Transitioning to New Running Shoes


I’ve never used your shoes and am hoping to get them this week, since I have a marathon on Sunday.

That is a direct quote from a potential customer, and causes me much concern.

One of my golden rules as a runner is that any change in your running routine be done gradually with extreme care.

Even a new pair of the same shoe model you’ve been running in for five hundred miles, needs to be transitioned in to.

Let’s discuss why

Your body gets adapted to whatever it regularly does.

If you run 4 easy miles every other day, your body gets really good at running 4 miles at an easy pace. If you were to one day decide to join the local running club for a track workout and jump into a 5k race, you’d be wrecked the next day and likely for a few days.

With anything new in your running, the body is what needs breaking in.

My general rule for adding something in to your running routine is to add one day a week. This would work for:

  • A new pair of shoes, even if they’re the same model as your current pair.
  • Treadmill running (if winter is coming up)
  • New terrain (if you’re starting more trail or road running)

Let’s take a new pair of shoes, for example. They arrive on a Friday. The worst thing you could possibly do is a race in them during the weekend. I’d suggest simply wearing them around casually for a few days. Be them our leather shoes or shoes with a mesh upper, the material will soften up a bit from their fresh out of the box condition.

Even if they’re the same model as your current pair, they’re different. Your old pair has a softer upper plus the sole is worn and compressed in certain areas. This changes your running form and how your feet are loaded when wearing them vs your new pair.

So let’s say you wore them a bit during the weekend. This week take them out for your shortest and easiest run of the week, likely no more than an hour. 30 minutes would even be best.

Now the following week you could take them out for a couple easy runs. With three weeks and six or so runs in them you should be good to make them a regular part of the rotation.

It is important to note that running in at least a couple different shoes could potentially reduce your risk of injury.

Also if you’re increasing your average running volume or hard running, there are other guidelines that work well and should be minded!


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