The truth is, a lot of running shoes on the market these do have rear foot strikers in mind. Indeed, manufacturers go out of their way to ensure that the heel area is adequately cushioned to ensure you don’t end up injuring yourself when you land on your feet. With that being said, a cushioned heel alone is not enough to be good for a rearfoot striker.
There are a lot of options on the market for rearfoot strikers but not all of them consider the key aspects such as the heel to toe offset, the amount of heel support and also a midsole design that will ensure you lang better. So, with that being said, what do you look for when you are buying running shoes for a rearfoot striker? We’re here to help answer that question. Read on to find out about our picks for the best running shoes for rearfoot strikers, in addition to a handy buyer’s guide that will help you to narrow down your decision.
Best Running Shoes for Rearfoot Strikers
OUR TOP PICK
If you are a seasoned runner, you’ve likely already heard great things about the Asics Gel Cumulus 22. If you’re on more of a budget then you could also opt for the equally as good Asics Gel Cumulus 21, but if you have the extra cash we highly suggest getting the 22s for good reason.
The Asics Gel Cumulus 22 running shoes feature a redesigned midsole and reformulated Flyte foam for more comfort and shock absorbency. One thing that is still present that was also a feature of the Cumulus 21, however, is the strong rearfoot cushioning. These running shoes feature an impressive heel stack of 23mm, providing plenty of support for rearfoot strikers. This heel cushioning consists of the foam and the gel.
The shoes also provide fantastically smooth transitions, and there are also a bunch of other fun features that you will be happy you had the opportunity to experience. The shoes are incredibly sturdy and provide a fantastic rebound, making them suitable for everyday use. You can use them on most terrains too so they’re pretty versatile in that regard. It’s worth mentioning that the cushioning can feel somewhat limited if you are used to more heel to toe cushioning, but once you adapt this should not be an issue.
- Good for everyday use
- Lots of support in the heel
- The cushioning can feel a little bit limited if you are more familiar with more heel to toe cushioning.
- 3D Print Upper - Increases forefoot and comfort
- FlyteFoam Propel Technology - ASICS energetic foam formulation that provides supreme bounce thanks to a unique elastomer compound.
- Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL Technology Cushioning System - Attenuates shock during impact and toe-off phases, and allows movement in multiple planes as the foot transitions through the gait cycle.
The Asics Glide Ride running shoes are a unique offering from running shoes superstar Asics. These running shoes provide an enjoyable running experience with plenty of cushioning to accommodate the rearfoot striker.
The shoes have a Nylon plate embedded inside of the midsole, and this essentially leads the foot quickly towards the toe off. This means that maintaining a proper running gait isn’t at all difficult. In the rear end of the shoe, there is a dual density midsole that is extremely efficient at absorbing the strikes of the foot. There is a lot of cushioning in the heel but yet the ride still feels firm enough, enabling you to maintain your performance as you run. You also don’t need to worry about fatiguing either due to the pronounced rocker design.
The shoe feels very secure in the upper but it also has a toebox that is very accommodating so you don’t need to worry about your toes being cramped. Overall it’s a fantastic shoe that will be a real asset to you as you run if you are a rearfoot striker.
- Lots of responsive cushioning
- Secure upper
- May not work very well for midfoot or forefoot strikers
- Rearfoot GEL technology cushioning system - Attenuates shock during impact phase and allows for a smooth transition to midstance.
- FlyteFoam Midsole Technology - Our FlyteFoam technology provides exceptional bounce back and responsiveness no matter the distance, utilizing organic super fibers to help reduce packing out that...
- GUIDESOLE Technology - The curved sole design and stiff forefoot of our GUIDESOLE technology reduce ankle flexion and provide a shock-absorbent landing zone to lessen fatigue of other leg muscles and...
If you’re not the biggest fan of excessively soft running shoes, then there’s definitely something to love about the Brooks Glycerin 18 running shoes. These running shoes are soft, but they are a lot more firm than the marketing for them would have you believe.
The running shoes would be best described as providing a medium soft ride, but they provide a lot of forefoot and rearfoot stability. They’re a brilliant choice if you are looking for a running shoe that will fare well as an everyday running shoe too. In addition, the Glycerin features a rounded heel to help with easy landings.
