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“Zero Drop” might sound like a novelty ride, weight maintenance program or East Village bar, but it actually describes an type of shoe. Podiatrists recommend zero drop shoes because they provide proper alignment for your feet, ankles and knees.
These shoes naturally shorten your stride by encouraging a midfoot or forefront strike. This creates a smoother running cadence and increases speed.
What Are They Good For?
Zero Drop Shoes are running shoes without a heel drop. Most casual and running shoes have some degree of drop, which is the angle between the heel and forefoot.
Many fans of these types of shoes argue that they help runners improve their foot strike and run more naturally, by shifting them away from landing on their heels. This reduces the force experienced by a runner's feet and knees – believed to be responsible for many common running injuries.
Running on one's heels produces more force than striking with either a forefoot or midfoot strike.
These forces can have a detrimental effect on your feet, joints and tendons. That's why it's essential to wear lightweight shoes that provide natural support for your body.
Another advantage of drop shoes is that they keep your feet in their natural position, which can strengthen them. Strong feet mean less risk for injuries like plantar fasciitis and shin splints.
Benefits of the Shoes
As a runner, you likely strive to run faster and more efficiently while also striving to remain injury-free.
0 drop shoes are the latest shoe trend that seeks to make running more natural. Since they don't require any heel elevation, 0 drop shoes may not be suitable for people with issues related to arch pain or other foot-related injuries.
The main distinction between traditional running shoes and zero drop ones is how well they dissipate impact from landing on your feet. Traditional shoes typically send this force up through your legs and knees when landing, whereas 0 drop shoes diffuse it better.
Many runners opt for 0 drop shoes instead of traditional footwear due to their reduced drop.
However, transitioning from traditional shoes to 0 drop shoes may cause some initial discomfort. This is normal and it's essential that you give your feet and body time to adapt. Rushing the process could do more harm than good in the end.
Why Do Podiatrists Hate Zero Drop Shoes?
Zero Drop Shoes have become the must-have accessory for runners and hikers alike, particularly Altra which has gained notoriety by creating a cult following among thru-hikers on long distance trails like the Pacific Crest Trail and Camino de Santiago.
Though they may not be the most comfortable shoe, 0 drop running shoes will provide lightweight support and let you feel the ground beneath you with each step. That's because their low-to-the ground sole is designed at an angle from heel to toe so that weight distribution is evened out.
This is beneficial, as you won't make any unnatural impacts with the ground, which may cause issues. That's why these shoes have become such a hit – not only do they improve running performance but they also prevent foot pain and other issues caused by too much pressure on the feet. In short, investing in these shoes is an excellent decision for anyone wanting to enhance their fitness levels and reduce injury risks.
Do Zero Drop Shoes Cause Plantar Fasciitis?
0 drop shoes are designed to allow your feet to move naturally. In contrast, traditional running shoes often include arch supports and thick padding which may restrict motion.
Recent studies have demonstrated that switching to barefoot or minimalist footwear can help reduce plantar fasciitis symptoms. This is likely because these shoes encourage your feet to become stronger, which in turn prevents injuries.
Another advantage is that it can improve your walking gait, potentially decreasing stress on the feet and ankles. Furthermore, it could prevent injury to knees and lower back as well.
However, it's essential to remember that everyone's foot shape and needs are unique. Therefore, consulting a healthcare professional before making a decision about which shoe type works best for you can be highly beneficial.CHECK OUT OUR RUNNING COURSES
Zero Drop Shoes for Walking
Zero drop shoes are a popular alternative to standard running shoes. These footwear options simulate barefoot walking, helping strengthen the foot muscles.
However, if you are used to traditional shoes with a high heel-to-toe drop, transitioning to zero drop shoes may prove challenging. To minimize the risk of injury, it's best to take this transition gradually.
One way to transition is by wearing your 0 drop shoes for walks, then short runs, then longer distances. This will give your feet time to adjust before engaging in a full run.
Eventually, your body will adjust to the new shoe and you'll be running in a zero drop shoe without any issues. But before that happens, here are a few tips to remember.
Start by striking the ground with your midfoot, not your heel. This can strengthen your foot and reduce pain in that area while relieving strain on knees and ankles.
Zero Drop Shoes with Cushioning
For runners seeking a minimalist shoe with cushioning, zero drop shoes with minimal padding might be your perfect fit. While these sneakers have minimal padding in the heel and forefoot, they still provide sufficient cushioning to reduce impact over long distances.
These running shoes are lighter than many barefoot running shoes, making them an excellent option for endurance athletes. Furthermore, their larger lugs on the outsole provide better traction on rough terrain and uneven surfaces.
Before making a purchase, however, you should give them some time to break in. Barefoot shoes can be quite stiff when first put on, so it's wise to give them several attempts so you can determine how comfortable they feel before committing.
There are various kinds of barefoot shoes on the market, but zero drop running shoes with cushioning are one of the most sought-after. They provide runners with an opportunity to reduce injury risk and improve their form without forgoing stylish sneakers.
Are Zero Drop Shoes Really Worth It?
Running shoes have been around for a while and have undergone many improvements. Some are better suited to your feet than others, while others are designed specifically to boost speed when running.
The latest shoe craze is zero drop or minimalist running shoes, which leave your foot flat on the ground to simulate running barefoot. Since this can be a major adjustment for many runners, it's best to take things slow when transitioning from traditional running shoes to zero drop options.
If you have an overpronator, transitioning to a zero drop shoe may be more challenging as they often lack arch support compared to standard shoes. However, that doesn't make them any less beneficial if your foot structure requires it.
If you're dedicated to the barefoot experience, zero drop shoes can be an excellent way to improve your running form and increase speed. But it's best to ease into it slowly so as not to cause any injuries; switching from standard running shoes may take anywhere from four to six weeks before full adaptation takes place – so be prepared!
Best Zero Drop Running Shoes
If you're in search of a zero drop running shoe, there are several options to consider. The ideal zero drop shoes should be lightweight and minimalist with excellent cushioning.
In addition to stack height and heel drop, most runners take into account shoe cushioning. Generally speaking, a lower heel-to-toe drop indicates less cushioning while a higher stack height implies more padding.
Minimalist or Natural running, as advocated by running form analysts such as Chi Running Instructors, reduces a runner's dependence on highly cushioned and supportive running shoes. They're lighter and more flexible than traditional shoes, encouraging a more natural and efficient running style.
Zero-drop shoes promote a midfoot strike rather than a heel strike, placing your foot and toe box more directly against the ground at impact. This is thought to improve stability and control while helping absorb shock better.