Is there any concern with heel striking if it's under your center of gravity?

edited February 2014 in General
I've read a lot about heel striking being a big no-no if your heel is hitting way out in front of you - which apparently distributes shock up your leg, into your lower back, etc. Bad news. But what if you heel strike beneath your center of gravity? Like, your foot never goes out in front of you, but you're hitting with your heel first. Would this just be considered "inefficient" but not likely to cause injury? I'm not a heel striker, but think about this from time to time.


  • Not that I'm aware of.
  • Not all heel strikes are created equally and same goes for forefoot/midfoot strikes. Any type of strike way out in front of the body is not going to be good for you. You'd like your foot to be as close to your center of mass as possible (though impossible to be completely under) at the time of landing. That all being said, I'm still more of a fan of the midfoot/forefoot/wholefoot strike pattern. The science is still out on the topic and you can find research to support both camps. 
  • Focus on foot strike is a little silly, I think. It seems that many people who try to change end up doing something inefficient and possibly more harmful, like running on their forefoot. I have a feeling that if one keeps a good cadence and has good posture and good mechanics in general, foot strike will not be anything to worry about. Sometimes you'll heel strike a little, other times you'll be more "on your toes." It just doesn't matter much.
  • No evidence at all the heel striking is inefficient, five or more studies have compared and all show no difference or that heel striking is more efficient. If you are not overstriding excessively and don't have anterior compartment syndrome or anterior shin splints I wouldn't worry at all about heel striking.
  • I think if runners land close to under their hips and still heel strike, it's probably more to do with the heel of the shoe getting in the way. It's actually very hard to heel strike if you land under your hips (try from a standing position lifting you foot up and let it drop relaxed onto the floor again -you'll touch with the forefoot first). Try a lower drop shoe if you're concerned.
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