I’ve posted about how I’ve changed my running style to be more of a mid- to forefoot striker (see that post here). In the process, I also picked up some zero drop and low drop running shoes. For anyone who may not know, the drop of a running show is the difference, in millimeters, between the height of the heel and the height of the forefoot. A lot of companies will tell you that number in the shoe specs, while some make you do the advanced math on your own. In my mind, a zero-drop shoe should be exactly that, 0mm of difference between the height of the balls of your foot and your heel. But, that’s apparently too simple for marketing folks, so it seems that a range of around from 0-3mm of drop seems to be considered zero drop. Anything less than 10mm seems would be lower than “normal”, but still seems high to me. My Brooks Cascadia’s (read about them new and as they are now!) have an 11mm drop.
I was really surprised that I could tell such a big difference when I wore either a zero drop or low drop shoe. One thing I noticed is that it made it much easier to avoid heel striking. Even now, after I think I’m not really heel striking anymore, if I throw on a pair of “standard” running shoes I have to think a little more about how my foot is landing. The higher drop shoes seem to encourage a heel strike for me. Might be the height of the heel, or it could be the design of the heel that is wider at the outsole than at the insole. It also surprised me that I could tell a bigger difference on the trail than I could on pavement. I’m not exactly sure why that surprises me, but it does. Maybe I thought the uneven terrain would disguise any difference in drop.
I think I’m going to stick with zero or low drop shoes for the foreseeable future. I have two pairs of Altras (all Altras are zero drop) and a pair of Hoka One Ones with 3mm drop. I really like the Altras because they have a nice roomy toe box. The Hokas are a medium width, but they have recently come out with a wide size in their Bondi model which I might try. Zero drops work well for me, and they just seem to fit into my latest push to simplify things in my life – I don’t need no fancy 12mm drop in my shoes!