Best Running Shoes for Heel Strikers

Last updated: September 4, 2021

Running Shoes / Best Running Shoes for Heel Strikers

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The best thing about running is that you only need one thing to start running; good running shoes! So, you must find the ones that feel comfortable and allows you to run long distances without any distress. 

As the name of this article suggests, in this article, we will be focusing on the best running shoes that heel strikers can wear! We have kept various aspects in mind while formulating this list and to further make things clearer for you, we have included an extensive buying guide as well so you know how to find the best shoes!

Best Overall
Brooks Ghost 13
Brooks Ghost 13
Neutral Balance
Under Armour Charged Assert 8
Under Armour Charged Assert 8
Best For Wide Feet
Nike Revolution 5
Nike Revolution 5
Gel Technology
ASICS Gel-Venture 7
ASICS Gel-Venture 7
Shock Absorption
Skechers Energy Afterburn
Skechers Energy Afterburn

Detailed Reviews of the Best Running Shoes for Heel Strikers

1. Brooks Ghost 13 Running Shoes

Key Features

  • Rubber Sole
  • BioMoGo DNA and DNA LOFT cushioning
  • Newly engineered mesh and 3D Print

Reasons to buy

  • Ideal for diabetic patients
  • Soft and stable cushioning
  • Possesses segmented crash pad

Reasons to avoid

  • There should be better cushioning at the ball of the feet

Brooks Ghost 13 Running shoes are reliable, durable, and offer smooth transitions. The unit is a certified PDAC A5500 which means that these are ideal for diabetic people as well. Whether you have a pre-existing foot disease or not, these shoes make sure that you never give up on running. They reduce the risk of skin breakdown and offer you ideal breathability.

It offers neutral support and energized cushioning so whether you are a road runner, cross-training, or just running on a treadmill at the gym, these shoes are ideal for all purposes. The BioMoGo DNA and DNA Loft are the two types of cushioning that work simultaneously to provide the perfect softness underfoot without any decrease in durability or responsiveness.

We liked that the unit felt extremely lightweight yet offered smooth transitions even on the most uneven terrains. No matter how your foot lands on a surface, the segmented crash pad will keep your heels and the rest of the foot protected. It is a system made up of shock absorbers hence these are some of the best shoes that heel strikers can get!

2. Under Armour Charged Assert 8 Running Shoes

Key Features

  • Synthetic sole
  • Neutral shoes
  • Durable leather overlays

Reasons to buy

  • High-quality running shoes
  • Lightweight
  • Durable

Reasons to avoid

  • The back-heel support is rigid so you need to wear thick socks

Under Armour’s Charged Assert 8 running shoes are perfect for runners who want flexibility as well as cushioning in their shoes. The mesh upper is a lightweight fabric that possesses 3-color digital print to allow breathability.

We particularly liked the patterned groves on the shoes because it gives you a solid grip of the ground and makes sure that you can run on any type of surface without any problems. A leather layer in the synthetic sole unit keeps the shoes stable and allows you to exert as much force as possible without any slippage.

Furthermore, it also adorns an EVA sock liner gives runners the comfort they desire while they run for hours without feeling any fatigue in their legs and ankle. The midsole comprises compression molded foam which offers flexibility, responsiveness, and durability. On the other hand, the rubber outsole further enhances the durability of the shoes.

3. Nike Revolution 5 Wide Running Shoes

Key Features

  • Synthetic sole
  • Lightweight knit textile wraps your foot
  • Lightweight cushioning
  • Durable and flexible

Reasons to buy

  • The soft foam midsole provides perfect cushioning
  • The tread has precise spacings for natural foot flex
  • Available in 20 color schemes

Reasons to avoid

  • The outsole makes a loud popping/snapping noise while you walk/run

Whether you like black, grey, colored, or white outsoles, Nike Revolution 5 Wide running shoes have them in all styles! Imported and with a synthetic sole, the pair provides comfortable running. It does not strain your legs or Achilles heel and can definitely be used by heel strikers.

