Heel Striking vs. Mid-Foot Striking vs. Toe Striking

Learn which is best for sprinters -- heel striking, mid-foot striking, or toe striking -- from sprinting coach Shane Paul Neil in this Howcast video.

Transcript

Hi. My name is Shane Paul Neil from singles Multisport, and I'll be discussing what's best for sprinters: toe striking, mid-foot striking, or heel striking.

Sprinters almost exclusively run on their toes for a myriad of reasons, one being that it's the easiest way to make sure that you don't decelerate. Mid-foot striking or heel striking during a sprint will generally cause you to be slower overall.

Mid-foot striking is generally better for somebody who's running the 800 meters or something a little bit longer. The ability to stay on your toes for that length of time can cause a lot of discomfort in your calves and your legs overall. Heel striking tends to come more into play for 5K and up, but everybody's a little bit different in their methodology and what they can and can't do.

Mid-foot strikers generally land on the front half of their foot as opposed to just their toe, maybe from halfway to the arch to the front. The mid-foot strike is actually a nice marriage between the toe striker and the heel striker. It provides a slightly bigger platform for more comfort while running while not giving the stop motion that a heel striker might experience.

A heel striker will do just that. They will land with their heel first. While heel striking is less common in faster races, novices and people running longer distances will tend to do more heel striking overall. A heel striker generally uses their entire foot during the course of a race. They'll land on their heel first, roll through the mid-foot, and lift off with the toe. There are no specific benefits to heel striking, outside of general comfort for a novice or a slower runner.

So to answer the question, in the end toe striking is ultimately going to be best for sprinters.

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