Best Running Shoes For Heel Strikers

Look at the best running shoe for heel strikers.

If the heel is the first to hit the ground, you’ll be referred to as a “heel striker” runner. Similarly, runners who land on toes knows as “forefoot strikers“, and those who land in the center are the “midfoot strikers.”

Each running gait is okay if your body is accepting it. Most heel strikers think that their landing on the heel is harmful, and they’ve most chances of engaging with injuries. Somehow, it is true, but not 100%.

The study was conducted on the “Science in Sports.” results in that the heel striker has the most chances of experiencing running-related injuries. But, runners who land on feet and the midfoot striker also experience injuries. The difference is we all engage with injuries differently.

The experts advise that one must not change running gait if the body is accepting it. And they are not interacting with damages frequently.

What the Best Running Shoes for Heel Strikers can do?

Runners who land on their toes look for forefoot cushioning; similarly, heel striking runners strive for shoes with the most heel cushioning.

No brand ever launches shoes specifically for heel strikers. It’s just some shoes have exactly all those features that are required for a heel striking runner.

Heel cushioning, stability, secure lockdown, beveled heel shape, higher drop are a few features must-have in runners who land on heels.

Finding shoes with similar features is a real struggle as there are thousands of brands, and each brand has thousands of models. So, we have done this research on your behalf.

Most shoe appears on the list after a verdict from striking heel striking runner who is comfortable with their landings. Below we have a list of the eight best shoes for heel striker runners. We also give our best to mention the reasons for their best for heel strikers.

Let’s look at the best running shoes for heel strikers

1. Asics Gel Cumulus 21 – Best for heel strikers

Men’s shoe Women’s shoe
ASICS running shoes for heel strikers Womens shoes for heel strikers

Shoe specification

Size True to size
Drop 10mm
Weight Men 286g | Women 266g
Best for Versatile running shoes
Price $$

Key features

  1. Upper: The Jacquard mesh upper offers a plush feel, feels luxurious, and breaths well.
  2. Midsole: The combination of FlyteFoam Propel and Lyte bouncier and responsive ride at a lightweight
  3. Outsole: The Durasponge and AHAR rubber offers has more road feel, flexibility and make the model long-lasting

Our verdict

As named over the “cumulus cloud,” the cumulus series has an image for comfortable yet rich in technologies running shoes. And the 21st model is doing the same.

The mainstream of this model is the breathable upper, softer under the foot and more cushioned in the heel. Otherwise, it has chunks in good ways.

Best for

The model is an ideal choice for runners who wants to do a Lil bit of everything. The medium-soft ride offers the right features for easy paced running and similarly if you wish to pick a pace.

From casual weekend runners to marathon finishers, one can benefit from it.

If you want a single shoe that can take care of most needs, It won’t be a bad choice.

Apart from this, These neutral running shoes offer mild level stability, making them supportive, neutral shoes. If you pronate during walk/run, you can benefit from this model.

Above all, It offers an industry-standard (AHAR) rubber outsole which most premium shoes offer. It adds life to the shoe and grips flat surfaces well.

Why are the best running shoes for heel strikers

The model has offered gel cushioning in the forefoot and the heel section. It is a silicone-based gel that focuses on making landing smoother. The heel section has more gel compared to the front, making it the choice for heel strikers.

Also, it has a higher drop of 10mm, which means the rear is thicker than the front. It results in a higher level of heel cushioning and contributes to soft landings.

Besides cushioning, heel support is a matter of focus when the heel is the first thing to contact. For that, Guidance System is working to make the model stable and increase stride efficiency.

Above all, The heel padding and tongue offer a secure lockdown without irritating Achilles and pleases us with a comfortable ride.

See the comments of heel striker runner.

Full day comfort

Similar features are required to end the whole day standing jobs without aching.

Adequate cushioning, internally padded, arch support, and a breathable upper are required to smoothly finish 10 to 12 hours of standing jobs.

See the review of a nurse who feels eased even after 12 hours of standing.

Size and fit

The model has received mixed reviews regarding the sizing and point. The brand stated that “it went true-to-size.”, meaning order the same size you do for other shoes.

But, most wearers had to order a half size up while others had no complaints after the regular size.

We figured out that if you are a fan of other brands, you may have to order a 1/2 size up, but if you are a regular customer of Asics, order the same size that you do for other Asics running shoes.

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Men’s shoe Women’s shoe
Why we like it
  • Stong heel counter.

  • Naturally cushioning.

  • Breathable and luxury upper.

