The Zero Drop Revolution: Everything You Need to Know About this Footwear Trend

If you are a fitness freak or a foodie, shoes are always your priority for a perfect outfit. So, as a regular user of shoes, you’ve probably heard about zero-drop shoes. When minimalist running shoes became popular years ago, the term “zero drop” entered the running world and gained popularity through Christopher McDougal’s book, Born to Run. If you are a person who wants to dip his toes in the barefoot world but have no idea where to start, then you are in the perfect place.

The zero-drop movement enthusiast is mad for the stripped-down shoes, repeating its praises for improved efficiency, posture and alignment, and minimal injuries. But the question is what zero-drop shoes are. Let’s break down its actual meaning and discuss whether it is right for you.

zero drop


What Are Zero Drop Shoes?

The word zero-drop means the angle between the heel and the toe of a shoe. Most people do not notice that their shoes have some drop which means the heel is a little raised than the toe. This word zero-drop means there is not a single drop from the heel to toe, just like in the case when you are barefoot.

Zero-drop shoes try to position the feet the same as they are, in their natural state by mimicking the same feeling a person feels when he is walking barefoot. Running barefoot is quite popular now, especially for those who donor want to run slowly without shoes, these shoes provide the same movement with proper protection.

Benefits of Zero Drop Shoes:

  • They keep the foot in a neutral posture, as by keeping the foot in a natural position, the body becomes less dependent on shoes.
  • improved posture and alignment of the body.
  • The body relies more on muscles than shoes.
  • Feet go back to natural function.
  • Improves mobility.
  • It also helps in strengthening the ankle, foot, and leg muscles.
  • reduced injury risk.
  • can minimize pain in areas like the back, knees, planter, hips, etc.
  • lighter in weight.
  • It provides better stability.

Disadvantages of Zero-Drop Shoes:

  • May result in a tremendous amount of stress on the foot even the rest of the body.
  • May result in plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, stress fractures, bunions, calf pain, and shin splints.
  • A lot of pressure on the lower leg due to less arch support.

Are Zero-Drop Shoes Good For You?

Check our below answer to check if you can wear zero-drop shoes or not depending on your need or problem.

1. Shoes for Walking:

Have you ever got questions like are zero-drop shoes good for walking? Walking may sound simple, but practically it involves almost all the muscles, bones, ligaments, and joints of our body. That’s why choosing the right shoes for walking is an important decision to make.

The Zero-drop shoes are considered best for walking, as they help in providing a natural position to your feet which help to improve spinal alignment and posture and provides you with an efficient waking.

The zero-drop shoe is designed in such a way that the toe and heel will have the same distance from the ground. This design protects our feet and provides a proper level to the heel and the forefoot, and facilitates body joint alignment.

These shoes also increase the strength of your feet as they have minimal cushioning. So a natural walk with a barefoot experience will be beneficial to you.

2. Zero Drop Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis:

Are Zero-Drop Shoes Good for Plantar Fasciitis? Plantar fasciitis sounds technical, right? Well, in layman’s terms, it is a piece of connective tissue that mainly connects the heel of your foot with your toe. It is usually under constant stress as it provides support to the arch of your foot.

It can affect anyone usually those persons who are physically active or have flat feet or are overweight, being over 40 years or above. But there is nothing to worry about, it can be easily cured by wearing proper footwear.

The zero-drop shoes with a flexible soles can provide strength to the feet and will promote natural functioning. And therefore they are the best to cure plantar fasciitis pain. Wearing minimalist shoes can make your feet healthy by walking naturally.

3. Zero Drop Shoes For Sesamoiditis:

One of the most problematic injuries in the human body is Sesamoiditis. The symptoms vary from bruising, issues on straightening or bending toe, and swelling with annoying pain. But gratefully almost all of its treatment can be done by wearing the right type of shoes.

Zero-drop shows are a great option for those suffering from Sesamoiditis because of their advantage of keeping the feet in a natural position. They can easily cure this by providing proper support to your feet along with strengthening them.