The shoes provide a very responsive ride to make for an enjoyable run. In addition, they also have really good traction when you are out running, and there’s a flexible upper. There’s a lot to love about these running shoes, so if you’re a rearfoot striker why not give them a try>
- Soft cushioning, but still firm
- Fantastic traction
- Upper is flexible
- Somewhat stiff heel collar
- THIS SHOE IS FOR: The Glycerin 18 is perfect for runners who think there's no such thing as too much cushioning. The upper enhances comfort by perfectly balancing stretch and structure.
- SUPPORT AND CUSHION: Provides neutral support while offering the maximum amount of cushioning. Ideal for road running, cross training, the gym or wherever you might want to take them! Predecessor:...
- SUPER-SOFT CUSHIONING: Increased DNA LOFT super-soft cushioning allows for even more extreme softness, without losing responsiveness or durability, while the OrthoLite sockliner provides premium...
We’re pretty big fans of the Mizuno Wave Rider 23, and we’re pretty sure that after you’ve given them a try you will be too!
These running shoes have a ‘Wave’ plate consideration. What does this mean? Basically, it means you’re getting the ride of your life if you’re a heel striker! Indeed, the shoes provide a large TPE plate that helps to make the landings as stable as they possibly can be. Sure, the landing does feel somewhat harder in comparison to some other shoes on this list such as the Glycerin model, but the transitions are very well managed due to the decoupled crash pad and the notched outsole.
The shoes are also incredibly flexible too, which also adds to great transitions as you run. They are perfect for everyday use and there is a very comfortable upper. They are somewhat firm in some areas but not so much so that it takes away from your overall experience of wearing them.
- Ideal for everyday use
- Lots of comfortable cushioning
- It’s a little bit firm
- The Wave Rider 23's Mizuno Wave cushioning technology provides ultra soft comfort in a super secure fit
- Lightweight and breathable mesh upper offers controlled temperatures and top unwavering performance
- Wave Rider 23 features a dual compound midsole using U4ic and U4icX technologies for unrivalled responsiveness and exhilarating runs
The New Balance 1080V10 running shoes are a fantastic option for heel strikers, especially for those who enjoy running for long distances. These running shoes are well known for being great distance running shoes.
To start with, the shoes feature a slight rocker shape in the midsole, which means that the landing is smooth. There’s so much cushioning to ensure that you are properly supported as you run, even for those obscenely long 10k runs. You could probably wear these to sleep and not even notice they’re there, that’s how comfortable they are.
The shoes feature a comfortable sock like knit upper, which is great at ensuring that your feet remain locked down but it doesn’t feel restricted. In fact, as a whole, these shoes are also very responsive, and a rocker shape is incorporated which can help you to achieve a better pace. The shoes are pretty lightweight too so they’ve very nippy as you run. It should certainly be noted that the shoes are a little bit expensive, but they’re definitely worth the money if you want a responsive ride as a rearfoot striker.
- Secure upper
- Responsive ride
- A little bit expensive
Best Running Shoes for Rearfoot Strikers: A Buyer’s Guide
High Heel to Toe Drop
So what is the drop on a shoe? A drop is essentially the difference between the front and the rear midsole thickness. Usually a gradient that’s between 8 mm and 10 mm works a little better for those who strike with their heel when they run.
This is because the read is much thicker than the front when you have a higher offset. This means that you get more cushioning when you make contact with the floor, and also the thicker back encourages rearfoot landings. Also, the opposite is also true, so people that are midfoot/forefoot strikers tend to prefer running shoes that have a lower offset.
Cushioning isn’t the only important thing to consider when selecting a pair of running shoes for a rearfoot striker. If your rearfoot is the very first point of contact in the gait cycle, it needs to be properly supported. You need to make sure that the midsole has a pretty neutral behavior with minimal or zero bias. To put it simply, you shouldn’t have a midsole with one side that’s softer than the other.
With that being said, the whole heel shouldn’t be excessively soft. Certain models just don’t have enough stability to compensate for a rearfoot landing.
Beveled Heel Edge
A heel that has an angled curve (otherwise known as a heel spring) will allow the foot to gradually land instead of abruptly edge striking. It’s also helpful if the outsole crash pad is segmented or split away from the main outsole by a groove. Having such crash pads flex on landing for smoother transitions is particularly useful.
