Why You Get Tired Feet While Running

One reason a runner experience’s tired feet when running is overpronation which is mainly caused by 2 things: heel striking and cushioned running shoes. If you really want to overpronate, heel striking in cushioned running shoes will do the trick.

Tired Feet While Running

Overpronation is even greater towards the end of a run as well [1]. The problem is however, overpronation leads to foot-ankle fatigability which jeopardizes performance.

Why You Get Tired Feet When Running

So how does heel striking-induced pronation cause fatigability in the feet and ankles?

Overpronation during running fatigues the plantar flexor muscles whereby overpronation impairs force transmission through the foot during the stance phase of running, thereby causing the plantar flexors to work harder to maintain running speed [1].

To make matters worse, when the plantar flexors are tired, they are unable to control pronation, resulting in more pronation and more loading under the medial longitudinal arch [2 ].

The best way to prevent ankle and foot fatigue during running is to avoid heel strike and to wear zero drop minimalist shoes. For instance, landing with a forefoot strike is associated with significant reductions in pronation as compared with heel strike running, suggesting that the mechanical properties of a forefoot strike landing may also protect the medial longitudinal arch from overloading.

Click here to see what a forefoot strike looks like during running.

More From Run Forefoot:

Why Forefoot Running is Better – Learn why forefoot running is helpful to performance and injury prevention.

Heel Strike vs Forefoot Strike – An engineer’s perspective on the differences between forefoot running and heel strike running.

Why You Keep Getting Injured– Here I list all the injuries that are linked to heel strike running.

Shoe Reviews – My reviews on the best barefoot running shoes for forefoot running.

Most Popular Minimalist Shoes for Forefoot Running:

Men’s Merrell Vapor Glove 2

Men’s Vivobarefoot EVO Pure

Men’s Speedo Surf Walker

Women’s Vibram FiveFingers KMD Sport LS


[1]. Fourchet et al. High-intensity running and plantar-flexor fatiguability and plantar-pressure distribution in adolescent runners. J Athlet Train, 2015;50(2):117-125

[2]. Weist R, Eils E, Rosenbaum D. The influence of muscle fatigue on electromyogram and plantar pressure patterns as an explanation for the incidence of metatarsal stress fractures. Am J Sports Med. 2004; 32(8):1893–1898.

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!

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