4. Shoes For Work:

Zero-drop shoes surely provide strength and support to the feet and promote natural positioning. But it is only beneficial for purposes like walking or running as it takes a maximum of two hours. But wearing zero-drop shoes all day long for work will not be a good option.

People, especially those with flat feet, who usually go to the office for regular work and do a desk job, should avoid buying these shoes for this purpose. Standing still while wearing these shoes on a hard surface will cause thick blisters and will result in the collapse of your arch and posture. So it is not preferable to wear these shoes to work.

5. Shoes For Running:

Running is a sport that has remained constant in principles through the ages. The only thing that changes every time is the gears. As shoes entered the modern era, shoe manufacturers started finding more advanced ways to help the foot run better.

The idea behind barefoot shoes is that it provides support as well as the comfort of the modern shoes by the natural capability of our feet to absorb shocks while running. By this, zero-drop shoes entered the stream of running and became popular.

There are various benefits of zero-drop shoes, but the most useful while running is that they can prevent foot, back, and knee pain as it takes the strain away from the knee and spreads it out to the calf muscles.

These shoe influences towards forefeet strike and attempt to get your feet more work and absorb more shock which will ultimately strengthen your feet. Along with that, it also has less cushioning therefore more shock is felt by your feet. It is light in weight and also provides a natural feel and is best for running activities.

6. Zero Drop Shoes For Hiking

Most hiking shoes come with their heels raised, as the idea behind this is that caused heel provides a rocking motion which provides good support to the wearer. However, these shoes actually affect your lower calf muscles and tendon due to lack of use.

Therefore people started wearing zero-drop shoes for hiking and the main reason behind it is that it increases stability and provides strength to the lower leg muscles.

However, it is not fully recommended, which means if you are used to a high-drop shoe, then you should continue with that only, as changing shoes may lead to a loss of confidence in your feet during hiking.

If you are new to this game, then you should definitely try zero-drop shoes, as they are great for hiking as provide and improve your natural balance and stability, along with strengthening your lower calf muscles.

It can also minimize pain in your knee while hiking. Therefore if you are looking for a good pair of hiking shoes, zero-drop shoes can be your best choice.

7. Zero Drop Shoes for Concrete:

Running on concrete would not be a great decision but if you work on a concrete floor and need a good pair of shoes for any of the purposes then zero-drop shoes should not be your choice as for hard surfaces it is always recommended to wear cushioned and supportive shoes. Wearing zero-drop shoes or minimalist shoes can cause injury easily.

The zero-drop shoes will not harm your lower legs in the short run but can cause serious pain in the long run if used over a concrete surface.

While walking or running on a concrete surface wearing a zero-drop shoe will lead to more shock adsorption by our feet due to the hard surface of concrete and the least cushioning in these shoes.

But neither the concrete surface nor zero-drop shoes are blamed for this as these shoes are not made for a hard concrete surface running for a long time.

8. Zero Drop Shoes For Cross-Training:

If you are a cross-fit trainer or a person who goes to a cross-fit Gym then you might have noticed people with minimalist or zero-drop shoes there. But are these shoes good for cross-training? Well, the answer can be yes.

Wearing minimalist shoes while cross-training provides great flexibility to the feet as compared to normal cross-training shoes and strengthens the ankle and feet. Even experts say that using these shoes will help to build musculature and have a less chance of injury.

Furthermore, zero-drop shoes come under the minimalist category of shoes so they can be worn for cross-training. But the thing to keep in mind is that the shoe must have some heel to absorb shock as cross-training is a high intense yet high-impact activity. Therefore, a bare-foot shoe might not be a good choice for cross-training.

9. Zero Drop Shoes For Crossfit:

Cross-fit is a high-intensity and high-impact activity under cross-training. It includes a strength and conditioning workout that mainly consists of functional movements like jumping, squatting, lunging, and deadlifts. Thus, it requires a shoe that can provide support as well as flexibility.

Choosing a minimalist shoe or zero-drop show would be a good option as these shoes provide great flexibility with a proper grip. It even helps to strengthen your lower leg muscle.

The thing to keep in mind while choosing a zero-drop shoe for cross-fit is that the drop should be 4mm as it provides the best support while the cross-fit activities.

