The right shoe for your running style

Generally, runners run in two kinds of styles – heel strike, and forefoot/midfoot strike. The debate over the “correct” way to run is an ongoing one. Both ways of running has its own pros and cons.

Most of us who start running from a beginner’s level usually run heel strike. It is quite common for runners to land on our heels. The habit comes from the way most modern running shoes are designed, with too much cushioning at the back of the shoe. Coupled with a beginner’s usual mistake to over stride, heel striking becomes the “natural way” to run.

The beginner tends to take steps that are too big, to fuel the illusion of efficiency of covering the same distance with fewer steps. When over-striding happens, we will land on our heels. The excessive shoe cushioning absorbs the shock of heel striking. Hence the illusion of efficiency drives the habit, and the excessive shoe cushioning at the heel supports it.

But hey, as long as it gets us there, right?

Another method of running is forefoot/midfoot striking. Some will argue that forefoot running is the real “natural way” to run, because that is how our foot naturally reacts when we run barefooted. We do not slam our heels to the ground. We land as softly as possible on our forefoot/midfoot, to avoid injuring our feet.

Forefoot/midfoot striking drives the habit of taking smaller and quicker steps. Hence, efficiency is cultivated in energy conservation, in covering the same distance by using less effort or energy.

So it forefoot/midfoot striking the “correct” way to move forward?

Some runners who do not like the “beginner” tag will try to convert the way they run. From heel-striking, we try to change to forefoot/midfoot strike. The most common conversion error is, attempting to convert too quickly.

Ambitious converts try to convert from fully heel-striking, to fully forefoot/midfoot-striking, overnight. We tell ourselves that we will never land on our heels again. We force ourselves to take every stride on our midfoot/forefoot. However, heel strikers tend to have underdeveloped calves. Hence, an ambitious conversion may cause pain in the calves, which may lead to injuries, and may eventually lead to discouragement and a total stop to running.

If running no longer becomes a happy experience, then that is not what we want.

However, some successful converts turn out to have calves that are much stronger than before, and have managed to clock better running times. Some positive signs of midfoot/forefoot striking are an improved running posture, and consequently, a reduction of running injuries. And those who have felt the benefits of forefoot/midfoot striking, never turned back to heel-striking.

To be fair to heel strikers, many runners still land on their heels. Many of us have been running this way since we were born. Heel-strikers can also out-kick forefoot/midfoot strikers with very impressive times! Sometimes, it may still be better to stick to our guns and not change our stride.

So what kind of shoe should you be looking for, if you run a certain way?


If you are a heel-striker, any shoe from the Brooks core range should be suitable. Brooks core shoes come with DNA technology, that incorporates non-newtonian fluid principles into the cushioning of the shoe. Look out for the Glycerin, Ghost, Ravenna, Adrenaline GTS, Trance and Beast.


If you are a forefoot/midfoot striker, any shoe from the Brooks Pure Project series will be good. The Pure Project series are made much lighter, and the structure of the shoe encourages you to land on your forefoot/midfoot. Look for the Pure Connect, Pure Flow, Pure Cadence and Pure Drift.

Whichever way you run, we only wish one thing for you. That you will run happy!

Explore posts in the same categories: Expert advice

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