Why we don't like it
  • A bit heavy

2. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 – Best Stable

Men’s shoe Women’s shoe
Best shoes for heel strikers

Shoe specification

Size guide go for half size up
Heel height 30mm
Best for daily training, half to full marathon
Best on Road, treadmill, trail
Price $$

Key features

  1. Upper: A new engineered mesh upper that is wider, breathable, and hugs the feet well.
  2. Midsole: It has utilized DNA Loft coupled with BioMoGo DNA offers a firm yet responsive ride.
  3. Outsole: The outsole has offered blown rubber with flex grooves that offer flexibility and promising durability.

Our Verdict

The Adrenaline GTS 21 is “Go-to-shoe” series meaning it is a model to wear as the first choice.

The Adrenaline series is a success from the brooks as it reaches its 2nd decade with a loyal fan base.

Best for

The Adrenaline GTS 21 is a simple, durable, and effective running shoe that targets serious runners. It offers a firm yet comfortable ride that will last for miles.

The model is perfect for easy-paced running to half/full marathon races.

The model is a true stability trainer that provides additional support to fix offset pronation. It offers a guide rail system that acts like “side wheels” that the kids have on their bicycles for balance. It balances the ride when needed the most.

The model is ready to use, no matter what the terrain is. The outsole rubber offers great grip on the road, treadmill, concrete surfaces, and even off the road for trail running.

Why best shoes for heel strikers

When the heel is the first thing that makes contact with the ground, the model must have additional support, firm yet comfortable cushioning, and a higher drop.

It offers a guide rail system that adds support, a Thick yet comfortable heel that keeps the ride balance, and a huge drop of 12mm adds additional cushioning in the heel for soft landings.

Wide toe box

Like always, The model has an open space in the toe box. The feature becomes initial when one running with forefoot pain.

Runners with Morton’s neuroma, bunions, hammertoes, hallux rigidus, and other common foot deformities strive for a wide toe box to have room for the toes to stretch.

Size and fit

The model stays true to the side with open space in the toe box. It feels a bit tight from the side which may irritate most runners. No issues from the length-wise but restricted from the sides.

We suggest you go for half size and you’ll be happy with the fit. A minor con in the model it is not ready to use right out of the box. It may require a break-in period of 30 to 40 miles.

However, the model is available in sizes 7 to 14 with a half size in between. Each size is available in 4 widths, including standard, narrow, wide, and extra-wide.

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Men’s shoe Women’s shoe
Why we like it
  • The upper hugged feets well

  • Wide toe box.

  • Balanced midsole

Why we don't like it
  • Huge heel to toe drop

3. ASICS Gel-Contend 7 – Best in Budget

Men’s shoe Women’s shoe
heel cushioning shoes

Shoe specification

Size True to size
drop 10mm
Weight Men 265g / Women 225g
Best for daily running and cross-training
Price $

Key features

  1. Upper: An engineered mesh that improves ventilation and gives secure lockdown
  2. Midsole: It offers durable AMPLIFOAM made with rearfoot gel cushioning that feels medium-soft and absorbs shocks.
  3. Outsole: The outsole offers textured rubber with flex grooves that improve flexibility and grip on most surfaces.

Our Verdict

ASICS has superbly managed all the features that a runner these days strives to achieve at a reasonable price: Under 100 shoes for heel strikers.

The model has an eye-catchy design that one will not feel awkward wearing in public places.

Best for

The model is a do-it-all running shoe meaning you don’t need a purpose for wearing it. It can meet your needs no matter what the requirement is.

They are naturally cushioned shoes that offer a medium-soft ride (a good balance between firm and mushy), making them versatile running shoes.

One will enjoy most daily running/walking and cross-training requirements. It can push its limits and be utilized for distance running, but it might be hectic for them.

The heel cup and the design offer mild stability. If your feet lean outwards (supinators) as your footfall the ground, you can benefit from it too.

Similarly, you’ll accommodate custom orthotic benefiting plantar fasciitis runners.

Why is the best choice for heel strikes?

If you have read the previous paragraph, you might be aware that it offers mild stability. If the heel is the first thing making an impact, it must be stable.

The gel cushioning in the heel works for a soft landing and absorbing shocks, protecting the Achilles and heel spurs.

Lastly, A higher heel than the forefoot (higher drop) needs a heel striker runner. It offers 12 mm (which is slightly higher) but offers great cushioning under the heel.

