7 Best Running Shoes For Heel Strike in 2024

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
7 Best Running Shoes For Heel Strike in 2024
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Choosing the right running shoe for heel strikers can be quite tricky. It’s not just a question of which model has less or more cushion. It’s a combination of many things like drop, rearfoot support, angles, and more. 

The good news is you don’t have to go through all those, because we already did! We ran in these running shoes in various routes and settings. We also took it up a notch and scrutinized the shoes in our lab. Here, you’ll find the best running shoes for heel strikers from different categories. 

How we test running shoes

To test their quality, we put all the running models on this list in a series of tests in our lab. To avoid brand loyalty, we purchase them with our own money.

This helps us assess the shoe’s strength and performance better. It doesn’t stop there, we also: 

  • Slice them open to see what’s inside. We delve deeper by checking the technologies and components of the shoes.
  • Measure every aspect of each shoe in various parameters. This includes heel-toe-drop, stack heights, insole thickness, midsole hardness, etc.
  • Set the measured values and ratings side by side with the averages so we can make every result more contextual.


Best running shoes for heel strike overall

ASICS Novablast 4

What makes it the best?

We cut open the best heel-strike running shoes and learned that Novablast 4 is the best in the category. Its plush cushion supported every distance and pace we went for while burning daily mileage. Despite the visual bulk, it sustains a steady ride.

Novablast delivers heavenly and cloud-like comfort. Each landing feels gentle on the foot and more notably on the heel since our caliper measures a towering 39.2 mm cushion. Our heels feel protected from surface impact. Upon checking with our durometer, the FF Blast+ ECO emerged 28.7% softer than average. Underfoot, this translates to a pillowy and bouncy feel.

While most maximalists are unstable, Novablast deviates from the standard by providing generous width to the midsole. It has an extra 9.6/4.7 mm in the forefoot and heel to find our footing securely without any ankle rolls. Even during sharp turns, our feet remain planted to the ground.

Novablast 4 is the perfect daily trainer because of its uncomplicated midsole. It moves naturally with our strides and is comfortable enough for walking. Our bend test confirms our observations when it measured 13.5% more flexible than average.

We warn caution that the upper feels damp and toasty on hot days. We don’t recommend this pair as a summer trainer.


  • Enhanced outsole offering better grip and durability
  • Improved upper comfort with premium materials
  • Upgraded tongue padding
  • Exceptional value at just $140
  • More cushion than ever before
  • Accommodates a wide range of foot sizes
  • The most stable Novablast yet
  • Retains most of its fun and energetic ride


  • Not the best for hot summer runs
  • Outsole still lacks grip in wet conditions
  • Minor weight increase compared to v3
Full review of ASICS Novablast 4

Best daily running shoes for heel strike

Nike Pegasus 41

What makes it the best?

After running with the best heel-strike running shoes and dissecting them in the lab, we learned that Pegasus 41 is the ultimate daily trainer. It serves as a reliable partner for burning daily mileage with its natural yet steady ride, comfy yet responsive cushioning, and smooth transitions. From steady runs to LSDs to speed bursts, this Nike smashes them all.

Pegasus 41 promotes foot strength with its uncomplicated midsole. It moves naturally with our strides and feels effortless on foot, together with the curved sole that brings springier toe-offs. Our bend test confirms this emerging 34.0% more flexible than average.

Another standout feature is the new ReactX foam, which our caliper shows is 33.6/22.2 mm. It strikes a good balance between impact protection in the heel and surface feedback in the forefoot. With its high 11.4 mm drop, it's suitable for heel strikers. For added comfort, the foam is a plush 15.8 HA with two Air Zoom units elevating the experience.

The Peg also has subtle support elements, perfect for beginners or long-distance runners who need more guidance as their feet get tired. The midsole sidewalls prevent excessive movements, while the heel’s 89.2 mm landing area is wide enough to find our footing securely.

While Pegasus 41 is not overly heavy at 9.9 oz (281g), runners accustomed to lightweight shoes may feel it’s a drag.


