Do you need different running shoes for every surface? Not only you, but the majority of people want to know the answer. If you run frequently, then It’s necessary to have multiple pairs of shoes.

Running in the same shoes for every surface creates a wear pattern that increases gait issues. Swapping shoes is absolutely great as it ensures a lower risk of developing repetitive injuries. Plus, you get a longer life span from each because of not abusing.

Beyond all the suggestions, you have to choose the best running shoe that exactly suits your feet’ posture. Here we’ll guide you on which surface you should select the type of shoes and why it matters.

What Surface Are You Running On?

Whether you’re jogging or training for a marathon, the appropriate shoe can make the experience more enjoyable and complement your running style. Let’s go through the different surfaces for  running shoes:


While running on the grass, you have to select a shoe with less cushioning but a sturdy build. There are many high-quality running shoes to use on grass. Pick the one that is more comfy, supportive as well as positive toward your health. Choose the kind of shoes that can guard your plantar fascia and ligaments.


Wear higher cushioning running shoes for asphalt or concrete surfaces. These cushions on the shoes can have an impact on your gait, and in consequence, you’ll get a smoother ride.


The majority of roads are made of concrete, which is mostly 60% of all interstates. Running on these types of roads may not be ideal due to the fact that your legs may feel shock after running on them. Running shoes that give extra support and high cushioning can be the pair to run on the concrete.


Packed sand can be the best surface as it’s soft but stable. Depending on the firmness of the sand, select your running shoe. But the fact is that most of the sand is unstable, so choose the sand shoe that matches the level of your body’s needs.

Trail Running or Dirt

A moderately cushioned surface together with a level of traction underfoot can be the best-running shoe coherence on a hard-packed trail. A loosely packed trail will necessitate a more aggressive outsole to prevent slippage on the rocky or muddy sections.

Why Should You be Swapping Running Shoes?

It’s the worst thing that could happen to you when your favorite shoe model suddenly changes. A perfect shoe that is rotated has a longer lifespan and helps prevent the risk of injuries.

If this shoe that you always used to run isn’t the right fit for you, it could lead to muscle imbalances. It can drive to stride difficulties and pain. Running shoes that were rotated through at least two models were shown to be 39 percent less likely to be injured in the study by NCBI (National Library Of Medicine).

How many running shoes should You have?

Some neutral running shoes can support you on most surfaces. However, when you constantly use only one pair of shoes, it’ll shoulder all the weight. On the other hand, having multiple pairs of high-quality running shoes spreads out the stress you place on them.

This allows them to last longer. As a runner, if you run at least 4 days a week, you’ll require at least two pairs of shoes that you can actively use on a regular basis.

What Type of Running Shoes Do You Need?

There are different running shoes available, but which will match your needs? Let’s get to the point:

  • Natural Running Shoe: If you have no problem with your gate and working on adjusting your muscle imbalances, then these shoes are for you.
  • Minimal shoe & Maximal Shoe: Usually between 4-8 mm heel to toe is minimal shoes. Maximum shoes have a larger sole with lots of cushions.
  • Barefoot Shoe: It’s lower to the ground and less cushioned. Be careful, using these kinds of shoes causes frequent injuries to the runners.
  • Zero Drop Shoe: It is also called a minimal barefoot running shoe. There is no cushioning and level to the direct flat surface.
  • Motion Control Shoes: These types of shoes have stiffer heels as well as give medical support to those who have moderate or even severe overpronation.
  • Cushioned Running Shoes: These kinds of shoes are designed to absorb the force of an impact.
  • Stability Shoes: For those runners who need to improve a foot that rolls inward.
  • Trail Shoes: These will provide more traction and grip, which you can use not only on the trail but also in the snow.
  • Road Shoes: For those who want to run on sidewalks, roads, and treadmills together with the track.
  • Cross-training shoes: These are made for those who work out in the gym, cross-training, or do any balance activity.

How long should run shoes last?

Like other products, shoes also have their own lifespan. Though they are well-designed, they won’t last forever. Most high-quality running shoes should last between 300 and 500 miles. This will last roughly 4 to 6 months for those who run 20 miles a week.

Does a Shoe’s Cushioning Matter?

According to studies, heavier shoes help you create greater aerobic energy. The lightweight shoe has less cushioning than heavier shoes, which makes them feel faster. Having more cushioning can be a better alternative if you’re traveling long distances because it absorbs impact.

Anatomy of Running Shoe

It’s essential to know the anatomy of a running shoe while choosing the best one. Let’s dig a little deeper-

  • Upper: This part of the shoe is made with fabric, leather, mesh or knit, which hugs the top of your leg by the laces. Sometimes uppers are secure and have tighter stitching.
  • Midsole: This is the part that you’ll find between the sole and the outsole. It’s usually made of foam and dictates whether the ride will be cushioned, stable, or motion-controlled.
  • Drop: Drop in the running shoes means the differences between the height and the barefoot. The drop shoe is measured in millimeters from 0 mm to 12+mm.
  • Last or Shape: Considering the types of shoes, there are three shapes you’ll find. They are- curved, semi-curved, and straight.
  • Outsole: Outsole means the bottom of the shoe. This is made of carbon rubber and blown rubber. The shoe’s outsole plays a crucial role in stability, grip, and traction.

Different Running Shoes for Different Speeds

Depending on the speed, each shoe will deliver different running experiences. On the day when you choose to slow run, a soft and cushioned shoe can be the best solution for you. When you opt for a tempo pace running, extremely lightweight shoes can do the work.

How long should running shoes last?

The lifespan of most running shoes is up to 500 miles, but the last of your shoe depends on various things.  It depends on how frequently you run and what surface you use. The most important thing is if you rotate your running shoes, they can last for a longer period.

Wrapping Up

Some people have multiple shoes in their running shoe rotation, and you may be wondering if this is truly required. Now you should know the reason for that. If you have multiple pairs of shoes, then it’ll be easy for you to select the perfect one that suits your speed on every surface.

However, before selecting shoes for every surface, consider these things: comfort, performance, flexibility, and support. Like if you’re feeling a little tired, then choose the softer and more cushioned shoe. On the other hand, if you’re feeling energetic, go for the fast, lightweight running shoe that will be more responsive to your foot.

David James
Hi, David James! I am working on different blogs from last couple of years ago. I usually write related to different shoes; their reviews and buying guides.