Size guide

The model is true to size, but a few have complained that it feels restricted from the side. Our suggestion will be to order you’re natural size, and you’ll probably get the desired fit.

For wide feet, order a wide size. The size starts from 6 to 15 with a half size in between. Each size is available in regular and an extra-wide fit.

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Men’ shoe Women’s shoe
Why we like it
  • Rearfoot GEL technology

  • Value for money.

  • Padded heel.

Why we don't like it
  • Lack of arch support.

4. Mizuno Wave Rider 25 – Best for slow runs

Men’s shoe Women’s shoe
for heel strikers

Shoe specification

Size guide See the size guide in the last paragraph
Drop 12mm
Weight Men 275g / Women 226g
Best for Slow-paced running and circuit training
Price $

Key features

  1. Upper: The upper is the greatest update it receives this year making it breathable and feel luxurious.
  2. Midsole: It offers “Mizuno energy” foam that is highly cushioned and offers energy return.
  3. Outsole: The durable rubber outsole with a wave plate on the heel contributes to shock absorption and improves traction.

Our Verdict

Most brands focus on change, while Mizuno focuses on consistency. They know what their fans like so they add a few changes to the previous model and present it to the fans.

With 25 models, The updates are breathable upper, bomb-proof durability, and a peppier midsole.

You might have disliked the previous versions of Mizuno due to the firm and boring ride, but it’s not the case with this model.

Best for

Mizuno 25 is neutral yet stable, firm yet responsive, and has ample cushioning with a bouncy feel. All these words might be challenging to understand what the model is all about for non-technical runners.

In simple terms, They are perfect for slow and easy-paced running while not a wrong choice if you want to go faster.

They are neutral running shoes yet offer features of stable running shoes. If you are supinating runner or want extra support for ankles, the model will take care of that.

Ample cushioning with great energy return at a lightweight, making them a choice to consider for daily uses and daily gym requirements like cross-trainers and even weight lifting.

Extra durable rubber (X10) with tons of flex grooves is a real charm of this model. It grips nearly all surfaces and is ready to go miles and miles without showing breaking signs.

Best running shoes for heel strikers

The model has all the features that a heel striking runner hunts in a shoe. It has a tick mark for each check box that shoes for heel strikers must-have.

Most importantly, The wave plates. You may not find this in other running shoes. The Mizuno has added a wave plate in the heel. It is placed between the two layers of cushioning that disperses the impact of running.

Additional padding on the heel and tongue gives a secure lockdown after finding the right spot in lacing. This does now allow the foot to move.

A higher drop of 12mm is slightly higher for most runners. But, these benefit heel striking and overweight runners by adding more cushioning in the heel and protecting joints while running.

See the satisfied reviews of heel striking runners.

Size guide

The model has received mixed reviews over the right fit. Half of the crowd got the right fit by ordering their natural size, while the other half had to get a half size up.

We tried to figure it out, and by analyzing, we concluded that the brand stays true to size within the brand. Means, Order the same size that you do for other Mizuno shoes. But, for other brands, order a half size up, and you’ll get the desired fit.

Lastly, It offers size ranges from  6 to 16 with half size in between. Each size is available in regular and a wide fit. Order the shoe according to your foot type and get all its benefits.

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Men’s shoe Women’s shoe
Why we like it
  • Higly cushioned yet responsive

  • Option for heavy-weight runners

  • For neutral and stable runners

Why we don't like it
  • Expensive mid-range daily trainer

5. ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22 – Best for Road Running

Men’s shoe Women’s shoe
best running shoes for heel strikers

Shoe specification

Size True to size
Drop Men 10mm | Women 13mm
Weight Men 310g / Women 252g
Best on Road, flat surfaces, and trail
Best for slow running, marathon races.
Price $$

Key features

  1. Upper: A lightweight engineered mesh upper that offers great grip and breathable
  2. Midsole: Flytefoam midsole offers plenty of support and gel cushioning.
  3. Outsole: The carbon rubber on the heel makes the landing softer and grips road and trail surface well.

Our Verdict

The Gel-nimbus has a long journey where it received criticism over very soft shoes for 15th and 17th models and very stiff for 21st models.

With all experience, The brand presented something in between that a variety of runners will appreciate.

Best for

The gel nimbus 22 is a firm yet responsive running shoe for serious miles.

An outstanding balance between cushioning and shock absorption is ideal for most runs and, most importantly, high mileage runners.

The model shines in the category of pain-free running, no matter how much you run.

However, A neutral running shoe with TRUSSTIC technology on the sides added the needed stability for overpronating runners.