10. Zero Drop Shoes For Calf Pain:

As the heel and the forefoot are equal in height in the case of zero-drop shoes, it provides a natural alignment between the foot and the rest of the body. It also provides proper support to the wearer.

Over time, there are increasing cases of calf pain among people who have switched from normal running shoes to zero-drop shoes. According to the experts, it is not the gears that lead to injuries but the actual mechanism.

The zero-drop shoes or the 4mm drop shoe mat give efficient and injury-free running. Having proper knowledge about the shoes before buying is necessary, as there are no golden shoes made on this planet that can prevent you from injury. Following the right mechanism and consulting experts, is the only way to prevent injury.  

11. Are Zero-Drop Shoes Good For Flat Feet:

Flat feet with zero-drop shoes can be dangerous. Runners with poor foot shape and structure like flat feet have a chance of developing a musculoskeletal injury while wearing zero-drop running shoes. Not everyone with flat feet suffers foot injury. These people overpronate, which means their arches collapse due to the long period during the gait cycle.

So buying a zero-drop shoe and having flat feet is not at all a good combination. Therefore buying shoes because of some famous runner wearing them is not a wise decision. One should choose a pair of shoes by comparing his body and should check if the shoe can match the requirement.

12. Zero Drop Shoes For High Arches:

A high arch either can be genetic or due to a lack of stretching of foot muscles. A high arch leads to various foot problems like plantar fasciitis, hammertoes, knee pain, etc.

Before choosing shoes for high arch you should consult your doctor first. Having a high arch means it will put most of the weight on the heel and ball of the foot.

Zero-drop shoes are usually a good choice for people with high arches. It’s minimal cushioning helps to strengthen the foot and muscle development, which can help to prevent pain in some parts of the arches. Along with foot exercise, which may also relieve high arch pain.

13. Zero Drop Shoes For Heavy Runners:

The heavy runner can use zero-drop shoes as using thickly cushioned shoes may inverse the chances of knee osteoarthritis. The cushioning in regular running shoes makes them join work harder.

Therefore considering zero-drop shoes will be a better option as it strengthens the lower leg muscles and a proper grip while running.

With less cushioning more shock will be absorbed by the body which will ultimately provide strength to the feet. So it is advisable to wear drop-up to 4mm of zero-drop shoes if you are a heavy runner.

14. Zero Drop Shoes For Heel Pain:

Heel pain is one of the most common and annoying problems for runners. But the use of zero-drop shoes with a flexible sole may relieve this pain. These shoes coax you towards a forefoot strike and make your feet do more work to absorb shocks.

Shoes having high heel-to-toe drops promote heel striking. This can improve your speed and posture because of a constant pushing force toward the forward position.

But zero-drop shoes help to reduce pain, especially from the foot and knee area by taking away the strain from the knee area to the calf muscles. So you can consider a zero-drop shoe in case you want relief from heel pain.

15. Zero Drop Shoes For Hamstring:

The hamstring is under a lot of stress especially while running during the late swing phase. The zero-drop shoes spread the strain all over the leg area so that there is no constant area of stress.

The main aim of these shoes is to confirm that every part of your foot should land constantly on the ground, so it spread the shocks to the calf muscles.

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Minimalist shows or we can say the zero-drop shoes have become a trend in the fitness world, especially when we talk about running or cross-training, or even pain relief. But here the question lies are zero drop shoes good for you?

Well, zero-drop shoes have various advantages along with disadvantages. In actuality, there are no shoes made in human existence that can ensure you a walk or a run without any injury. What matters the most is mechanism techniques and a gear that properly fits your body structure.

If you use gear in the proper way, then there are no chances of injury. We’ve discussed every piece of information that you should look into before investing in a zero-drop shoe.

And if you are one who wants to make a transition from an ordinary shoe to a pair of the zero-drop shoe then you should definitely try shoes like Mesa and Trailhead which have a 4mm drop which is the most suitable drop for any kind of work whether it is running, cross-training, or whatever it may be. Try shoes with a 4mm drop in the initial stage is advisable as the body especially the feet requires some time to adjust to a new pattern.

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