What is the "Drop" in a running shoe and is it important?
Heel drop in running shoes has become one of the most important measurements to look at when picking your next road or trail running shoes. Many elite athletes are now supporting the fact that a minimal heel drop makes for more effective training. Yet how true is this? Can a minimal heel drop really improve your running?
What is Heel Drop?
Heel drop is a really simple measurement that states how thick a running shoe's heel is. There are a couple of different terms for this such as "offset," and also sometimes called a "ramp angle." No matter what the name is, this measurement just lets you know how much taller the heel is than the forefoot.
Why Does Heel Drop Matter to Runners?
The heel drop in a running shoe can make a huge difference to the running style of an athlete. A running shoe that has a thick heel demands that you must run on your heels. The extra piece of foam beneath your heel is absolutely forced to hit the ground first. A running trainer with a flatter heel allows you to run more onto your mid foot. Some runners believe that this is the most efficient step and will also send the least amount of shock up the legs. This can reduce the amount of injuries that you can incur whilst training.
A Guide to Heel Drops
There are sizes between these, but this will demonstrate what a heel drop changes when considering a new pair of running trainers.
16mm. - These running shoes are for heel strikers only. Whilst wearing such a huge heel you cannot help but land on your heel. Many newer trainers are not designed in this way, and if they are, it is only to cater to the people that have always run this way.
8mm - This is right in the middle if you prefer a compromise. Mid foot strikers will like the feel of this shoe the most.
0mm – This is a completely flat shoe (a.k.a. "zero drop") and most true to the feel of natural running. It will suit mid foot or forefoot strikers only. This is the geometry at which your foot is naturally designed to hit the ground. It sometimes feels very odd for runners that are used to more of a cushioned heel. That is why many brands recommend you slowly downsize your heel drop instead of jumping straight into natural running.
Want to reduce your heel drop?
Top running shoe brands such as Inov8 recommend that runners slowly reduce their heel drop over time. There is a spectrum of running shoes that allows athletes to achieve this. Slowly they can buy new trainers with a smaller and smaller heel drop to train themselves into natural running.
In our opinon, however, these changes could be pretty expensive. Fortunately, there are other solutions available too, even much more healthier. A unique washable, reusable, micro-sized orthotic that adds support and comfort for various hard to fit shoes and sandals. The Soul Insole Shoe Bubble makes a life changing difference in preventing and helping provide relief for those experiencing foot problems including plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, flat feet, over-pronation, morton's neuromas and more. Unlike other insoles, the Shoe Bubble does not crowd the forefoot or change the fit of the heel cup. It can also be used as a bridge for those moving away from maximalist support to minimalist / barefoot shoes. Learn more about the Soul Insole Shoe Bubble
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