Today I ran (slowly) on toes (300 small steps). I got tired very soon.
I heard that skipping rope gives better results if done on toes (calf exercises)!

Is the same true with running too?
Should I stop when the toes get tired (even when the body doesn't)?

  • Why do you suspect that its better to run on your toes?
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 7:42
  • @IvoFlipse See the second answer here: fitness.stackexchange.com/questions/2265/… Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 8:01
  • But that's about jumping rope which isn't the same as running. I suspect what you really want to know is if running on your toes will improve your calf strength and/or running performance?
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 8:23
  • @IvoFlipse Wasn't my question clear enough? the question is: As it is advised to "jump" on toes while skipping rope, similarly is it also advised to "run" on toes? Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 8:27
  • 2
    First off that sentence is nowhere to be found in this question, so no its not clear. Furthermore, you're making assumptions here without sharing with us what those are and why you think they are correct in the first place. So I suggest you elaborate more on why you think you should do calf exercises when running.
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 10:16

2 Answers 2


Running on your toes may be a good idea if you want to improve your ability to run on toes, or perhaps other activities (jumping rope) which involve similar movements and muscle groups.

Is running on toes better no matter what, and better than regular running to improve your (regular) running speed, endurance, health, and so on? No, obviously not. Running on toes is an unnatural kind of movement and less efficient than regular running, so it only makes sense if you specifically want to train yourself for that kind of movement in particular.

Before asking whether something is "better" it's important to explain what your goal is. If your goal is to get strong calf muscles, and not superior fitness, endurance, running speed, cardiovascular health, running economy, and so on, then the answer may be "yes", but this would be a highly specific goal as not many activities would benefit from disproportionately strong calf muscles..

  • -1 Running on toes is unnatural? It's how it was done forever before shoes.
    – michael
    Commented Nov 13, 2011 at 0:37
  • I understood "running on toes" to mean literally running ONLY on your toes, without letting the other part of the foot, even the front, touch the ground at all. Maybe I was mistaken, but I don't think the poster was clear on that. I agree that barefoot running is great.
    – M. Cypher
    Commented Nov 13, 2011 at 14:45
  • 1
    You're right, it wasn't entirely clear. I'm taking back my down vote. Running on just toes would be very odd :) (apparently I can't take back my vote unless you edit. sorry)
    – michael
    Commented Nov 13, 2011 at 14:53

Forefoot striking (running on toes) is the way we evolved to run. In areas where people do not wear shoes, this is how everyone runs, as heel striking without padding is painful. There is some evidence that forefoot striking reduces injuries Harvard research site. Top running coaches often integrate barefoot running into training to encourage runners to regain some of this natural movement.

Since most people have worn shoes for their entire lives, they have learned to heel strike, and the muscles needed for a more natural stride are weak. So, if you start running this way, you need to work up to it slowly by running very short distances, and you can expect soreness in your calves and achilles tendon.

In my opinion, the work and pain to change form is worthwhile. I run much more easily since I switched about 2 years ago. A minimalist shoe will help you with the transition.


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