15 Best Running Shoes For Forefoot and Midfoot Strikers Reviews – 2020

Does running tend to keep you on your toes (literally)? If you land first on your midfoot or forefoot while running instead of your heel, you’re not alone. However, you do need to make sure you choose the right pair of running shoes or else your runs could cause pain or even joint damage. But with so many options out there, which should you choose?

We’ve made it easy by pouring over pages of reviews and spec sheets, calculating toe to heel drops and reading reviews from fellow runners like you. Hands down our best pick is the Brooks Levitate 2. You get classic Brooks quality, responsive cushioning designed for full-foot comfort and a moderate heel to toe drop for mid and forefoot strikers. 

Check out our full review below, along with some other great options whether you want support, comfort or speed. One of these shoes even won the 2019 Runner’s World® Gear of the Year Award. Can you find it?

Top 3 Comparison Table
IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
Brooks Levitate 2
  • Features: DNA AMP midsole, Fit Knit upper and 8mm heel to toe drop
  • Benefits: Responsive cushioning, snug fit and neutral support for the midfoot striker
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE
New Balance 1080v9 Fresh Foam
  • Features: Full-length Fresh Foam midsole, 8mm heel to toe drop
  • Benefits: Plenty of plush foam to keep your feet happy if you’re a midfoot striker
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE
Skechers Unisex GOrun Razor 3 Hyper
  • Features: Hyperburst Foam, lightweight construction and 4mm heel to toe drop
  • Benefits: Fast and responsive “springy” feel for the speedy forefoot striker
CHECK PRICE

15 Best Running Shoes For Forefoot and Midfoot Strikers

1. Brooks Levitate 2 – Top Pick

There’s just not enough time for all the good things we could say about Brooks running shoes. The Levitate 2 is no different. 

They are springy and responsive thanks to the DNA AMP cushioning that provides full-foot comfort. The Fit Knit upper hugs your heel nicely and includes an ultra-soft heel tab to help protect your Achilles tendon from irritation on long runs.

The 8mm heel to toe drop means it’s a good option for midfoot strikers or forefoot strikers who are transitioning to something lower. Some of you forefoot strikers might even like the Levitate 2 enough you decide to stick with it.

Features: DNA AMP midsole, Fit Knit upper and an 8mm heel to toe drop

Pros

  • Responsive and energetic
  • Quick transitions
  • Fit Knit upper

Cons

  • A little heavy for longer runs (You’ll just burn more calories!)

2. New Balance 1080v9 Fresh Foam – Best for Comfort

These shoes were designed and built with comfort in mind. Their Fresh Foam technology that extends from heel to toe will comfort your midfoot and toes no matter how you land. The 1080v9 even has some extra foam placed in the midsole for better arch support. 

The breathable upper also adds to your comfort by keeping your feet cool while still adapting to the movements of your foot. The 8mm heel to toe drop makes these another solid option for you midfoot and forefoot strikers.

Features: Added cushioning, full-length Fresh Foam midsole for front to back comfort and an 8mm toe drop

Pros

  • Good midsole support
  • Additional foam for better arch comfort
  • Plush ride

Cons

  • The extra foam makes these a little heavier than other options.

3. Skechers Unisex GOrun Razor 3 Hyper – Best for Forefoot Strikers

The GOrun Razor 3 Hyper (the name even sounds fast!) won the 2019 Runner’s World® Gear of the Year Award. The Hyper Burst foam is revolutionary and gives just enough comfort while still retaining the “springy,” energetic feel that’ll help you set some new speed records.

The 4mm heel to toe drop means it’s a good option, especially for you forefoot strikers.

Features: Hyper Burst Foam, Lightweight Construction, 8mm toe drop

Pros

  • Energetic cushioning and “springy” feel
  • Very light construction
  • Great for speedwork

Cons

  • The word SPEED written on the side. (Some like it, some don’t)

4. Brooks Pure Flow 7

If you prefer Brooks shoes but are a severe forefront striker and would prefer a more minimalist shoe than the Levitate 2, the Pure Flow 7 is a good option. 

It has a clean and simple design that’s lightweight and won’t slow you down. The stretch-woven upper flexes with your foot so it feels unrestricted while running.

The 4mm heel to toe drop means it’s a good option, especially for you forefoot strikers.

Features: BioMoGo DNA cushioning, Lightweight Construction, 4mm toe drop

Pros

  • Simple, lightweight design
  • Soft and responsive DNA cushioning
  • Sock-like fit

Cons

  • The toe box might be too snug if you have wide feet

5. HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 5

If you’re looking for cushion, you’ve come to the right place. The Clifton 5’s have plenty of cushioning, but are also engineered to be fast. The EVA midsole combined with the early stage Meta-Rocker makes for a really smooth ride your feet will finally enjoy.

The 5mm heel to toe drop makes it a good choice for midfoot and forefoot strikers alike.

