Q: When running, I know that the way your foot strikes the ground matters, but does it matter which part of your foot hits first? Should i strive for heel-toe or toe-heel? I thought I read somewhere that it doesn't matter as long as you were wearing the appropriate well fit sneakers.
A: Foot strike when running has to do with a lot of different factors. There is debate over what is the proper gait when running, but really it is dependent on your own body mechanics and level at which your are running. If you are running recreationally or for fitness then what ever has been working for you is just fine If you are having injuries or pain when running your gait or how your foot is hitting the ground may be related. Your gait can be analyzed by a podiatrist, orthopedic, physical therapist, even some trained professionals at running specialty stores.
When you walk or run at a slower pace you should have a heel to toe gait meaning your heel hits the ground first. Elite and high speed runners are forefoot strikers. Different shoe gear can influence your gait as well. A running shoe with a thicker heel will influence more heel strike, think of how you walk when in high heels. Minimalist shoes are designed for a forefoot strike and have very little heel cushioning. And of course there is the in between with midfoot strikers who you are not hitting with the heel first but more the middle part of the foot. So there is not really a right or wrong it just depends on your running style.
Happy Running !
Check out the Head to Toe Wellness Running team at our next race The Jingle Bell Jog on December 7th in Brooklyn, NY!