It feels like it covers all the aspects that a modern runner strives for—a neutral design with internal padding idealizing it for cross-training, HIIT, and even weight lifting.

Best running shoes for heel strikers

The nimbus 22 is 5/5 for heel strikers. The curve heel allows the foot to land smoothly instead of hitting hectically.

A significant amount of gel in the heel with sufficient heel padding contributes to a soft landing.

The rear part is supportive, thanks to the TRUSTIC technology. A higher drop of 10mm means the heel is thicker than the forefoot.

See the satisfied reviews of a heel striking runner.

Whole day Comfort

ASICS Gel nimbus 22 is the choice of nurses and other workers who spend the most time on their legs.

It offers essential features that shoes for standing for long hours must-have. You’ll get the needed amount of arch support, support, great lockdown, and, as the name says, “GEL” cushioning.

Size Guide

It requires a few runs to break in. An impatient runner might return to explore all its features. But the wait deserves the worthwhile.

The model stays true to size with an open space in the box, but it feels a bit restricted from the sides. You might have to order a half size up to go everything smoothly.

The sizes are available from 6 to 16 with a half size in between. And available in 3 options, including standard, wide, and extra-wide fit.

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Men’s shoe Women’s shoe
Why we like it
  • Great shock absorbers

  • Needed arch support

  • Wide toe box

Why we don't like it
  • a bit snug in the midfoot

6. Brooks Ghost 13 – Best for Heavy Runners

Men’s shoe Women’s shoe
Brooks women Ghost 13 - open toe box shoes

Shoe Specification

Size True to size
Drop 12mm
Best use on Road, treadmill, and trails
Best for Whole day comfort, easy running, and marathon races.

Key features

  1. Upper: The mesh upper is stretchy, felt softer, and breathes more than the previous version.
  2. Midsole: The medium-soft midsole felt far more luxurious than other running shoes.
  3. Outsole: The carbon and blown rubber adds life to the shoe

Our Verdict

The Ghost is a popular series among runners, and one utilizes it the most when comfort is in demand. 

The model is an excellent balance between cushioning, firmness, and shock absorption. They are well-padded throughout the shoes and ready to give the couch feel comfort.

Best for

Brooks Ghost 13 is an optimum choice for runners seeking comfort in their shoes. They are neutral shoes that well-padded entirely for relaxing vibes from the first wear.

It offers a soft cushioning that reflects the shoe’s weight but is an elite choice for heavyweight runners.

The model will be ideal for slow-paced running and utilizing it for cross-training, daily walking/jogging requirements, and ultimate comfort for the whole day.

Besides running, one can utilize it as an orthopedic shoe as it has the same features. They are famous shoes among nurses and other workers who spend the most time standing.

It offers the needed arch support; the insole material is padded yet supportive, making it an option to consider for standing 8 to 12 hours.

Why best for heel strikers

Ghost 13 is an option to consider for landing on the heel softly. The padded heel cup hugs the rearfoot comfortably, offering a cloud-feel experience.

The heel cup offers slight stability that holds the foot in one place without irritating the Achilles.

A higher drop means more heel cushioning than the forefoot fulfills all the checklist needed for heel striking runners.

Size guide

The model stays true to size, Wearers who ordered the regular size meet the desired fit.

But, if you wish to have more space in the shoes or plan to wear thick socks, go for a half size up as the standard size may feel a bit limited.

The best part about it is it offers each size in 3 widths from regular wide and extra wide fit. The size ranges from 7 to 15 with a half size between.

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Men’s shoe Women’s shoe
Why we like it
  • Needed arch support.

  • Wide toebox with forefoot cushioning.

  • Perfect for long hours standing

Why we don't like it
  • Not stylish

7. ASICS Gel-Kayano 27 – Best Stability

Men’s shoe Women’s shoe
men's kayano 27 for 200lbs women

Our Verdict

The Gel Kayano is a famous series from the brand, and it’s noticeable from its 27th model. It must be worthy enough that they keep launching it.

Excellent support and outstanding durability are the highlights of this model.

Best for

Asics Gel Kayano 27 is a picky model and might favorite of a few runners. They are premium running shoe for handling extreme overpronation and offers proper support for them.

It offers a firm ride without feeling uncomfortable, making them an option to consider for easy-paced running.

The inside is padded and offers the plush feel of a neutral shoe while the support of the stability trainer.

The shoe offers a great lockdown, feels comfortable, and offers a secure fit, allowing maximum support without feeling restricted.

