Heel strike Running

Heel strike Running: The best way to Keep Us Healthy

Heel strike running is a phenomenon whereby the heels of a runner make first contact with the ground, followed by the ball of your foot. Most people have grown accustomed to this style of running since it requires so little effort. The majority of runners will have slightly different strides and landing zones from one run to the next.

Is Heel Strike Running Bad?

The arch is one of nature’s most structurally durable shapes. It is a fundamental component, as stonemasons and bridge builders have understood for ages. When we place our feet heel-first, a variety of ligaments and tendons that absorb stress and store elastic energy are partially missed.

If you naturally strike your heels and don’t experience many injuries, you probably have nothing to be concerned about. If you consistently experience knee or other pain after a run, you might try changing your running style to a mid- or forefoot stride to see if that helps.

Adidas Solarglide 5 heel strike sneakers

Although it is frequently stated that [mid or forefoot striking] is associated with lower injury risk, there is currently insufficient information to draw any conclusions about the association between strike pattern and injury risk. In other words, the data just don’t support the notion that heel striking is a fundamentally bad or harmful running technique.

A study did discover that habitual mid and forefoot strikers have a somewhat lower rate of repetitive stress damage than heel strikers.

Striking with the mid- or forefoot comes with its own unique set of issues. The plantar flexors, which include the calf and Achilles muscles and the tendons that control foot and toe movement, experience higher stress. Therefore, switching from a heel to a forefoot strike could not significantly affect the overall injury rate, but it might change the kind of injury a runner is most likely to sustain.

Heel Strike Running Shoes 

It’s crucial to get running shoes with plenty of cushioning and support in all the appropriate places if you’re one of the many runners who are prone to heel strikes.

The ideal running shoes for heel strikers assist you in developing neutral running mechanics, protecting your feet upon landing, minimizing strain on the heel, and absorbing stress during impact to prevent knee soreness.

Important features include:

Midsole Cushioning

To reduce impact during strides, runners who land on their heels need a responsive, cushioned midsole. While some heel strikers prefer a shoe that is especially plush, others find that moderate cushioning is more comfortable.

High Heel-to-Toe Drop

It describes a height variation between the heel and the forefoot, as well as a cushion in the heel, which results in a softer landing. It also guarantees that the foot rolls correctly when pushing off the ground. 

Bevelled Heel

To enable the foot to touch the ground more gradually, the outsole of a heel-striking running shoe should have an inclined curve or heel spring. Rather than immediately landing on a sharp edge, that is more comfortable.

The Top Running Shoes for Heel Strikers

1. Saucony Ride 15: 

Its features include bevelled heels and an 8 mm heel-to-toe drop. The midsole and insole are made of soft foam, which offers exceptional cushioning without adding weight. The outcome is a smooth ride with the ideal amount of giving, flexibility, and support. This provides stability and aids in preventing both pronation and supination when combined with the wide base.

Saucony Ride 15 for heel  strike running

2.  Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35

It boasts a seamed upper for a better fit and is constructed of lightweight, resilient, and responsive Nike React foam. This shoe is perfect for heel strikers thanks to its bevelled edge heel and 10mm heel drop. 

heel strike running pegasus

The Pegasus 39 sports a little more flared heel, similar to previous Nike running shoes. To improve landing and facilitate a quicker heel-toe transition.

3. Adidas Solarglide 5

The Adidas Solarglide 5 offers a generous heel stack, an outstanding 10mm drop, and a bevelled rearfoot outsole—everything you could possibly want in a running shoe for heel strikers.

The Boost foam core is responsive and cushioned, but not excessively soft. The bevelled heel is also articulated for improved responsiveness and durability, which helps with transitions.

Adidas Solarglide 5 heel strike running shoe

Heel strike pain

Running puts a lot of force on the legs, and heel strikes stimulate overstriding, which slows you down. 

Joint pain and spinal problems can occasionally result from heel striking. However, midfoot and forefoot runners are equally vulnerable to ailments such as ankle or Achilles tendon sprains. 

Heel strike exercise 

Before running, warm up for only five minutes with various drills. Some instances of drills are:

  • marching
  • high-knees
  • backwards-running 
  • side-shuffles 
  • skips

These exercises may be beneficial as you will learn how to position yourself and land on your front or middle foot.

Run barefoot

Try barefoot running on soft ground like grass. Without shoes, you can more easily determine your natural stride and learn how to run at your best.

How to stop heel striking

There is no actual reason to alter your running foot strike, according to specialists, if you are not currently injured or prone to injuries. On the other hand, if you frequently suffer from knee or other ailments, you might want to work on improving how much you land on the middle or balls of your feet when you run.

You might gradually begin to change your foot strike. Landing on the middle or balls of your feet may seem unusual at first. Start with brief runs lasting a few minutes at a time, during which you consciously alter your running style.

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