The lightweight cushioning of the midsole is due to the soft foam. It protects your feet from impacts and allows you to move with confident and strong steps. The shoes will not hinder your gait cycle at all! Furthermore, the minimalistic design makes it ideal for any use! You can even wear these while doing groceries or running other chores around the town.

The outsoles are made from rubber and they offer durable traction no matter the type of surface you are on. The spacings in the tread also ensure that the shoes do not slip even an inch. Lastly, the lightweight knit upper unit wraps snuggly around the foot.

4. ASICS Gel-Venture 7 Running Shoes

Key Features

  • Synthetic-and-mesh
  • Rubber Sole
  • Ortholite X-40 Sockliner for moisture management

Reasons to buy

  • Rearfoot GEL technology provides comfort and smooth strides
  • The ortholite sock liner manages sweat and offers breathability
  • Possesses High Abrasion Rubber outsole

Reasons to avoid

  • The laces are thin and flimsy

With more than 20 options for both men and women, ASICS Gel-Venture 7 running shoes are perfect for heel strikers. It features GEL technology as well as an EVA midsole to allow runners to run anywhere they want!

The GEL technology is concentrated in the rearfoot area and it offers shock absorption which is ideal for heel strikers. The ortholite sock liner is made from premium quality material that has rebound properties. It not only provides comfort but also helps in moisture management and breathability. The EVA midsole protects your feet while you are running and also enhances the rebound.

Furthermore, you get extra support because of its strong and sturdy upper unit. It is made from synthetic leather and gives your feet a tight yet comfortable hug. The internal heel counter keeps your foot in its natural line of motion and improves your strides. Lastly, the outsole is made from High Abrasion Rubber so that you can run through any terrain without the danger of slipping.

5. Skechers Energy Afterburn Sneakers

Key Features

  • 100% Synthetic
  • Rubber sole

Reasons to buy

  • Flexible shoes with superb traction
  • Comfortable 
  • Padded heel absorbs impacts

Reasons to avoid

  • The tongue makes squeaking sounds when you first try on the shoes

Sketchers Energy Afterburn Sneakers are cushioned trainers that offer flexibility, breathability, and durability. Whether you want to just go out for a run in the wild or the gym, these shoes can withstand all surfaces smoothly.

These sporty sneakers are super-comfortable and possess a leather upper unit and a padded sole unit so that you get breathability, comfort, and protection all in one pair of shoes. The non-slip outsole offers incredible traction whereas the soft midsole gives you comfort no matter how long you’ve been wearing the shoes.

The padded heel is ideal for beginners who are usually heel strikers. It absorbs the shock and keeps your heel and your Achilles heels perfectly fine. However, these only come in black, white, and grey color combinations which some people might not like.

6. Ryka’s Unisex Running Shoes

Key Features

  • 100% Synthetic
  • Rubber sole
  • Breathable mesh with leather overlays
  • Memory foam

Reasons to buy

  • Leather and mesh breathable upper unit
  • Sports TPU midfoot support and Dual-density heel crash pad
  • Perfect for people with high arches

Reasons to avoid

  • Memory foam is not uniformly distributed

Ryka’s Unisex Running Shoes are perfect for people with high arches. They are comfortable and can be used for longer hours. The material of the upper is breathable and keeps your feet cool during your workout sessions!

It is 100% synthetic with a rubber sole and a leather and mesh upper. The memory foam insole is for providing cushioning at every step of your way whereas the molded EVA midsole features a dual-density heel crash pad and a TPU midfoot support further enhances the cushioning and provides support. So even if you are a heavy heel striker, you will love these shoes!

The rubber outsole is intricately designed so that you have extra traction. They seem durable and can survive through rocky and uneven surfaces. Lastly, the unit is available in six different colors.

7. New Balance FuelCell Prism V1 Running Shoes

Key Features

  • Rubber sole
  • Engineered mesh upper for breathable fit
  • Built for any run

Reasons to buy

  • Wide toe box
  • The midsole offers rebound cushioning
  • Has a breathable mesh upper unit

Reasons to avoid

  • The insole rides up the shoe after a few uses

New Balance FuelCell Prism V1 Running shoes have an engineered upper mesh and a rubber sole. The upper unit offers not only a snug fit but it also ensures that your feet have air ventilation at all times. The EVA midsole is soft and does not pain your feet even if you’ve been wearing the shoes for hours.

