Last Updated: December 3rd, 2019

Choices for forefoot runners are limited.

Most of the companies focus on mostly the mid-foot strikers or the heel strikers.

But fear not. There are some really good running shoes available for forefoot runners.

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Here are 12 Best Cushioned Running Shoe for Forefoot Strikers in 2020.

Brooks Ghost 11 Running Shoes wins here.

However, the rest in the list also will protect your forefoot from the high impact of the forefoot strike.

So, let’s find out what are the best shoes for forefoot strikers.

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Our Top Picks

For Women & Men:

Brooks Ghost 11 Running Shoes

“Crash Pod in the forefoot for shock absorption. Best forefoot running shoes.”

Best Cushioned Running Shoes for Forefoot Strikers in 2020

Editor Rating:
(4.8)
Brooks Women's Ghost 11 Running Shoes

When you are landing on your forefoot, you need more cushioning and shock absorption there.

This is a must-have feature for any shoes for forefoot running and Brooks Ghost 11 does an excellent job with that.

The outsole is made from HPR and blown rubber. The forefoot has blown rubber whereas the heels have HPR rubber.

They are very durable and is excellent for shock absorption and grip.

It also has Crash Pod in the forefoot to absorbs shock. It helps in an easier heel to toe-off and efficiently moves you forward.

The mid-sole is made from BioMoGo DNA foam which can absorb a lot of shocks. It is very adaptable and gives you a very responsive ride.

The upper is made from breathable mesh and keeps your foot cool and dry.

Also, the upper has synthetic overlays which hold the structure of this running shoe.

They are true to size and comes in 4 widths. Normal, Narrow B, Wide (2E), Extra Wide (4E)

+ POSITIVES
  •   A good running shoe for multiple foot problems
  •   Comfortable and lightweight
  •   Crash Pod of the forefoot offers more shock absorption
  •   True to size
  •   Stylish to look at
 NEGATIVES
  •   May show early signs of wear and tear.
  •   Pricey.
Editor Rating:
(4.7)
ASICS Women's 33-M 2 Running Shoe

These running shoes come with AmpliFoam. It is engineered to maintain durability at softer densities.

It is flexible and provides your foot especially forefoot with proper cushioning.

The adaptability of this foam makes it ideal for natural runners.

The midsole is made from a combination of EVA and SpEVA foam.

This is very soft and cushy and also very lightweight. It is also called Solyte.

For underfoot comfort, you have ComforDry lasting. This provides you with excellent moisture management and a high level of breathability.

It also controls the growth of microbes and keeps your feet fresh throughout your running session.

This comfort is again enhanced by the ComforDry Sockliner and helps to keep your feet healthy and dry.

It has a seamless construction. So you will never face any kind of irritation from stitches during running.

 

 

+ POSITIVES
  •   Great shoe for joint pains
  •   Good for foot swelling
  •   Multiple layers of cushioning for maximum impact reduction.
  •   Abrasion-resistant upper
  •   Contemporary style
 NEGATIVES
  •   Toe-box seems to be tighter
  •   Pricey
  •   Shoe shape may give your foot a bulky look
Editor Rating:
(4.5)
HOKA ONE ONE Women's Clifton 5 Running Shoe

Clifton 5 is a maximal running shoe which means you have a lot of cushioning both in the forefoot and the rear foot.

This kind of cushioning gives them a lot of shock-absorbing capacity as the mid-sole has HOKA ONE ONE’s famed geometry.

The primary component of this mid-sole is EVA-Foam. This is both durable and lightweight.

This also is great for protecting your feet from the shock of impact.

Also, the forefoot is adaptive and gives a very comfortable experience.

The upper is made from stretchable engineered mesh. This adapts itself according to your feet and gives you a truly customized fit.

Also, the early stage Meta rocker technology provides you with a smooth ride.

The outer sole is made of durable rubber and can withstand a lot of wear and tear

+ POSITIVES
  •   Very comfortable
  •   Provides proper arch support
  •   Responsive
  •   Provides your body with stability.
  •   Maximum cushioning
 NEGATIVES
  •   May seem a bit stiff for the first couple of uses
  •   Weighs a bit more than its counterparts
Editor Rating:
(4.5)
ALTRA Men's ALM1937F Torin 4 Road Running Shoe

Torin 4.0 comes with soft, responsive cushioning which will provide you with live feedback of every step.

It feedback system is the output of IQ technology added to the sole.

This keeps you more connected to your run.

To give you maximum comfort it comes with FootShape toe box, zero drop cushioning and Fit4Her technology.

Also, you will get a lot of arch support and stability from this running shoe.