Features: EVA foam midsole, Meta-Rocker, 5mm toe drop

Pros

  • Great combination of soft and light
  • Cushy and smooth, but still fast
  • Proven durability

Cons

  • More expensive than other options

6. New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo V4

The Fresh Foam Vongo V4 is a great shoe if you want that long-run comfort and need some extra support. The thick layer of Fresh Foam gives you full-foot cushioning. You’ll also love the sock style upper since it eliminates the traditional tongue that tends to move around while running.

Many shoes that have a low toe drop tend to lack some cushioning. Not these, even you forefoot strikers can run in comfort thanks to the 4mm heel to toe drop.

Features: Comfortable upper, Fresh Foam midsole, 4mm toe drop

Pros

  • Good for long-run comfort
  • Sock-style upper
  • Thick Fresh Foam  midsole

Cons

  • Thick sole and extra cushioning are not the best for speed runs

7. Saucony Guide 10 8mm

With the Saucony Guide 10, you get more than what you pay for. On long runs, your feet and ankles will love their stability and the EVERUN cushioning gives you comfort and support without being weighed down by the extra bulk. It’s really a nice combination for such a reasonable price.

The balanced foot strike design and 8mm toe drop make this a good choice for the midfoot striker.

Features: Tri-Flex sole, Everun cushioning, 8mm toe drop

Pros

  • Balanced foot strike
  • Reasonable price
  • Very light

Cons

  • Some feel they are too narrow

8. Skechers GoRun Forza 3 – 6mm

With the GoRun Forza 3, you’ll get Sketchers FLIGHT GEN full-length midsole cushioning which provides long-run comfort no matter where you land. The cushioning is responsive yet surprisingly lightweight and durable. Some runners get up to 500 miles out of these shoes.

The full-length cushioning and the low 6mm heel to toe drop make the GoRun Forza 3 a good choice whether you land on your mid or forefoot.

Features: 3-D structural mesh upper, FLIGHT GEN cushioning and a 6mm toe drop

Pros

  • Extremely durable (Use them for up to 500 miles!)
  • FLIGHT GEN midsole
  • Breathable upper
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Some runners have reported blisters (Maybe they didn’t have it broken in yet?)

9. Asics Gel-DS Trainer 24 – 6.3m

The Asics Gel-DS Trainer 24 is light, responsive and super-grippy. It has some of the best grip you’ll find on any running shoe

The Rearfoot GEL technology provides good heel impact-resistance while you get FLYTEFOAM LYTE technology cushioning in the midsole.

Its 6mm heel to toe drop makes it a good choice for mid and forefoot strikers looking for more minimalist-style shoes that are light and fast.

Features: FLYTEFOAM LYTE midsole, rearfoot GEL cushioning and a 6mm heel to toe drop

Pros

  • FlyteFoam Lyte midsole cushioning
  • Incredible grip
  • Light and responsive

Cons

  • Some might prefer a more breathable upper on hot runs

10. HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 6

The Bondi 6 is HOKA ONE ONE’s most cushioned shoe in their road shoe series. People rave about their cushy comfort. The full-length EVA midsole gives you good full-foot comfort whether you land mid or forefoot. Read more about the most comfortable running shoes here.

The 4mm heel to toe drop makes it especially good for you forefoot strikers.

Features: Full-length EVA midsole, tons of cushion and a 4mm toe drop

Pros

  • Loads of cloud-like cushion
  • Full-EVA midsole
  • Smooth, comfortable ride

Cons

  • On the expensive side (As most HOKA ONE ONEs are)

11. New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon v2

You’ll be surprised at how soft the Fresh Foam Beacon v2 feels underfoot. It has just the right amount of Fresh Foam to be comfortable, yet still maintain a good level of responsiveness.

They feature an updated heel design that reduces irritation along the Achilles tendon. The 6mm heel to toe drop means you midfoot strikers can enjoy your long runs again.

Features: Fresh Foam midsole, improved heel design and a 6mm toe drop

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Secure fit
  • Responsive cushioning

Cons

  • Some report it fits a bit large

12. New Balance 1500 V6

Looking for something light and fast? The redesigned 1500 V6 is for you. The REVlite midsole isn’t as cushy as New Balance’s Fresh Foam, but man is it fast and light! 

The race-inspired design and 6mm toe drop make this a good choice for the midfoot striker looking to win the office 5K.

Features: Fits like a glove, REVlite midsole, 6mm toe drop

Pros

  • Outsole gives good grip and control
  • New, sleek design
  • Unbelievably lightweight

Cons

  • Some have reported blistering while on long runs (These aren’t really for long runs though)

13. Saucony Fastwitch 9

The Fastwitch 9 are super-fast and super-responsive thanks to the SSL (Saucony Super Lite) EVA midsole which provides comfort and support without added bulk.

The PWRTRAC outsole has 3X the traction of normal rubber and is great for those fast runs with plenty of sharp turns. You speedy forefoot strikers will love the low 4mm heel to toe drop.

