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Racing in new shoes


How late is too late to change shoes before a big race? There are no hard and fast rules, but essentially it’s never too late. And besides, rules are made to be broken aren’t they?

Rule 1: If it’s not broken, don’t fix it

Whilst old shoes are comfortable and familiar, they’re tired from all the training you’ve done! Shoes lose cushioning, and responsiveness as they age, and the older your shoes are, the greater your injury risk. You may have forgotten how good a new pair of shoes can feel to run in! You’ll know as soon as you do that your old shoes are ready for the garden.

Rule 2: Don’t try anything new on race day

Running in brand new shoes on race day is not recommended, but it has been done many times before. The cushioning materials used to manufacture shoes these days are fantastic. Your shoes should be comfortable right from the get go, and you shouldn’t need to wear them in at all.

However, it’s still recommended that you run in new shoes a couple of times during training prior to race day. Ideally you want to purchase new shoes a couple of weeks prior to race day, and run in them a few times. If you’re running in a different type/style of shoe compared to what you’re used to, it can take a couple of runs to get used to a different feeling.

Running in a more relaxed and controlled environment means you have the time and ability to deal with potential issues, should they arise. Doing some longer running as well as some faster speed/tempo efforts in these shoes during training will ensure that the shoes will be comfortable and suitable for your race.

Article written by: Emily Donker (podiatrist, runner and running coach at intraining Running Centre)

For more articles and information about running, injuries and footwear – check out our monthly ‘From the Sole‘ newsletter written by our intraining podiatry, physiotherapy, dietitian and coaching team.