pairs? And, can we ever really have too many pairs of shoes?
If your closet is big enough – and can accommodate your obsession – go for it!
If you’re a sneaker fiend because your running habits and other physical activities are so diverse, you probably have the right idea – and there are plenty of health-related reasons to keep several of your top-performing shoes in constant rotation. What makes certain shoes worthy of being obsessed over? Getting out that wallet and splurging on another pair may be in order after you think about all of the reasons to add to your burgeoning collection.
Support And Speed
Experts always harp on how often runners should justifiably replace their shoes. The most obvious being that excessively worn shoes, after a few months and years of wear and tear, stop providing the correct or adequate support needed for safe strides during running. Avoiding injury due to a shoe whose sole is worn out, falling apart and withering, is the main argument for investing in new shoes.
Athletes always recommend replacing your shoes based on how many miles you run on average in each pair and how often you run. Long distance runners may want to replace their shoes a minimum of every six months, where those who don’t run as often or as far can probably hold off for about a year unless, like me, they’ve got a handful of different kicks they alter between every time they go for a run just for the fun of it!
Whether you believe it or not, new shoes can improve your performance and boost your speed, even if you don’t want to buy the hype! It doesn’t matter if you’re a Nike, Asics, Saucony or New Balance fan, for example, even the best and most expensive brands may not survive years of marathon runs and hours on end of pavement poundings that can be abrasive to the protective materials. Having the right support also means preventing shin splints – which are usually caused by poor performing shoes with soles that aren’t made to outlast or withstand the impact of running.
When you think about the physical mechanics of running, everyone runs differently with a different technique, stride and “stomping” factor. Some runners put more pressure on their heels during their treks and others need more support at the ball of their feet when running up hills and inclines.
One of the reasons it’s vital to own multiple pairs of running shoes is to accommodate different runs in while also providing flexibility for an array of surfaces.
Dirt? Rocks? Concrete? Pebbles? Grass? There are shoes made just for conquering all of these foundations! Running on all of these surfaces with the same pair of shoes repeatedly may wind up ruining the support and shock absorbency of your shoes over time. And with so many kicks on the market built with responsive technology, why hesitate to treat yourself to a pair that functions for all of your runs in all types of environments?
Sticking to your comfy and familiar worn out kicks may backfire if you find yourself struggling to pick up speed and pace with your feet due to eroded soles and diminishing rubber materials.
Don’t Wait – Keep Those Kicks Up To Date!
One of my favorite excuses for buying new shoes isn’t just because it’s fun – and a pleasure – to break them in and experience the “running on a cloud” sensation. It’s also partially due to the fact that there are so many models and editions of running shoes that are “updated in design” along with athletic benefits.
As a runner, it’s imperative to have a little something extra added to our shoe collection – such as an aerodynamic shape that provides a “catapulting” motion for our feet. Let’s take an example like Nike’s Pegasus Zoom series – it’s one of the many brands reportedly built for faster-paced runs with end of the heel, shaped in such a way that it virtually “propels” your feet forward. Other brands like Asics and Brooks have thicker foam structures that are always being modified with different breathability materials that haven’t been used before.
Also, finding out that your favorite brand has released a new waterproof design for rainy day runs may be the trifecta of shoe shopping! If you’ve been wearing the same shoes for years made of the same materials, you can -at some point – decide to purchase a pair that can better take on dirt and puddles and repel water. It’s a great excuse to add these styles to your collection! Athletic companies find all different ways to update their waterproof technology – whether the exterior has a cool new nylon mesh upper or sleek-looking rubber sole with rigid grippage made to handle tougher traction.
One of the ways designers are trying to update their models is equipping them with laces that don’t have to be tied or are made with laces woven into the upper part of the shoe.
We probably won’t find those automated Nike shoes to run in like the tech-savvy pair featured in “Back to The Future,” but who knows what types of transformations our favorite trainers will take on in years to come!
Staying In Style Looks And Feels Good
Ultra sneakerheads usually have to – or try to – match their threads with their kicks. Even runners who love to wear brightly colored attire might find a pair of funky neon running shoes and think: “This would perfectly match my reflective t-shirt!”
