There has been some re-thinking of proper design for running shoes. Excerpts follow.
Examples of shoes with a lower heel:The American College of Sports Medicine [...] recommends shoes with a heel-to-toe height differential, or drop, of no more than 6 millimeters, or about a quarter of an inch. Traditional running shoes typically have a heel 12 to 16 millimeters higher than the toe.
An article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine examined the widespread practice of prescribing "distance-running shoes featuring elevated cushioned heels and pronation-control systems tailored to the individual's foot type." The article, published online in 2008, found no evidence in scientific literature that those features do runners any good.
Some studies show that raised heels on running shoes can promote a heel-first landing that generates high collision forces with the ground.
"It's just physics: If you keep building up the heel, you're going to keep striking it harder," says Laura LaMarche, founder and director of the University of Utah's Runner's Clinic in Salt Lake City. "So if you decrease the ramp of the heel, then you help promote kind of a softer midfoot landing."
Full article: The Just-Right Running Shoe - WSJNike's 10-year-old Free line was inspired by barefoot running, with super-flexible soles. It includes versions with heel-height differentials of 8, 6 and 4 millimeters.
Saucony in 2007 released the Kinvara, a shoe with a heel just 4 millimeters higher than its toe.
[...] Altra's Zero Drop soles with no raised heel [...]
Personally, I've been having an issue with "runner's knee" over the last couple months. (The article mentions knee pain as one of the symptoms of too-high heels on running shoes.) So I've ordered the Altra & Saucony shoes for a try-out. I'll try to remember to report back on the results.