  • Enhanced for heel strikers
  • New ReactX foam!
  • Improved breathability
  • Plush upper
  • Good durability
  • Several stability enhancements
  • Newly designed rocker and bevel
  • Solid performance
  • Superior lockdown
  • Sustainable features


  • Not ideal for forefoot strikers
  • Price increased by $10
  • Worse than the v40 in cold temperatures
Full review of Nike Pegasus 41

Best race running shoes for heel strike

What makes it the best?

In terms of comfort and speed, the Endorphin Pro 4 is undefeatable. In our test runs, its plush and vibrant midsole is complemented by the carbon plate’s Speedroll technology, creating a smooth and energetic ride—definitely the heel-striker’s ultimate racing kick.

The lab and our own feet witnessed the magnificent power of this light supershoe. At only 7.8 oz (220g), it has so much energy to give that comes from the S-shaped carbon plate within the midsole, crafting an ultra-stiff core. We double-checked with our flex test and true enough, it emerged 137.5% stiffer than average.

Another energy source is the lively midsole that promotes effortless transitions without sacrificing comfort. Its plush 38.1 mm heel mutes out the ground with a 9.5 mm drop that supports heel-striker strides. Despite its stack, EP4 retains stability by incorporating a firmer 22.0 HA foam below the soft 18.5 HA top layer for steady support.

What’s even more impressive is the durable outsole that can survive repetitive landing impacts in the rear area. Our durometer reveals the 2.1 mm thick XT-900 rubber is a tough 85.3 HC. EP4 doesn’t stop there and performs better than average in our brutal Dremel test.

However, our experience tells us other elite racers feel faster since EP4 highlights comfort. Those who crave peak performance can explore other options.


  • Durable upper and outsole
  • Spacious upper fit
  • Enhanced midsole comfort
  • Great value at $225 for a supershoe
  • Versatile across all paces
  • Ideal for heel strikers
  • More stable than ever


  • Slightly heavier than v3
  • Less suited for forefoot strikers
  • Competitors may feel quicker
Full review of Saucony Endorphin Pro 4

Best stability running shoes for heel strike

What makes it the best?

For heel strikers in demand of a stability shoe, the Adrenaline GTS 23 reigns supreme. Its heel-hugging soul oozes reliable cushioning, heavenly matching our landings with security and comfort.

Every highlight of the GTS 23 starts at the heel, and that’s where the magic happens. An initial manual assessment of the heel counter revealed a 4 out of 5 stiffness, prioritizing a safe fit without overlooking comfort. Besides, this Brooks boasts a vast platform for heel strikers, going all-in for stability. With our caliper in hand, we measured a remarkable 96.9 mm midsole width at the heel, exceeding the average by 7.0 mm. 

Also within our lab walls, we measured a generous 34.1 mm heel stack that goes 0.9 mm beyond the average of our endless data for running. Paired with a steep 12.6 mm drop, the GTS 23 fed us protected landings while promoting smooth heel-to-toe transitions that got us going for miles!

Scrutinizing upper fabric unfolded a different tale. Our Dremel test raised concerns, with a four-second, 10,000 rpm exposure easily tearing up the fabric, leading to a disappointing 1/5 for toebox durability in the Adrenaline GTS 23.


  • Excellent stability without being intrusive
  • Ideal for easy miles
  • Specifically designed for heel strikers
  • Outstanding breathability
  • Comfortable and cushioned
  • Availability in narrow and wide sizes
  • Capable of handling tempo paces
  • Not expensive at all


  • The engineered mesh upper lacks durability
  • Lacks cushion for forefoot strikers
Full review of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23

Best trail running shoes for heel strike

What makes it the best?

Our top trail shoe for heel-strikers is Nike’s Pegasus Trail 5. Staying true to its name, our lab confirms it gives us all the support and defense we need to conquer mixed terrains. It boasts a reliable outsole for safety, a plush cushion for a comfortable ride, and a rockered flexible design that fosters smoother transitions.

An excellent all-terrain shoe needs traction and strength against mixed surfaces, and that’s exactly what the PT5 delivered in our runs. It features a tough 87.9 HC All Terrain Compound, equipped with 3.2 mm lugs supporting our uphill and downhill adventures.

