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. Here, you’ll find the ten best running shoes for heel strikers from five different categories.
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. And we only give our feedback once we hit the 30 to 50-mile mark.
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
Measure every aspect of each shoe in various parameters
Generate their CoreScore for you to see how they stack up against other running shoes
If there's one thing we can't take away from the Pegasus 38, it's that it's the GOAT of all workhorse shoes in our arsenal! It oozes with plushness, stability, and pop, doing it all from slow days, tempo sessions, and gym workouts even. If you want to run with fun, take the Pegasus any day!
The Ghost 14 from Brooks really fits the bill as the shoe for all runners. It's a workhorse that's comfy enough for easy days, responsive for tempo sessions, and is heavy-duty to handle light trails. Overall, a no-fuss daily trainer that will work for all your runs!
The Saucony Ride 14 is a daily trainer that impressed us with its utilitarian and consistent ride. It stays nice and stable from short to long-distance runs, giving us that peace of mind to run with confidence from start to finish! It's neither too soft nor too firm and can handle just about any type of run - from daily runs, recovery days, and even tempo paces.
Nearing its 24th iteration, Gel Cumulus sure did something right. And we couldn't disagree. The Asics Gel Cumulus 23 is here yet again to prove that it's the most value-oriented neutral trainer out there. It's a one-shoe-fits-all kind of running shoe. It's comfortable for jogs, daily runs, and even for your first race day in 5K or marathon!
Thanks for making our daily runs nice and stable, Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21! The upper hugged our feet well, and the midsole is balanced - it's neither mushy nor too rigid. It just kept our motions in check, preventing any excessive movements. It's certainly not a light shoe, but having tested its precursors, we can say that Brooks is heading in the right direction! Apart from support, what stood out to us also is its tank-like durability.
Still staying true to its Kayano roots, we found the Kayano 28 retaining its hallmark on stability and support while seeing some updates to amp up comfort and flexibility. And with better flex, the shoe was just overall fun! Although designed as a daily trainer, we found it fitting as a standalone shoe that you can take out of the closet during race day and on long, slow miles.
The Floatride Energy 3 is a neutral trainer from Reebok with a lightweight design and a lightweight price tag. It’s got an aggressive full-length outsole for runs on varied terrain and is surprisingly comfortable for a budget shoe. Don’t be scared off by the price, this affordable little bundle performs well! They look pretty cool too!
An affordable trainer that's got the makings of advanced running shoes? Hello, Brooks Revel 5! It's a smooth and lively jack-of-all-trades that will keep your feet comfy and bouncing. It can push the pace, eat up half-marathon distances, and breeze through your daily runs!
For us, the Salomon Sense Ride 4 is a surefire winner in the trail running scene! It's a beast that has INSANE grip, loads of underfoot protection, and a fun, lively ride. Now, that's a combo you don't get every day from a dedicated trail shoe! It can eat up anything you throw at it, for sure, but where it shines is during steep climbs, telling you so much of its ground-digging traction!
A beast in all our trail runs, the Saucony Peregrine 11 was more than confidence-inspiring! It's a tank that mutes out all the harshness of the trails while eating up everything you throw at it! From slick mud, snow, dry, and rocky stream crossings, this shoe just bites hard and deep into the ground. It's also built to run fast, and we got exactly that in the Peregrine!
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.