Features: SSL EVA midsole, Reasonable price, 4mm heel to toe drop

Pros

  • Fast, light and responsive
  • Good price point
  • PWRTRAC outsole for 3x traction

Cons

  • Some would prefer a bigger toebox

14. ASICS GEL-Kayano 26

Although the GEL-Kayano 26 has a 10mm toe drop, which is higher than most on our list, it does have GEL technology in the heel and forefoot, so you’ll get good impact resistance even if you tend to strike more on the mid or forefoot. 

It also features ASICS FLYTEFOAM cushioning for lightweight and energetic comfort.

Features: Heel and forefoot GEL Technology, FLYTEFOAM, 10mm toe drop

Pros

  • GEL in both the heel and forefoot
  • Classic Asics’ durability
  • Responsive FLYTEFOAM midsole

Cons

  • One of the more expensive Asics options (Comparable to HOKA ONE ONE)

15. Saucony Guide ISO 2

The Guide Iso 2 combines an EVERUN topsole with EVA and PWRFoam to get the right amount of comfort and responsiveness no matter where you land. The ISOFIT upper gives you added stability while still permitting the right amount of flex.

The 8mm heel to toe drop might be a bit much for a forefoot striker, but you midfoot strikers will love it.

Features: ISOFIT upper, EVERUN topsole, plush cushioning with good energy return

Pros

  • Smooth and natural ride
  • ISOFIT dynamic fit upper
  • EVERUN topsole for good energy return

Cons

  • Some might prefer a more breathable upper for hot runs

Forefoot and Midfoot Strikers Buying Guide

If you tend to land farther forward on your foot when running, this will seriously affect the type of shoe you should look for. We’ve identified four things you should consider when choosing the right running shoe.

  • Heel to Toe Drop
  • Previous Shoe Type
  • Midsole
  • Positive Reviews

Heel to Toe Drop

Your shoe has cushioning in the heel and cushioning in the forefoot. Heel to toe drop is the difference in height between the two and is usually measured in millimeters.

Although other design features can affect this, generally the farther forward you land on your foot, the lower heel to toe drop you’ll want to get. The lower heel drop naturally works well with your mid or forefoot strike.

If you’re a forefoot striker, a 0-6mm heel to toe strike would be best. For the midfoot striker, 6-10mm is better for you. 

So, does this mean that you should go out and buy the lower toe drop shoe right away? 

Previous Shoe Type

Making a drastic change to the type of shoe you wear can actually do more harm than good, it’s better to ease into things. Like if you use to wearing running shoes for a treadmill, which we did another guide on here.

Let’s say you’ve been wearing a shoe with a tall 12mm heel to toe drop, but you realize you’re actually a forefoot striker. Plan on a few transition months until you’re able to run full time in the 4mm drop shoes. 

Alternate runs between the two pairs, or use a pair with a moderate toe drop until you get used to the new running style. In our list, we have some great options for low drop shoes that still have plenty of cushioning to help you enjoy the transition into your new shoes. You may also be interested in our guide a waist pack for running.

Midsole

Traditionally most running shoes had the best cushioning focused on the heel since most people tend to land there the hardest. As a forefoot or midfoot striker, you should focus more on the midsole and toe cushioning since that’s where you take most of the impact.

Positive Reviews

Very few running shoes are specifically marketed for either forefoot or midfoot strikers. Depending on the different design features, some shoes may work well for both. 

That’s why checking out positive reviews from other runners can ensure you find the right pair. As you look at reviews, see if you notice any common issues runners may be having or things that others mention they enjoy about those shoes. You can read more here about our beginner’s guide on picking running shoes.

No need to worry about the shoes on our list. Every single one has received tons of positive reviews from other runners like you. Check them out below!


Which Is the Best Running Shoe for Forefoot and Midfoot Strikers? – Final Thoughts

Stop suffering from pain and discomfort because you’re a forefoot or midfoot striker trying to wear a heel striker’s shoe. While keeping in mind your particular running style, don’t forget to choose a shoe with the proper heel to toe drop, that’s not a drastic change from your previous shoe, has a cushioned midsole and plenty of good reviews. We know you’ll love the Brooks Levitate 2. The classic Brooks quality, energetic cushioning, balanced full-foot comfort and the moderate 8mm heel to toe drop make this our #1 top pick. What are you waiting for? Get the right pair and improve your running today.

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
Brooks Levitate 2
  • Features: DNA AMP midsole, Fit Knit upper and 8mm heel to toe drop
  • Benefits: Responsive cushioning, snug fit and neutral support for the midfoot striker
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE
New Balance 1080v9 Fresh Foam
  • Features: Full-length Fresh Foam midsole, 8mm heel to toe drop
  • Benefits: Plenty of plush foam to keep your feet happy if you’re a midfoot striker
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE
Skechers Unisex GOrun Razor 3 Hyper
  • Features: Hyperburst Foam, lightweight construction and 4mm heel to toe drop
  • Benefits: Fast and responsive “springy” feel for the speedy forefoot striker
CHECK PRICE

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Austin Mills

Austin Mills in an outdoor enthusiast. He's been featured on some of the top outdoor & fitness blogs sharing his expertise in order to help others. In his free time, he likes spending time with his dogs enjoying the outdoors.

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