Sometimes when we’re eyeing that hot pairs of sneakers in the store, we don’t want to admit that the real reason for investing in yet another pair of shoes is because they’re stylish, colorful and perfectly matches something in our athletic wardrobe.
Since the fashion era of sneaker-matching tracksuits isn’t over, hunting for a running shoe that compliments your outfit – and can outlast a long run – is a good excuse to add another pair to your inventory. You may have been cautious about purchasing colorful shoes just for the sake of pairing it with a well-coordinated race outfit, but when you look good, you feel good – and, subsequently, when you feel good, you perform even better!
A Shoe For Every Activity
Not all running or athletic shoes are versatile in nature. You’re at the gym, you’re walking along a nature trail, you’re taking on city streets…It’s fair to assume that you’re not going to wear the same shoes to strength train as you would to run a 10K race. You may even wear different shoes for banging out a couple of miles on the treadmill instead of wearing the pair you strap on for outdoor running since the shock absorbency and strides are so diverse.
Of course, runners are expected to have dozens of pairs of sneakers, with each serving a unique purpose. Some athletes who run also play other sports, like tennis, basketball etc. Having a sneaker obsession is completely justified when you need to allocate certain pairs for specific athletic activities. You may even have a pair that you only wear to exercise in at home. Your sneaker addiction may grow once you realize just how many contrasting activities your feet endure as an athlete.
Just by browsing the selections at your local athletic shop will prove that there’s a shoe for everything and you have unlimited options. With sections for every type of shoe for both men and women, it’s easy to get sucked into splurging!
Investing For “Healthy Feet”
Fungus, mold, mildew, bacteria, germs, blisters…Yuck!
After quite some time, old shoes become a hotbed for a slew of growths and microscopic dangers that could potentially turn your average run into trying to ward off ringworm, athlete’s foot or other fungal infections.
It’s also not fun to take on a race when you’ve improperly dried a pair of wet shoes and now the deformed foam material or padding is cramping your toes and ankles, resulting in blisters and bunions that ruin your performance. Among the other ailments caused by old and possibly worn out shoes includes ingrown toenails and corns that could take days to treat/heal, infringing on your training time.
Healthy feet need to be kept dry, protected and in a structured shoe that simultaneously allows for fluid movement. Depending on how old your kicks actually are, the worn out soles and inners/insoles can have bad long-term results. When your old shoes have a funky odor you just can’t get rid of, it might also be time to pick up a better pair that lets your tootsies breathe better as you run.
The Shoe “Downgrade”
Have you decided that you’re finally going to spoil yourself with that expensive pair of running shoes but don’t want to part with those old reliable shoes? Many of us, instead of throwing our old kicks away, “downgrade” them to be used for light to moderate activities.
If your old pair of running shoes are beaten up, worn down and now lack the support and structure you need to get through a run, you can always put them in another section of your closet to be worn for leisure walks, garden/housework or maybe a trip to the store.
“Downgrading” still leads to having a huge collection of shoes since you’re not parting with them or throwing them away. At least you’re finding a use for them while you grow your newest collections!
Our Feet Change – So Should Our Kicks!
After many years of running, and over time, the structure and shape of some people’s feet change. What’s more, runners may change their form, style and muscle use over time which then requires a different type of shoe that can accommodate their changing strides.
If you’re a newbie and you’ve just started wearing a cool pair of shoes to hit the pavement, you may be surprised to see and feel how your feet change after just a few months – and then years!
Are you convinced yet that runners can never have enough pairs of shoes? No matter which brand you choose – and even if you’re on a budget – don’t hesitate to keep a few top-performing pair of kicks in circulation! There’s no need to feel guilty about treating your feet. They deserve the best!
- Who What Wear, 20 Stylish Running Sneakers
- Mens Journal, When Should You Really Replace Your Running Shoes
- LA Times, How Running Shoes Change the Muscles in Your Feet
- Medical News Today, Ten Common Foot Problems