Best Running Shoes for Forefoot Strikers – Forefoot running has both its benefits and drawbacks. On the positive, many running experts claim forefoot running is efficient: landing toward the front of your feet acts as a proper cushioning blow so that your joint and body receives minimal impact. Running Shoes for Forefoot Strikers
Unfortunately, most running shoe companies cater more toward midfoot and heel strikers, who collectively constitute the bulk of runners. But great forefoot running shoes do exist. Using data (courtesy of Shoekicker) from over 4,000 runners, we found the best running shoe data for forefoot strikers.
Have you been tempted to try and change your running technique to adopt a forefoot or midfoot striking contact pattern? Making such a fundamental change at foot-level has certainly be en vogue amongst runners and triathletes in recent years, with lots of media rhetoric and pseudo-science fuelling the fire.
Best Running Shoes for Forefoot Strikers
Research is sketchy at best in terms of which type of foot strike is most efficient, and less likely to result in injury – with the most sensible current outcome being that some runners will be more or less suited to forefoot running depending on many factors.
In the many distance runners and triathletes I meet who have tried to self-coach a change in contact pattern to adopt a forefoot strike, there is one overwhelming mistake I see them making, often resulting in injury to the calf and achilles tendon complex: The tendency to run too far forwards ‘on their toes’, not allowing their heel to touch the ground AT ALL.
While this kind of forefoot strike pattern feels wonderfully light and efficient in the short-term, it often this leads to injury as we increase the training load.
Best Womens Running Shoes for Forefoot Strikers
Best Running Shoes for Forefoot Strikers – Salomon S-Lab Sense 6
The majority of users considered the Salomon S-Lab Sense 6 as a light and durable pair of trail running shoe. It provides runners the right amount of cushioning, grip, comfort, and protection needed for a better off-road performance.
A good number of consumers were happy with the Altra Escalante. Many of them praised the cushioning system, its apparently soft upper unit and its general durability. But there were those who complained about the inconsistent sizing scheme, as well as the discomfort that they felt from using this shoe. Overall, the response for this running shoe was mixed-to-positive.
Best Running Shoes for Forefoot Strikers – Asics 33-M 2
Many runners have found great service and performance from the 33-M 2 from Asics. It has supportive components, a breathable coverage and durable parts. It’s a solid option for daily running.
Altra Torin 3.0
The Altra Torin 3.0 has certainly acquired many fans worldwide through its remarkable cushioning and firm grip both inside and outside the shoe. It was deemed excellent on inclines and the asphalt; however, based on the users’ experiences, the pair can use an improvement to the design of its forefoot region.
Best Running Shoes for Forefoot Strikers – Merrell Trail Glove 4
Many claimed that the Merrell Trail Glove 4 is one of the most appealing shoes that a runner could ever have. A lot of testers admired the flexibility, slip resistance, construction and durability of the shoe. Trail Runners recommended the Merrell Trail Glove 4 because of its appealing and stylish look. They also commented that the shoe performed fairly well on short and long trail running sessions, with minimal pain at the start of wearing the shoe.
Vibram FiveFingers V-Trail
The V-Trail is a minimalist off-road shoe that is suitable for runners and racers who are relatively experienced in barefoot running. It is designed to handle rough trails, including slush and muck that is usually brought about by winter conditions. The structure of this shoe is made to withstand tough use by adventurous wearers.
Best Running Shoes for Forefoot Strikers – Nike Flex Fury 2
The Flex Fury 2 from Nike is the next version of an up-and-coming series that has garnered much praise. Now, it features some of the technologies that have made most Nike shoes more efficient and formidable on the market. It’s a great running partner for daily training and casual walks.
Inov-8 Terraclaw 220
The Inov-8 Terraclaw 220 applauded by most runners because it is very lightweight, comfortable and versatile. It is a great trail running shoe that offers a combination of performance and protection. It is ideal for racing and moderately technical trails.
Best Men’s Running Shoes for Forefoot Strikers
Best Running Shoes for Forefoot Strikers – Merrell Trail Glove 4 E-Mesh
The Merrell Trail Glove 4 E-Mesh is a lightweight neutral shoe designed for trail running. Plenty of runners found it to be ready right out the box. Other reviewers appreciated the support and durability it delivered. On top of this, the outsole exhibited sufficient traction on most surfaces. Some runners noticed that the size was somewhat larger, but the difference wasn’t that significant. Despite a few negative reviews, the shoe still proved to be comfortable which helped with runners’ leg and foot issues.
