Running Shoe Wear Patterns of a Forefoot Strike

Running shoe wear patterns reveal a lot of vital information such as the location of initial contact of the foot. This is where the most impact occurs during running and is the source of the wear patterns  under your shoe.

In forefoot running, initial contact of the foot is made on the outer-side of the forefoot, under the 5th and 4th toes – this is where most of the wear patterns should be, as shown below.

Running shoe wear patterns of a forefoot strike
Running shoe wear patterns of a forefoot strike

Running Shoe Wear Patterns of a Forefoot Strike

Much of the wear patterns should be concentrated towards the lateral edge (under the 5th and 4th toes) of the forefoot. In my case, that area is completely worn off. But in general, the wear pattern should be concentrated where the green lines are. This is where the tread should be worn off.

The most impact and shear force occur right at initial contact. Therefore, areas with less wear patterns indicate that these areas do not make initial contact with the ground during running. For instance, there is still some tread under the big toe which indicates that I am not making initial contact under my big toe.

Notice at the toes the tread is still evident which indicates that I am not making initial contact high up on my toes. And there is tread on the heel indicating that the heel does not strike first. 

If I was a midfoot striker, the tread would be worn off everywhere because in a midfoot strike, the balls of the foot, the midfoot, and the heel contacts the ground simultaneously.

Essentially, the running shoe wear patterns for a forefoot strike should occur right across the balls of the foot, with more wear patterns more laterally than medially.

More From Run Forefoot:

Benefits of Forefoot Running

What Type of Shoes Should I Wear for Forefoot Running?

Forefoot Running and Knee Pain

Forefoot Running and Shin Splints

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

P.S. Don't forget to check out the Run Forefoot Facebook Page, it's a terrific place to ask questions about forefoot running, barefoot running and injury. I'm always happy to help!

1 Comment

  1. Hi, i have trying to change my gate and am starting to show this wear pattern on my shoes. when i was looking for what pattern articles on-line i found articles which call the outside ball foot wear supination. As i didn’t have any symptoms i was puzzled. your article makes more sense to me and my experience. i run Brooks Ravenna 10, previously on Brooks adrenaline

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