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So what are Zero Drop running shoes?

Updated: Jun 21

Established brand Altra coined the phrase Zero Drop back in the early 2010’s. It was developed for runner’s to enable a more natural gait while running and therefore enabling a smoother more comfortable running stride.

The shoes have a flat profile sole; this produces a more ‘barefoot’ running experience.

It’s important to consider the best type of profile for your running needs, the sole is the foundation that can affect everything, including comfort, performance and of course… injury.


In general shoes have a ‘drop’ between the heal and the fore foot, this can typically measures anything between 4-12mm depending on the style, brand and purpose of the shoe.

It’s important to point out that the drop doesn’t affect the amount of midsole cushioning - the drop is only measured as the difference of the heel height in relation to the fore foot. Many manufacturers offer different degrees of cushioning dependant on the intended purpose, whether it is road running on hard flat surface’s or trail running over uneven trails and varying terrain.


Popular belief is a low profile drop encourages a more natural foot/ankle motion; which distributes the impact force more evenly.

Although the impact of our foot strike can’t be changed the force can be re-distributed to a different area; for example, a lower or zero drop shoe may take the impact away from the knees, but the lower leg and ankle can expect to work harder, so more flexibility is needed in these areas. Conversely, a higher drop shoe will ease impact on the lower leg and calves, but directs the force to the knees and hips.


· A wider toe box; which allows for more toe spread and distribution of impact

· A reduction in heal hit


· Can sometimes be noisier than regular running shoes

· Less cushioning, (depending on manufacturer)

Should I go zero?

If you have been running regularly and with a 8-12mm drop it would be advised to lower the drop slightly at first to reduce the possibility of injury. Start by lowering to a 4-6mm drop will provide you with the benefits.

I hope you found this article helpful.

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