Best Running Shoes for Forefoot Strikers – Hoka One One Arahi 2
The Hoka One One Arahi 2 received mostly positive reviews from those who have tried it. This stability shoe apparently performed to the expectations of the majority, with most commending its stable and comfortable sole unit, its agreeable looks, and its robust construction. But there were those who had complaints about the design and the components, stating that these issues caused discomfort and an inconsistent fit.
Saucony Xodus ISO Runshield
Saucony’s beast of a trail shoe unveils a new ISOFIT upper that keeps the weight off with more than enough support. Additionally, the Runshield takes the shoe to another level as the water-resistant upper makes it an even more versatile shoe where usage in inclement weather goes. The rugged shoe offers luxurious comfort and pretty light for a muscled trail monster.
Best Running Shoes for Forefoot Strikers – Vivobarefoot Stealth II
Many will find that the Stealth II is a relatively durable running shoe that reaches its goal in making barefooted running easy and enjoyable. The shoe delivers comfort and flexibility while remaining visually appealing. It is not recommended for runners who want a shoe that promotes minimalist running.
As a new running shoe on the market, the Altra Solstice has done an excellent job of making its mark on consumers. Numerous reviews praised the shoe for its functional features and comfortable ride. Although some users have reported issues regarding fit, it did not seem to be the case for the majority. Overall, the Solstice has scored high – in performance, appearance, and comfort.
Best Running Shoes for Forefoot Strikers – Saucony Kineta Relay
The Kineta Relay from Saucony is a popular running shoe that many runners have tried out. It’s for daily performance trainings and running activities, offering mild support and lightweight service to the wearer.
Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon MR
The Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon MR is minimalist running shoe designed for off-road running. It is equipped with the necessary technologies to survive the toughest terrain. It is delvers a good combination of durability, comfort and traction.
Best Running Shoes for Forefoot Strikers – Salomon S-Lab XA Amphib
Efficient in adapting to the running environment, the S-Lab XA Amphib is made to deliver a fast ride and a precise support from wet to dry ground. The lugs do a decent job of providing grip where needed, while the upper is reliable in keeping the foot dry and ventilated.
In the video above, I describe the differences between the foot contact of a sprinter and that of a distance athlete. Sprinters need to be able to run with a relatively aggressive forefoot contact pattern, with a super-short contact time, and a great deal of rigidity held in their foot and ankle complex to transfer force.
As such their heels don’t touch the ground at any point during stance phase. Sprint spikes are designed with this in mind! However, that may be appropriate for sprinters, but most of us are endurance athletes and distance runners… not sprinters! Distance runners and triathletes should be sure to consider the specific demands of our sport.
For us, where efficiency is more important than pure power, an effective running form is one that achieves the best trade-off between efficiency (metabolic) and sustainability (injury resilience). In particular, for those racing 5-10km and longer, an effective forefoot or midfoot strike can’t sustainably require you to remain ‘on your toes’ throughout stance phase, in the way that we’d expect to see from a sprinter.
Best Running Shoes for Forefoot Strikers
Remaining on your forefoot throughout stance phase, not allowing the heel to ‘kiss the ground’ as the foot loads maximally, increases demand on the calf and achilles complex, as it has to work excessively to resist the natural dorsiflexion expected at the ankle during mid-stance phase of running gait. Over time, the majority of runners and triathletes who find themselves doing this will, in my experience end up with some sort of lower leg injury.
Instead this is what you should be aiming for: Immediately after initial contact with the forefoot (ball of the foot), allow the foot and ankle to relax allowing the heel to come into contact with the ground as the foot loads maximally and passes under your body as you move forwards.
This important touch-down of the heel on the ground, secondary to the forefoot strike allows the calf and achilles complex to load eccentrically and store energy, doing what it mechanically does best!
This ‘feel the heel touch-down’ has been the most important factor in successful transition to a forefoot / midfoot strike in the many triathletes and runners I’ve helped to develop a more sustainable and efficient running, on our Running Technique.