Running can certainly take its toll on your feet, so having comfortable running shoes is a must. Though, everyone has different feet so what may be comfortable for one person may not be comfortable for another, making it particularly subjective. With that being said, there are a few things worth being mindful of. Firstly, take a look at the features and designs of the shoes. If the shoes have high quality lining, then this will enable you to feel nice when you are wearing the shoes. It’s also important to have a flexible upper. Last but not least, you should have a look at other reviews to see what the general consensus is on those running shoes. If multiple people think that the shoes are uncomfortable, then you may be better off looking for another pair of running shoes.
When you run, your heart is pumping much more than it normally would. That can mean you can get particularly sweaty too! Having good breathability in your running shoes is thus essential to ensure that your shoes remain in good condition and also to ensure that you don’t end up injuring yourself because you’ve worn your shoes down. Also, nobody wants to have to take their shoes off at home and have everyone in a 5 foot radius be able to smell them! Here, we’ve looked at the moisture wicking capabilities of the shoes we’ve reviewed. Ideally, you want to opt for something that has a wide mesh that allows the moisture to get out into the open air where it can naturally escape. A lot of people also don’t think about the fact that extra support can sometimes mean sacrificing ventilation, so this is also something that you should consider.
This is probably not going to surprise you, but running a lot can mean you’re really racking up the miles. This, as a result, can mean that you have more wear and tear on your running shoes. So, for this reason it’s important to wear a pair of durable running shoes. Don’t spend less to save more money on a pair of running shoes that simply won’t last. Buying new running shoes every few months because they’ve broken may seem like a novelty worth having at first but trust us, it gets pretty boring after a while.
When you’re looking at buying some running footwear, it’s pretty vital to ensure that the shoe properly works with the terrain you are going to be running on. The kinds of footwear that are best for a trail may not be well suited to the road or a treadmill, so it’s important to keep that in mind. One thing you should try to stay clear of is anything marketed as a do it all running shoes, especially if you plan on running long distances. Not all shoes are designed for the same activity. Usually experienced runners will have a number of different shoes they use for different terrains so that is something worth keeping in mind.
Value for Money
As we’ve just mentioned, spending a lot of time running in your running shoes can often mean that they wear out more quickly and will also need to be replaced more regularly. So, of course comfort and breathability, and adequate cushioning on the rear foot is important, but you shouldn’t ignore the value for money that you’re getting either. Actually one way to ensure that your running shoes last longer is by switching between two different pairs of running shoes. This means that your shoes can be properly dried out between uses so the midsole doesn’t compress more than normal. Ultimately, this means that you;ll get more use out of your running shoes. It’s also possible to make the life of your running shoes longer by making sure that you frequently wash them off by hand using soap and warm water, getting rid of any mud and dirt that’s built up. Your shoe is going to wear down more frequently if there’s dirt in the upper so proper running shoe care is definitely in your best interest.
Shock Absorbing Capabilities
Runners are hitting the pavements a lot as they run, especially if they’re running fast or at long distances. That can result in a lot of abuse to put your feet and your shoes under. Because of this, it’s vital to consider how capable your shoes are at providing adequate shock absorption. Check if other customers have said if the shoes absorb shock well, and check that there is plenty of cushioning in the midsole and outsole too. If you are also a heavier runner it’s also particularly important to make sure that you have a lot of cushioning because otherwise the are more likely to get fatigued more easily and you may even develop conditions such as plantar fasciitis.
It’s true - you only realize how good you had something when it’s gone. This is certainly the case when it comes to stability. In fact, a lot of runners say that once the cushioning and support is gone from their running shoes they notice it a lot. Shoes that don’t have good quality padding and cushioning tend to end up losing their stability in a short time period, which is certainly not what any runner wants. You need to have good quality padding and cushion so that your shoes can sustain you for long periods of time, providing you with the support you require. Always try and get as much information from other buyers and perhaps your local running shoe retailer to see how much stability the shoes have.
Sure, it may seem pretty arbitrary, but style can have a big impact on how we feel when we’re in our running shoes. Once you’ve factored into your decision all of the key elements that makes a good running shoe for rearfoot strikers, you can then have a look at the shoes designed so you can choose something that will fit your own tastes. Studies have actually shown that those who are happy with how they look when they’re out in a run will perform better than those who aren’t happy with how they look. Don’t make style your key decision making aspect, but there’s no harm in making sure that you’re going to feel good in your running shoes.