Our heels received a lot of TLC with the Peg’s 34.6 mm rear stack, absorbing much of landing impact. Combined with a modest forefoot and a rockered structure, the resulting drop is a steeper-than-average 9.6 mm promoting smooth heel-to-toe transitions. The ReactX foam feels exceptionally plush and bouncy, making the ride more enjoyable. True enough, our durometer reveals it’s 51.1% softer than average.

Promoting our agility is the midsole’s high level of flexibility. Our bend test confirms it’s 31.3% more adaptive than average, validating our comfort during testing.

Unfortunately, the upper’s focus on durability lost significant ventilation. With a 2/5 breathability score, it will feel too stuffy during warmer days.


  • Fully gusseted tongue
  • Reflective elements
  • Durable upper construction
  • New rockered sole
  • Incredibly roomy toebox
  • Great for heel strikers
  • Reasonably priced
  • All-around comfort


  • Weight increase
  • Possibly too plush for trails
  • Still lacks traction
Full review of Nike Pegasus Trail 5

Best comfortable running shoes for heel strike

Brooks Ghost 15

What makes it the best?

Going beyond the comfort standards, the Ghost 15 centers its appeal on heel strikers. From the upper to the midsole, an orchestra of plush cushioning enveloped our feet and granted this shoe a spot in this list.

It’s when landing that the Ghost 15 truly shines, sinking our feet in a foamy goodness that we came to know so well. Our durometer catapulted the midsole to astonishing depths, ranking it as a downy 35.1% softer than average. Velvety sensations from above as well, with our caliper revealing an 11.4 mm thick tongue, more than double the average readings.

Attracted by its steep profile, we checked the midsole thickness with our caliper—a brutal 13.2 mm was unveiled, with the heel stack towering at 36.3 mm. For context, the hundreds of running shoes in our database average an 8.9 mm differential and a 33.2 mm heel height. These metrics translated to smooth strides in our runs, ensuring optimal protection when heel striking.

It’s in the wintery season that this Brooks stumbles. After 20 minutes in the freezer, the midsole bricked up by a massive 54.4%, hurting its performance. Underwhelming results when compared to the average increase of 27.4%.


  • Supreme comfort
  • Plush, stable ride that's a delight
  • Optimized for heel strikers
  • No heel slippage
  • Great grip in wet conditions
  • Built to endure countless miles
  • Impressive value for $140
  • Great for both running and walking
  • Available in up to four different widths


  • Slightly heavier than its predecessor
  • Could use some improvements in breathability
  • Not a good one for forefoot strikers
Full review of Brooks Ghost 15

Best running shoes for heel strike and wide feet

What makes it the best?

Utterly spacious, supportive, and luxuriously comfortable—these are just some of the wonderful thoughts we had while testing Nike’s InfinityRN4 on foot and in the lab. With its forgiving ride and accommodating fit, we felt like we could log infinite miles, making it the ideal choice for those with wide feet among heel-strike running shoes.

The shoe offers ample toe space and a broad base for stability. Measuring 118.4/91.2 mm in the forefoot and heel compared to the 113.5/90.3 mm average, it provides a generous fit. The toebox measures 99.9 mm, tapering gently to 80.0 mm at the big toe area.

The ReactX foam midsole offers a plush and responsive feel. With a heel height of 34.2 mm, it provides superior impact absorption. Our durometer indicates a soft 12.5 HA cushion, 46.6% softer than average, ensuring lasting comfort during long runs.

Beneath the midsole is a robust outsole that will surely keep premature wear in the heel area at bay. We barely saw scratches after extensive running and our durometer further proves its toughness with a 90.4 HC reading, 12.4% above average.

What Nike adds in its width is lacking in its length. The shoe felt noticeably short upon try-on. Our caliper confirmed that the Men’s US 9 size was 10.1 mm shorter than Nike's stated measurements. We suggest opting for a half-size larger for an improved fit.


  • All-new ReactX plush midsole
  • Soft and stretchy Flyknit upper
  • Ideal for heel strikers
  • Generously cushioned
  • Excellent for easy runs
  • Feels like running on clouds
  • Durable, long-lasting outsole
  • Reduced carbon footprint


  • Average-at-best breathability
  • On the heavier side
  • Sizes run notably small
Full review of Nike InfinityRN 4


Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.