Best choice for heel strikers.

The model is a choice for heel striking runners. It offers the right heel padding that allows the soft landing.

Gel-cushioning in the heel and also in the forefoot participate in shock absorption.

The bevel heel shape allows landing softly instead of striking abruptly.

The industry-standard rubber(AHAR) in the outsole also participates in impact protection and provides traction on wet and dry surfaces.

A higher drop of 10mm and a bit higher of 13mm offers more cushioning under the heel, allowing a straight and pain-free ride.

Size and fit

The wearers have mentioned that ordering the natural size will have snug (bit restricted feet). Almost all the runners advise to order a half size up better fit.

However, The model is available in sizes 6 to 15. Each size is available in 3 widths, including standard, wide, and extra-wide fit.

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Men’s Shoe Women’s Shoe
Why we like it
  • Fully cushonied heel.

  • More support.

  • Great arch support

Why we don't like it
  • Boring for most runners.

8. Brooks Glycerin 19 – Best Overall

Men’s Shoe Women’s shoe

Our Verdict

If you don’t want to go deep into the technicalities and want a durable, comfortable shoe, try glycerin 19.

The model has most things in plus with a few cons that one can expect from heavyweight shoes.

Best for

Brooks glycerin 19 offers a medium-soft ride that hits a sweet spot between softness and responsiveness.

The ride neither feels like stepping on a banana nor is very rigid, making it all dull.

The model is an ideal choice for a neutral runner who wants to participate in each running type. But, no matter what activity you perform in these, it’ll be exciting.

From easy-paced to fast-paced, you’ll find it optimal. But, utilizing it primarily for fast-paced running may negatively affect the joints as they are heavy.

Best for heel strikers

The Glycerin 19 has the stability now that was missing from the 17th version. That comes from the new heel-counter support and more cushioning in the heel.

The heel counter offers a secure fit and locks the rearfoot in the same place. A higher drop means more cushioning in the heel that is noticeable to heel striking runners when landing.

Size and guide

The brooks claim that it stays true to the size, but the wearers had to go a half size up. It feels snug (not too tight) but not open even after the break-in period.

Order a half size up as most runners do and enjoy the soft ride with the 19th model.

However, it is available in sizes 7 to 15. Each size offers two widths, including standard and a wide fit.

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Men’s Shoe Women’s Shoe
Why we like it
  • Give a couch feel.

  • Comfortable for long standings.

  • Great support & comfort

Why we don't like it
  • Dad vibe shoe

How to pick the Best Running shoes for heel strikers

How to buy the best shoes for heel strikers

The following features are the requirement for easy landings on the heel. Not only it make the landing smoother but also prevents running-related injuries.

1. Heel cushioning.

The extra padding is placed on the heel of a running shoe. these extra cushioning inserts help absorb shock and protect the joints in your foot when you land.

It is not meant for all runners and in some cases can even increase the amount of shock and pain in your leg and foot.

A great way to figure out if you need them in your running shoes is to visit a running shoe store and have them analyze your gait.

For a heel striker with a normal stride, you’re likely to benefit from using heel inserts, but if you’re a mid or forefoot striker with a normal stride you’re likely better off without them.

2. Stable Rearfoot

Stability running shoes, a.k.a. motion control shoes, feature stability elements, or elements, intended to reduce or fix overpronation.

Stability elements are typically located within the midsole of the shoe, though they can also be placed in the outsole.

3. A higher heel to toe drop

A runner with a higher heel-to-toe drop will have a higher impact on the body and cause potential injuries.

To find the drop of the running shoe you should simply measure the heel and then measure the whole sole of the shoe.

If the heel is higher than the whole sole then the drop is positive and if the opposite is true then the drop is negative.

4. Secure lockdown

The security in the running shoes has been added in order to give the runners to run in their regular shoes in the race.

The shoes are made in a manner so that when the runner runs faster in the race, their feet lock inside the running shoes.

It prevents their feet from slipping out of the running shoes when they are at the top of the run.


Q.1 Is heel striking really dangerous?

This is a complicated question. Theoretically, heel striking should be a problem because you land with a greater impact, and a greater impact means higher forces going through the knee.

However, this is not a universal truth. I have a friend who has been running for years, and she seems to always run on her heels, and she never hurts her knees. In fact, she just set a new PR!

But, landing on your heels is fine as long as you aren’t doing it way too much. Also, heel striking is not inherently dangerous if you are landing on a soft surface, as opposed to the pavement.

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