The out-sole is made from rubber and you get a very good grip on the roads.

With integrated tongue and asymmetric lacing, it gives you a very good fit.

The upper has engineered mesh and this makes these running shoe very breathable. 

Watch the video review of this running shoe before making a purchase decision.

+ POSITIVES
  •   Maximum cushioning
  •   Good for long-distance running
  •   Comes with IQ technology for live feedback
  •   Good for multi-sport like cross-training and walking
 NEGATIVES
  •   Breaking in is needed.
Editor Rating:
(4.5)
Mizuno Women's Wave Rider 22 Knit Running Shoe

The mid-sole is made from U4ic material and makes it very shock absorbing.

This material runs the entire length of this running shoe and gives you a very soft landing on your toes.

The U4icX Strobel lasting board under removable sock liner provides you a very comfortable feeling underfoot.

The upper of this running shoe is also very flexible. The knitted material is in the pattern of Wave.

So it stretches with your foot giving you a very natural running experience.

This material is also very breathable and lightweight.

Your feet remain cool and dry. Also, it doesn’t weigh you down during running.

+ POSITIVES
  •   Great shock absorption from heels and mid-sole
  •   Comes with a wide fit
  •   Good grip on the roads
  •   Great breathability.
 NEGATIVES
  •   Some feel the quality is not at par with the previous version
  •   Narrower toe box
Editor Rating:
(4.5)
Brooks Men's Glycerin 17 Running Shoes

Brooks Glycerin 17 is one the best running shoe with forefoot cushioning.

One a Brooks scale of cushioning, it is at a 3 which is the highest level of cushioning.

This cushioning comes from DNA LOFT which provides you with Supreme softness without losing your responsiveness and durability.

This also provides you with protection as it absorbs all the impact from your running.

This is extremely important for a forefoot runner like yourself as you are balancing your weight and moving forward using one of the most delicate parts of your body – the forefoot.

Also, to facilitate this kind of movement more easily, this running shoe comes with a DNA LOFT transition zone at the forefoot.

This will provide you with soft, smooth transitions at every step.

The upper is made from a flexible 3D Fit Print mesh upper and an interior liner which stretches to adapt every stride of yours.

If you are running a marathon, this running shoe will be your perfect companion due to its comfort and lightweight.

+ POSITIVES
  •   Great shock absorption.
  •   Supremely comfortable.
  •   Great for runner even after a foot injury.
  •   Great breathability.
  •   Great for people with lower back pain.
  •   Great for marathons, treadmills, and road.
 NEGATIVES
  •   Some felt the support is not up to the mark.
  •   Narrower toe box.
Editor Rating:
(4.5)

ASICS Gel Kayano is a premium running shoe which will provide you with the ultimate comfort and cushioning, even if you are a forefoot runner.

It comes with both forefoot and rearfoot gel cushioning which is exceptional an absorbing shock and impact.

This is very beneficial for forefoot strikers as your toes and forefoot will not get fatigued easily.

It is a lightweight running shoe which is designed to improve your natural gait efficiency through I.G.S or Impact Guidance System.

This is the latest version of this legendary running shoes and will provide you with proper support and responsiveness.

The outsole is made from AHAR or ASICS High Abrasion Rubber which is highly durable rubber and improves the overall lifetime of these running shoes.

It comes with SpEvaFoam 45 lasting material for a soft platform feel and an improved level of comfort.

 

+ POSITIVES
  •   Very comfortable and lightweight.
  •   Good at shock absorption.
  •   Will improve your gait efficiency.
  •   Long-lasting.
 NEGATIVES
  •   Insole seems to have less padding.
  •   The sole seems to be a bit stiffer than the previous version.
Editor Rating:
(4.5)

Brooks Ghost 12 is the latest update on the already very popular Brooks Ghost 11.

This is one of the most successful running shoes from Brooks and has served runners well for years.

The midsole of this running shoe is made from BioMoGo DNA which is a blend of earth-friendly material providing you with the ultimate level of comfort.

It comes with a full-length segmented CrashPad for an easy heel to toe transition.

Also, the forefoot is heavily cushioned, which guards your feet against any impact from your forefoot strike.

There is a soft blown rubber forefoot material which supplies more cushioning and grip.

The upper has engineered mesh which keeps the in-shoe environment well ventilated.

This keeps your feet cool and dry during your entire running session.

It comes with a traditional lace-up closure which keeps these running shoes fastened to your feet securely providing you with very stable running experience.

