Cushioned Forefoot Running Shoes

This section is a review of cushioned forefoot running shoes with minor stability elements such as arch supports, but are still light weight and flexible.

Mizuno Musha 3 (unisex)

minimalist ruuning shoes forefoot strike forefoot running no heel more cushioning mizuno mushaThe Musha 3 is a highly durable running shoe and is great for long runs, speed work, and  short to long distance races. The shoe offers some support (minor arch support) without the added weight. For cushioning, some wear-testers reported the Musha’s were comfy while others said they lacked cushioning and felt stiff.

The Musha’s are light weight and the upper mesh is extremely breathable! The toe box is relatively wide allowing the toes to spread out.  Overall, the Musha’s are low-profiled, sleek, and certainly tough, great for marathoners.

Mizuno Musha 2 (unisex)

minimalist ruuning shoes forefoot strike forefoot running no heel more cushioning mizuno mushaThe Musha 2’s are great for those who aren’t big fans of going super-minimal and want lots of protection on their feet.

The Musha 2’s are different from the Musha 3’s in that they have a thicker outsole and heel, but they are exceptionally light in weight. I like how they are compact looking yet roomy and durable like the Musha 3’s.

I would not consider these a minimalist shoe because of the thick heel; however the heel to toe differential is quite minimal and they are light as most minimalist shoes.

The toe box is wider than most racing flats, they are very roomy yet provide the right amount of snug at the heel and around the shoe tongue. The lacing placement is great so there’s no tightness around the top of the foot.

The Musha 2’s are for mild over-pronators. They lack arch support which is perfect for strengthening the feet. Nonetheless, they are great for forefoot running, and for all distances.

 K-Swiss Blade Light Run

minimalist ruuning shoes forefoot strike forefoot running no heel more cushioning k-swiss blade lightIf you prefer lots of soft, plush cushioning, the K-Swiss Blade Light Run is for you. Worn by ultra-marathoners, the Light Run is very cushy, durable, and flexible.

The downfall is the Light Run is clunky and the heel is thick and quite flared. Despite the clunkiness, they are surprisingly light weight and responsive, almost ‘springy-like’. In fact, the most popular comment from wear-testers  was the lightness of the shoe. Lastly, you don’t want a shoe with an outsole and a heel any thicker than the Blade Light Run!

Puma FAAS 250

minimalist ruuning shoes forefoot strike forefoot running no heel more cushioning puma faasPuma is my personal favorite, they make a great running shoe for all distances! Especially these rockets, the Puma FAAS 250.

The FAAS 250  is super light, low profiled, very responsive, and very flexible. The FAAS 250s are well cushioned making for a comfy ride – you get a nice road surface feel.   Also, the FAAS 250 is more flexible and lighter in weight than the shoes listed above.  As for the upper, it’s very thin and breathable, yet durable.

 More From Run Forefoot:

Bretta Riches

Bretta Riches

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

BSc (HONS) Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, running geek, founder of Run I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, running feels natural,easier, and I'm injury free.I launched Run to advocate the potential benefits of forefoot running and raise awareness on the potential dangers of heel striking.
Bretta Riches

4 Comments on Cushioned Forefoot Running Shoes

  1. A. Jensen // 17/05/2014 at 4:04 am // Reply

    Hello Bretta,

    Thanks for excellent info on forefoot running. I’m a long-time high arch, forefoot striker who tried moving back toward the heel briefly to check out the so-called “marathon shuffle” that some of my ultra friends talk about but ended up with some compartment injuries. Now I’m back to my more natural forefoot strike with no problems. Watching the success of Meb and the Ethiopian women at Boston helped get me back to forefoot running. Happening on to your site while researching Skechers new performance models helped also. Now I’m in the GoMeb Speed 2s which are really light and definitely seem to promote mid to forefoot strike with little of no heel involvement while the cushioning works for asphalt where I spend most of my time. What’s your take on their new performance series?


    Ukiah, CA

    • Hi AJ!
      Thanks for commenting, and you are welcome! Its funny because the marathon shuffle closely resembles race walking and I think these ultra marathoners acknowledge that forefoot running is the right way to run, given that the majority of elite marathoners are mid-foot to forefoot strikers, but continue to shuffle maybe because they are stuck in a comfort zone. The problem with shuffling, and I think this was Meb’s problem prior to Skechers, is that shuffling on the heels is okay at slower speeds, but to get faster for any distance, including the marathon, speed training is the best way to improve race times and I think this is where heel strikers experience injuries such as compartmental syndrome. To run fast, you must run on your forefoot, it’s almost the fundamental law in biomechanics lol.

      For me, I also learned from watching Ethiopian women and even though I have been injury free for years and believe I know what Im doing, I still watch them to refresh myself because I didn’t grow up running barefoot like they did, so I watch and continuously learn from them so that my heel striking habits don’t resurface.

      As for Skechers, I do have the GoRun which was their first line of running shoes geared towards discouraging heel striking, and I really liked them, but there was a ‘bump’ in the arch region of the shoe. I read reviews on it, and the bump was the number complaint, with regards to minor discomfort. I don’t think anyone got injured from it. But that’s why I stopped wearing the shoe. I haven’t tried the GoMeb Speeds 2, but it has been a few years now since Skechers launched their ‘anti-heel strike’ line, so there’s no doubt in my mind that their shoe construction has improved over-time. And, I think the fact that Meb won Boston wearing that shoe really speaks volumes in terms of how the shoe influences performance.

      Personally, I think that without Skechers, if Meb decided to ditch his heel strike and adopted a forefoot strike without the aid of such shoe, he would have experienced major injuries, which he obviously didn’t because he trained hard enough to win Boston. But take Dathan Ritz’ for example, Salazar advised that Ritz change his heel strike to a forefoot strike. I don’t know what comprised of his transitioning process (drills, etc), but Ritz was injured soon after and struggled with performance. Maybe if Nike designed a shoe, like Skechers did, that encourages a forefoot strike to ease the transition from heel striking, Ritz may have avoided injuries related to the transition.

      So my take on it is that the GoMebs probably have similar functionality to orthotics. Orthotics correct foot abnormalities, Sketchers correct foot strike abnormalities. And, I am so glad that you switched back to forefoot running and experienced the difference of how much better it feels compared to heel striking. Keep me posted 😀


  2. Nowadays I’m using Mizuno Musha 5. They are very light, good for competitions and fast run trainings. And because of the low drop they are proper for forefoot running.

    São Paulo – Brazil

    • I have noticed that the Musha line has been getting more and more minimal. I started out with the Musha 3s, but I think I would prefer the Musha 5’s because they look more minimal!