The co-molded medial post offers steady strides on the ground. Furthermore, the midsole offers high-rebound cushioning so that you make powerful yet balanced strides on the ground. Also, the sole unit has been made extremely lightweight so that you can run comfortably even when your gait gets sloppy.

We also loved the toe box because it was wide. It allows you to move your toes comfortably inside and can manage swelling feet perfectly as well. Hence, if you are looking for running shoes to use especially during the summers, these are the ones.

8. Under Armour Charged Pursuit 2 Running Shoes

Key Features

  • 84% Polyester, 16% Elastane
  • Synthetic sole
  • For neutral runners
  • Foam padding around ankle and under tongue for comfortable fit and feel

Reasons to buy

  • Available in 14 colors
  • Can be worn all day long
  • Super comfortable and lightweight design

Reasons to avoid

  • The toe box is slightly constricted

The upper sole of the Under Armour Charged Pursuit 2 is lightweight, designed mesh that is both flexible and breathable, with strategic support whenever it is needed. It is made from a mixture of polyester and elastane.

The synthetic sole is perfect for runners who require cushioning, flexibility, and versatility will benefit from this shoe. For an extraordinarily comfortable fit and feel, foam padding is inserted around the heel collar and beneath the tongue. The soft sock liner molds to your foot’s contour, with extra padding in the heel for maximum cushioning during heel strike.

Compression-molded foam is used in the midsole for even more responsiveness and durability, as well as superior cushioning and energy return. The outsole pattern is inspired by tire tread and delivers maximum flex and traction.

9. UDU Running Shoes

Key Features

  • Good for walking and running
  • Breathable mesh
  • Fashionable

Reasons to buy

  • Breathable mesh upper unit
  • Minimalistic yet fashionable design
  • The one-piece midsole offers lightweight cushioning

Reasons to avoid

  • The shoes are not waterproof

Being a fashionable, and elegant everyday casual running shoe, the UDU men’s sneaker features a breathable fabric and synthetic upper for comfort. The mesh top is airy and comfortable whereas the sole unit consists of a light cushioning foam midsole/outsole.

The one-piece midsole delivers outstanding light cushioning and strength, while the outsole further improves the lightweight softness of the midsole. Both of these together provide the ideal surface to protect the heel-to-toe transition while you run so heel strikers will love these shoes!

Moreover, the outsole also has the remarkable design of treads at the bottom which ensure that you can walk and run over any surface without any issue. These can be used as simple and cozy shoes that you can wear all day long or workout and training shoes specifically for the gym.

Things to Consider When Buying Running Shoes for Heel Strikers

Heel striking is when your heel comes in contact with the ground before the rest of your feet. This can deteriorate running shoes quite quickly, especially if they aren’t meant to be worn by heel strikers. Anyways, don’t you worry! As the technology advanced, manufacturers have come with special shoes that are designed for runners just like you! 

Some offer extra cushioning while others have soles that are shaped to transition your stride to your toes smoothly but how do you find the perfect pair? Well, that is where this small section comes in! We have done extensive research and found some of the features that helped many heel strikers choose the best form of running shoes for themselves.

Anatomy of a Running Shoe

Before we begin listing down all the important features to look for in a running shoe, you must understand the different parts of a running shoe. So that when we do start talking about the features, you know exactly which part we are talking about and how to assess it properly!

Generally, you can divide a shoe into two major parts:

  • Upper Unit: This part includes the fabric, mesh/leather, or knit of the shoe. It holds the laces together. It comprises the following parts:

    • Tongue: A small strip on the top which helps to put the shoes on and protects your foot from the lace pressure. 
    • Toe Box: The area where your toes sit. You need to make sure that your toes do not touch the upper and your toes have enough room.
    • Quarter Panel: The sides and rear of the upper.
    • Vamp: It is right above the toe box and joins to the quarter panel.
    • Heel Tab: It stabilizes and protects your Achilles Tendon which is an elongated tissue present at the back of your heel.
    • Heel Collar/ Cuff: It is a cushioned fabric around your ankle to keep your foot in place.
  • Sole Unit: As the name indicates, this part comprises the sole or the bottom of your shoe. This unit is made up of two parts known as the midsole and the outsole. Both of these are manufactured separately and then they are put together.