+ POSITIVES
  •   Great shock absorption and exceptional cushioning.
  •   Blown rubber forefoot material provides additional cushioning to the forefoot.
  •   Lightweight and durable.
  •   Great breathability.
 NEGATIVES
  •   Fit seems to be different than previous versions.
  •   Some felt the shoe to be bulky.
Editor Rating:
(4.3)

Hoka running shoes are known for their cushioning and this Clifton is also no different.

This is Clifton 6 and is the latest version of Hoka One One Clifton with significant improvements.

The midsole of this running shoe is made from EVA foam which makes these running shoe very lightweight.

Also, due to t this foam, these running shoes prove you with exceptional cushioning to your entire foot.

It comes with an early stage meta-rocker which provides you with an easy heel to toe transition.

The outsole is made from blown rubber and is strategically placed at high impact zones.

This improves the durability of these running shoes and they will serve you well for a longer period of time.

Also, it has a centered midfoot stitched area which provides you with a lockdown without any adding any extra heaviness to your foot. 

+ POSITIVES
  •   Great shock absorption and a high level of cushioning.
  •   Early-stage meta rocker for a smoother transition.
  •   Good grip on the roads.
  •   Great breathability.
 NEGATIVES
  •   Some runner cannot get adjusted to the pillowy cushioning.
  •   Narrower toe box.
Editor Rating:
(4.3)

ASICS Gel-Cumulus is more suited for runners with neutral to under pronation.

However, it will serve you well if you are a forefoot striker.

It comes with forefoot and rearfoot gel cushioning which will absorb a lot of shocks and will keep your feet well protected.

Also, the outsole is made from DuraSponge which is an AHAR compound providing you with exceptional durability and grip.

It also provides you with enhanced cushioning and provides you with better running experience.

This one also comes with I.G.S or Impact Guidance System and provides you with improved gait efficiency.

The SpEvaFoam 45 lasting material provides you with a softer platform feel and improved comfort.

The forefoot is well segmented and provides you with the required flexibility for an easier heel to toe transition.

Also, it comes with reflective details which will help you to be visible in low light situations and will help you to avoid potential accidents.

+ POSITIVES
  •   Great shock absorption.
  •   Enhanced cushioning with SpEvaFoam 45 lasting material.
  •   Good grip on the roads.
  •   Good for people with supination.
 NEGATIVES
  •   Some felt the size to be bigger than the previous version.
  •   Narrower toe box.
Editor Rating:
(4.3)

Brooks Bedlam is a new inclusion into the Brooks family. 

It is well-cushioned, lightweight and is made for runners with medium to high arch.

This running shoe comes with a different material for cushioning called DNA AMP, which is the most responsive material from Brooks to date.

Also, the level of cushioning is 3 on Brooks scale which makes it one of the highest cushioned forefoot running shoe.

And yes, your forefoot will be very well protected with these running shoes as the cushioning extends till the tip of the shoe.

It comes with Guiderails holistic support system which proactively guides your feet into proper alignment.

This helps you to have lesser heel and shin rotation, knee motion, and lesser injuries, especially to your knees.

This is a multipurpose running shoe and can be used for Long Distance, Speed/Track, Cross Training, Treadmill, and roads.

+ POSITIVES
  •   Great shock absorption.
  •   Improved responsiveness due to DNA AMP cushioning.
  •   Great for CrossFit.
  •   Focused on performance.
 NEGATIVES
  •   Need time to break-in.
  •   Sizing seems to be a bit off.
Editor Rating:
(4.3)

New Balance Vongo is another great running shoe with exceptional cushioning.

Its midsole is made from a single piece of foam which provides you with proper cushioning till the tip of the shoe.

This foam is developed after taking input from athletes and is focused on comfort.

It is exceptional with shock absorption and doesn’t let any impact travel up your legs and thus saves you from any kind of injury.

This is very important for forefoot runners as the toes are not as good dealing with stress and can develop fracture early on. This is one of the required features of any forefoot cushioning running shoes.

The outsole is made from blown rubber which improves the durability and grip of this running shoe.

On the upper, you have printed pattern which improves the style and also the structural integrity of this running shoe.

This is a low drop running stability shoe which will provide you with a more natural running experience and will also help you with your pronation.

 

+ POSITIVES
  •   Great shock absorption and cushioning.
  •   Lightweight.
  •   Good grip on the roads
  •   Stability shoes.
 NEGATIVES
  •   For some, the heel cut seems to be a bit high.
  •   May show early signs of wear and tear.

Buyer’s Guide

Before we get into the details of the running shoe needed by a forefoot striker, let’s understand who is a forefoot striker.

What is a forefoot striker?

