What are Zero-Drop Running Shoes?

What are Zero-Drop Running Shoes?

WHAT ARE ZERO DROP RUNNING SHOES?

Altra Running was one of the first shoe companies to notice that shoes with an elevated heel promoted a higher impact landing which could increase a runner's chance of injury. Armed with a toaster oven (yes, a toaster oven) and their unbridled passion, Altra founders began modifying existing shoes to remove the extra cushion in the heel. Matching the heel and forefoot cushioning height, they created a “Zero Drop” shoe, meaning the shoe did not drop from heel to toe creating a more balanced and natural feeling shoe. Seeing the success around these modified shoes, Altra paired this ZeroDrop design with their FootShape toe box which allows the toes a more natural, comfortable area to relax and spread out.

WHAT DOES ZERO DROP MEAN AND WHY SHOULD I CARE?

The term zero-drop means there is a zero measured drop from the heel cushioning to the forefoot. Traditional running shoes often used a 2-1 ratio, meaning that if they had 24mm in the heel they would have 12mm in the forefoot. Other shoes can have a range from 2mm to a 12mm drop. All Altra shoes, regardless of cushioning level, have a balanced ZeroDrop platform to promote a more even and less harsh bent knee landing.

Altra Running is leading the way in helping runners to avoid injury by educating on efficient, low-impact running techniques to employ while wearing any running shoe.

TRANSITIONING TO A ZERO DROP RUNNING SHOE

Anyone who has ever made a major change to their running shoe choice or started a new exercise knows that the body must adapt to the change in muscle use. Even a slight variation in heel-toe drop can challenge the muscles and gait pattern. We recommend transitioning from a higher built shoe to a ‘zero’ shoe over time, taking the time to allow your muscles to adjust to the new gait and stance.

Many have found once the transitioning period is complete, they feel better aligned with stronger Achilles and lower calf muscles weakened from running on elevated heels.

Altra recommends transitioning over 6 weeks.

  • - Week 1: Easier or shorter workouts
  • - Weeks 2-3: Moderate workouts
  • - Weeks 4-6: Longer or harder workouts

WHO IS ALTRA AND WHAT ARE THE BEST TRAIL RUNNING SHOES?

Altra Running quickly established itself as a leader in the zero-drop show category and took the lead amongst the best trail running shoes for distance runners.

Altra launched with both zero-drop road and trail shoes but their trail line quickly grew among the trail running community. Why? They just flat out worked for many runners being more comfortable across the unpredictable terrain and they gained quick notoriety among trail runners as an amazing shoe for both short and long distance trail running.

The feedback on their shoes has been impressive.

“These [Altra] shoes run great, but there;’ more to it. They actually felt so comfortable that I started wearing them to my job.” - Slowtwitch.com

“I found I could run longer and with less pain while wearing them.”WIRED Magazine At just 6 years old, Altra continues to expand their shoe lineup and in 2017 they launched the all new Altra Escalante road shoe. The Escalante offers their zero-drop running experience with their signature Footshape toe box but with an all new responsive midsole compound called Altra EGO. The amazing combination of a lively and resilient midsole paired with a sock like knit upper has resulted in their most popular shoe launch ever due to its amazing comfort and performance.

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About Author

Melanie Mitchell

Transforming movement into adventure. Our Mission: To personalize the fit process, hand-pick the best products, and create unique experiences that grow active communities.

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