When it comes to running there are many forms (we’ve all seen those arm flailers). But whether you’re an arm pumper or an arm flailer isn’t the topic of discussion today, instead we’re going to be talking about forefoot running in comparison to the heel strike.
When we talk about forefoot running we’re talking specifically about the movement of landing on the balls of the foot rather than other areas. By using a slight forward bend in one’s torso and correctly balancing your body’s centre of gravity, the weight of the body naturally falls on the forefoot. If you’re made the switch to minimalist shoes you’ve likely realized that you need to take slightly shorter strides. You still move at the same speed as your running cadence accelerates and you move in a lighter fashion.
The heel strike occurs when you’re using cushioned running shoes for support instead of minimalist running shoes. The cushioned shoe hides much of the shock from landing on the heel and leads you to take longer strides that put more weight and pressure on your legs. The shock from landing on the heel is carried into your achilles tendon, through your calves, legs and hamstrings and into your spinal column. It’s estimated that heel striking causes twice as much impact shock than forefoot running does.
The creation of minimalist shoes has allowed many people to stop from relaying on the harmful heel strike technique and instead return to landing on the balls of their feet, the way we’re meant to run. Landing heel first is natural when we’re walking but when running it can be very harmful. The best minimalist running shoes help to prevent this from occurring by ensuring that the shoe is as close to barefoot as possible, enabling one to make use of the foot’s sensory receptors.
Minimalist running shoes are not the only option either, there are minimalist shoes for work as well as a large variety of barefoot shoe companies that produce a wide array of footwear for many different types of environments or terrain. Looking at minimalist shoe reviews will aid in the selection of the best minimalist shoes and the best minimalist shoes will allow the wearer to stop heel striking and instead return to their natural barefoot movement.
Toes are used for sprinting and heels are used for walking; make use of the forefoot for running. Many running injuries are caused by poor form due to cushioned heels. Stop the problem before it occurs and invest in a pair of minimalist running shoes. Prevention is always better than injury and rehabilitation. If you love running, make sure you take the right actions to keep running for the rest of your life.