  • Midsole: Usually made with foam, it dictates whether your shoe will be stable, cushioned, or motion-controlled. Some shoes use gels or airbags to provide advanced durability, protection, and performance.

  • Outsole: It is either made from blown rubber or carbon rubber. Most units have a combination of both to ensure flexibility as well as durability.

Heel-to-Toe Drop

As a heel striker, you need shoes that offer variable thickness of the heel and toe. This is also known as the heel-to-toe drop. This is important so that the rear is thick enough to withstand the initial weight of the heel before your toes hit the ground and the weight is balanced.

This will help to keep the soles intact for longer times. Not only does it ensure durability but also offers an extreme level of cushioning and hence, comfort.

From our research, we found that the perfect heel-to-toe drop for heel striking runners is a gradient between 5mm and 10mm. Although, keep in mind that this is not a hard and fast rule! While this might help you navigate your path through a sea of shoes, it might not work for everyone. We have seen many heel strikers run comfortably with low-offset shoes as well!

Firm Midsole

The midsole should not be too soft. With someone whose heel comes in contact first during their gait cycle, an overly soft midsole might provide comfort but it can become pretty painful because it would not provide stability and the firmness to keep your heel safe while you run with all your force.

So, make sure that the midsole has a neutral character; in simple words, it should have minimal cushioning bias and one side of the midsole should not be softer than the other. The heel should not be too soft as well.

Slanting or Sloping Heel Edge

An Angled Heel edge allows your foot to drop gradually instead of abruptly. In most cases, the shoes with a segmented outsole are ideal for heel strikers since these help with gentle transitions.

Asses the Upper Unit

It is important that the shoes you chose fit you as perfectly as the glass shoe fit Cinderella’s fit. For this, you do not only need to assess the Sole unit but also the Upper unit. Make sure that the toe box is spacious and does not feel constricted. Also, ensure that your big toe does not hit the vamp.

Also check the heel tab, heel collar, and tongue to see if they feel too stiff for your feet. The best tip, if you are buying in-store, is to wear the shoes and try to jog, you will know exactly how they feel.

Find the Right Fit

One of the most common mistakes that people make while shopping for running shoes is that they buy shoes that are tight-fitting. Although they may seem like the perfect fit for your feet, they can cause blisters as well as black toenails. 

You need to buy the ones which allow you to move your feet within the shoe comfortably. One common way to test this is by ‘playing the piano with your toes. If you can move your toe fingers perfectly in the toe box, it is the perfect size for you! 

Furthermore, your feet swell when you are running because it generates heat. The basic phenomenon is that the veins inside your feet expand to cool your body off. Thus, make sure to play piano with your toes while trying shoes on!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a zero-drop running shoe?

These kinds of shoes have the same height throughout the shoe. This means that your heel and the ball of your foot are at the same height. Such shoes reduce pains in the lower back and waist and are usually used by professional athletes and people with hip and knee injuries. However, these are not ideal for beginners.

Is a 12mm heel drop too much?

No, it is not too much. Most professionals recommend that a heel drop between 7mm till 12mm is ideal for beginners.

Is heel drop bad?

Not necessarily, although, if you switch abruptly from high heel drop shoes (10-12mm) to low heel drop shoes (4-6mm), then it can be dangerous for you. Switching abruptly while continuing to run at the same intensity can put extra strain on your Achilles tendon and this might cause future problems and injuries.

Conclusion

Finding the perfect running shoes is one of the biggest achievements in the life of a runner. Whether you are a professional runner or a beginner, we have included some of the best running shoes for heel strikers in this article. 

To make sure you purchase the best one out of all the options, keep the points we discussed in the buying guide in your mind while shopping.

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