zero drop shoes

Although the term ”zero drop shoes” may suggest a new footwear brand, it aims to replicate barefoot movement. A significant increase in Achilles, calf, knee, and foot injuries occurred more than ten years ago as a result of runner’s obsession with the new trend of running barefoot. Fortunately, zero-drop running shoes provide a happy solution. They are significantly different from the heavily cushioned, supportive shoes that many of us wear. According to a study, they have many benefits.

The sneakers were created somewhere around 2008. Exercise science major and marathon runner Golden Harper thought at the time that injuries were caused by uneven shoes. To create a perfectly flat shoe he eventually named zero drops. He decided to remove the excess cushioning from his running shoes. Later on, he and Brain Beck stead co-founded the shoe firm Altra. That was the beginning of the zero-drop shoe revolution.

What is the definition of zero drop shoes?

You must first understand what heel-to-toe drop is to fully understand zero-drop running shoes. Regular running shoes usually provide less cushioning in the forefront and more in the heel. This indicates that the foot heel is greater than its front. Your foot will be positioned at a small inclination downward while you wear the shoe.

Thus the term “drop” describes the angle at which a shoe slides from its back heel towards the toe box. The typical athletic footwear has a low heel-to-toe drop of 10mm whereas stiletto shoes have a high drop. The heel and front of a zero-drop shoe are level because of its entirely flat sole. That’s what you called zero drop shoes.

Are minimalist and zero drop shoes the same things?

No. Although the terms minimalism and zero-drop are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not the same. Zero-drop shoes aim to replicate running barefoot, minimalist running shoes are not the same as barefoot shoes. Minimalist shoes are not cushioned while zero-drop shoes could be. Although zero-drop shoes are frequently worn for running, they can also be used for weightlifting and hiking.

Zero-drop running shoes might be categorized as minimalist if they don’t have much padding. In summary, minimalist footwear is more concerned with the gap between the levels of cushioning in the forefoot and the heel.

What are the advantages of zero drop shoes?

Zero drop shoes are designed to resemble being barefoot, allowing for more movement. Your walking pattern and spine alignment should be preserved by this design. Running with zero or low-drop (6mm or fewer) shoes is advised by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Now let’s explore the particular advantages of shoes with zero drops.

1. Improve your foot strength

Your body is built upon the basis of your feet. Strong ankle and foot muscles facilitate movement and support reducing the risk of injury. Although it may seem illogical, wearing shoes with a lot of cushioning could damage those muscles. Running or walking can be more comfortable with additional support. However, it also means that the muscles in your feet and legs that make up your lower body perform less. Muscle weakness can increase your risk of injury.

Walking in minimal shoes enhanced the size and strength of foot muscles just as much as doing activities that strengthen the feet, according to a 2019 study. Therefore, wearing the proper shoes might help you run or stroll with powerful feet.

2. Enhance your balance

Wearing zero-drop shoes can develop your foot muscles which can improve your balance and sense of stability. People over 60 who had stronger foot muscles, particularly their toe-bending muscles had better balance. People with a record of falls showed greater mobility and stability when wearing these shoes, according to another study.

3. Encourage better foot patterns.

At least initially, zero-drop shoes might promote a front or midfoot hitting pattern whether running or walking. Compared to heel-first strikers, research indicates that forefoot strikers are more shock-absorbing and suffer fewer injuries to their feet and knees.

However, when your body gets used and compensates, zero-drop shoes could become less useful. According to a 2017 study, wearing zero-drop shoes reduced knee strain while treadmill jogging by about 6% after six months.

4. Minimize muscular pain

Strongly cushioned shoes can seem to help with pain relief and shock absorption, but a 2018 investigation discovered the reverse. Shoes with a lot of cushioning change how you run and absorb more shock.

5. Improve your athletic ability

According to a study wearing minimalist shoes could speed up your running. Running shoes strengthened the calves and feet of runners throughout training. They completed a treadmill trial run of 5 kilometers after 20 weeks. When compared to runners who wore non-minimalist shoes, they were quicker and more effective.

Are there any risks of wearing zero drop shoes?

For the most part, people are safe wearing zero-drop shoes. However, allow yourself enough time to adjust to them. Rather than causing a heel strike, the shoes may generate a midfoot strike. Additionally, studies suggest that it might overstress your Achilles tendon. Use a higher-drop shoe when exercising if you have muscle inflammation or experience pain.

By improving your foot muscles, zero drop shoes may help avoid plantar fasciitis. Zero drop shoes may worsen your symptoms if you suffer from the illness. Those who have flat feet are similarly affected. Your feet will become stronger and perform better if you wear zero-drop shoes. However, some flat-footed people find that supportive shoes are more comfortable for them.

What are the best running shoes with zero drops?

The ideal zero drop shoes for running vary depending on the user’s needs, foot type, and preferred style. Merell trail glove, Vibram five-fingers V-Run, and Altra Escalante are a few well-liked choices. To determine which brand and model best fits your demands and comfort level, it’s essential to test various of them.


In conclusion, while zero drop shoes offer benefits such as natural foot movement and posture correction, they may increase strain on certain muscles and tissues, potentially causing discomfort or injury. Assessing individual biomechanics and consulting with a healthcare professional before transitioning to zero-drop footwear is crucial.

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