Minimalist shoes were once the rage, but today a drop height of zero has grown to prominence. The primary difference with these two type of running shoes is that shoes with a drop height of zero could still have thicker soles. The shoes you wear rarely have your feet resting flat onto the sole, parallel to the ground. It may not be apparent, but your feet are placed in a slight incline, and this is due to the drop height of your running shoe. Drop height is the measure between the heel and the end of the forefoot.

In the past, runners have commonly used a steep raised height ranging from 4 mm – 10 mm. A drop height of zero has been popularized, however to mimic barefoot running. Shoe sizes and drop heights are not standardized within running shoe manufacturers though. This means that a zero in drop height in one shoe is not equivalent to a zero in drop height of another shoe. While so far, studies have shown any height above zero has no noticeable effects on running mechanics, according to Shawn Fenty of FLEET FEET Sports DC, runners switching to shoes with lower drop heights often anecdotally express more fatigue and soreness on the muscles and tendons on the back of their lower legs as they adapt to this new style of footwear. Drop height is not nearly as important as shoe fit for optimum running performance.

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