A forefoot striker is someone who touches the ground with his/her forefeet first while running.

So, the entire impact of running is absorbed by the forefoot and then by the knees.

If you are not using a properly cushioned running shoe, you will end up injured.

Also, your knees may show signs of injury earlier than the other forms of the runner.

They why should you run forefoot is the obvious question?

The answer is not that simple.

Although your chances of injury are higher with a forefoot strike, you can achieve your maximum potential and performance with forefoot running.

Also, this is the most natural way of running and your body will adapt to it fast.

You can also run more on your forefoot as breaking period when the feet touch the ground is brief.

This helps you to more efficiently utilize your energy for further propulsion.

Running Shoe features:

Now that you know why you should run with your forefoot, let’s find out what kind of shoe you should use:

Heel to toe drop for best shoes for forefoot running

Larger heel height encourages runners to run with a heel strike.

However, if you want to run with your forefoot, a better choice will be to select a running shoe with lower heel-to-drop.

Zero drop running shoes are also good for forefoot runners. However, they are sometimes considerably pricier than your regular running shoe.

There are some affordable zero-drop running shoe options if you want to try.

Don’t spend a fortune on your running shoe yet as this type of running may or may not suit you.

Forefoot Cushioning

Since you will be landing on your forefoot, the entire impact of running needs to be absorbed by your forefoot.

Otherwise, you risk being injured.

So, you need a good amount of forefoot cushioning which will absorb the impact and will not let it travel upwards to your knees.

Some of the best material for cushioning are: 

  • EVA foam – Used in most of the running shoes nowadays and is a standard of the running industry.
  • U4iC – This midsole material is from Mizuno. It is lighter than EVA and is great at shock absorption.
  • BioMoGo DNA and DNA LOFT – This material is produced by Brooks and it is 24% more shock absorbent than other types of material. Also, this will give you soft and plush comfort under your feet.
  • A-Bound Cushioning – It comes from Altra. It is shock absorbent and light. Also, it adapts to your stride.
  • Fresh Foam – This is developed by New Balance based on athletes’ feedback. This is soft, lightweight and plush. Also, it is a great shock absorbent. 

Forefoot Flexibility

If you are running on your forefoot, your running shoe needs to have an optimal amount of flexibility.

It should not be too flexible or too hard.

In either of the above cases, you will have to deal with the injury.

While selecting a running shoe, try to bend it with your hand.

Essentially you are trying to bring the tip of the running shoe to the end of the heel.

This way you will understand how flexible the sole is.

Also, wear the shoe and lift up your heels. This will also give you a fair idea of the flexibility of the shoe.

Toe box

You need enough room in your toe box.

When you will land on your forefeet, it will spread and will take a greater area.

If your toe box is tight, your feet will not have sufficient room for expansion.

This will make your feet ache.

Also, if you have feet conditions like bunions, your running shoe must have all the features of a bunion running shoe.

This means it should be wide enough to not put any kind of pressure on your bunion.

Arch Support

Arch support will depend on the kind of feet/arch you have.

If you have a flat to low arch, the level of arch support should not be too high.

Otherwise, it will put too much strain on your feet and will cause you pain.

Also, it may result in different kinds of other foot injuries like plantar fasciitis.

However, if you have a high arch then you should use a running shoe which has a decent arch support height.

Not doing so, will again cause you pain and injury.

How to find out your arch type?

It is very easy.

Wet your feet and stand on a piece of paper.

Now take the paper and match it with the below picture.

Choose the right shoes for your feet July 2018

 

FAQs

What is the forefoot of your shoe?

Forefoot refers to the last one-third of your foot or the balls of the foot.

If you are a forefoot striker, then this part of your feet first touches the ground on landing and then the rest of the feet.

When you improve your speed, this kind of running will help you to pick up your pace fast.

Is forefoot running bad?

No, forefoot running is not bad…in fact it is one of the best forms of running.

This will lead to fewer injuries in your shins, knees, calves, etc.

However, if you have been a heel striker for life, then transitioning to forefoot running may seem challenging.

You may start getting injured more often, but that is more related to improper transitioning, rather than forefoot running.

How do you run on your toes?

Well, the method is easy, you strike the ground first with your toes rather than your heels.

However, it is easier said than done. If you are a heel striker and transitioning to toe-strike, then this may feel a bit weird.

Your calves and Achilles will be on fire. However, if you keep at it, you will improve.

In the below video, you will find 1 drill and 1 exercise routine that will significantly ease this transition.

 

Should you land on your heels or toes when running?

You should land on the balls of your foot when running.

Otherwise, your chances of injury are more.

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