The Topic for today is: Zero-Drop Shoes
As a runner, I was always aware of how important your shoes are. I obsessed about them and never hesitated to buy another pair.
I knew about neutral shoes vs stability shoes and switched back and forth. Having bunions, I was always concerned about having a wide toe box and had no problems finding shoes that accommodated this.
In the beginning, I wore whatever felt comfortable: Saucony, Brooks, Asics, New Balance, Newton. I tried them all.
I finally settled on Nikes and wore them happily for several years.
Then I switched to Mizunos and loved them (even ran my Marathon in them).
Finally came my foot pain aka the Neuroma/Bunion issue. I tried several shoes with a wide toe box. My foot still hurt so I kept returning them. Finally I settled on Hokas.
I still felt discomfort but it was bearable. I didn’t even realize that it may have been because they had a lower heel drop than I had been wearing.
I hesitated to go to Zero Drop until I hiked 10 miles in my Altra (Zero-drop) Trail shoes (that I only bought because they were on sale). For the first time in a long time, my foot did not hurt.
Hmmm. So I ordered a pair of Topos (They also have a wide toe box). Not zero drop yet but a lower drop than my Hokas.
My foot felt a lot better. It was sore but I actually ran 10 miles and did not have to go home immediately to ice my foot.
So I took the plunge and ordered Topos in a Zero-drop style.
Magical!! NO FOOT PAIN!!
- Mizuno Wave Inspire – Drop: 12 mm
- Hoka Gaviota – Drop: 5 mm
- Topo Fly-Lyte – Drop: 3 mm
- Topo Magnifly – Drop: 0 mm
Maybe it was a coincidence and had nothing to do with a shoe with a lower heel drop.
But I decided to look into it. And here’s what I discovered:
- In zero-drop shoes, the heels and toes are the same distance off the ground (as in when you walk barefoot.)
- The main benefit of zero-drop shoes is that, unlike regular shoes, they keep your foot in its natural position: level from heel to toe.
- When runners start wearing zero-drop shoes, their posture and overall alignment improves.
- Because zero-drop shoes engage the foot itself in absorbing the impact of running, they very often allow for greater foot movement (Most have a wider toe box.)
- Because zero-drop shoes usually don’t have extra cushioning (though some do), they are made from less material. That helps maintain lighter weight, which can help your speed and improve your endurance.
- Shoes with a high heel-to-toe drop encourage heel striking which can play a major factor when it comes to running-related knee pain.
- If you’ve been wearing regular running shoes, don’t go right into zero-drop. A transition period is recommended to give your feet (and whole body) time to adjust to the new lower-drop in the heel.
Obviously, zero-drop shoes are not for everyone. And if your feet feel fine when you run, there’s no need to switch.
I do think, they worked for me because they put less pressure on my forefoot (where the pain was.)
I worry about the lack of support and cushioning (especially at my age). But right now, I’m enjoying being mostly pain-free (if only there were races to be run lol)
I did save one pair of Brooks, Nike and Mizunos just in case I want to go back (and gave the rest away.)