How to Avoid Running on Your Heels

How to avoid running on your heels? In all sincerity, the best method is through barefoot running. However, you don’t have to run barefoot all the time to avoid running on your heels.


Running barefoot for only 2-3 minutes a day is adequate for improving neuromotor strategies for forefoot running.

Forefoot running involves flatter foot placement similar to midfoot strikeAll you need to do is apply the conscious effort of landing with a more flatter foot placement and land towards the front part of your foot first before the heel.

A proper forefoot strike should almost look like a midfoot strike (shown above right) to a bystander watching you run. However, in forefoot running, the center of pressure begins at the forefoot and ends at the heel.

How to Begin. Run barefoot for under 5 minutes before you put on your running shoes. And, make sure your running shoes do not have a raised cushioned heel. The best shoes for forefoot running are minimalist shoes. Need help choosing the right minimalist shoe? For more insight,  check out the most top rated minimalist footwear for runners.

Turned Off of Barefoot Running? Run in Pure Minimalist Footwear

If you prefer not to run barefoot whatsoever, the next best method to help you avoid running on your heels, is to run in minimalist running shoes. Always remember, the less cushioning, the more flexible and light a shoe is, the better you will be able to land on your forefoot.

Butt Kicking Drills

Butt kicking drills are great for helping you remove your foot quickly from the ground as forefoot running involves a higher step frequency as well as a higher back kick.

1. To begin, stand in one place and add a slight bend in both knees, making sure you perceive the bend in your knees as ‘soft’ and ‘springy’.

2. Hold your arms close to your body at a position that feels most comfortable for you.

3. Drop your eye gaze down on the ground, just a few feet in front of you, but make sure it feels ‘natural’ and comfortable. Gazing at the ground when running helps with the lean. The lean is important for forward momentum in forefoot running according to Dr. Nicholas Romanov’s Pose Method of Running.

4. Begin butt kicking on the spot making sure to relax your legs. Also, make sure you feel the center of pressure on the balls of the foot, not on the toes.

5. To move forward, imagine your entire body weight shifting forward (shown below). This helps prevent over-leaning and leaning at the hips.

Shift body weight forward to lean in forefoot running
Shift body weight forward to lean in forefoot running.

Do these butt kicking drills before your runs to prime and prep the neuromotor system for proper foot strike and leg swing mechanics.

More Forefoot Running Tips:

Run forefoot because you faster than you think!

Bretta Riches

"I believe the forefoot strike is the engine of endurance running..."

BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.
Bretta Riches

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