When stepping in our t'ai chi we usually place the heel down and then carefully shift the weight/
I've just watched a Yang stylist on Youtube do exactly this. Very clear and very precise. Great stuff!
This was the approach taken when I was learning the short form. When it came to the long form, though, John Kells introduced another element.
As we took a step, we pointed our toes. Not in a deliberate toe/heel manner. Rather it was more like a glide, with the toes pointing and leading, then the heel being placed down.
This meant that you had to endure another second of agony on the supporting leg. It also made it clear where your weight was and that you didn't just dump it into the front foot.
Try it and see what difference it makes.