If you’ve ever heard about zero drop running shoes or barefoot running, then you’ve probably also learned that they come with benefits. Sometimes referred to as minimal running, this is the art of re-aligning your running style to a more natural and efficient one.
Zero drop running shoes allow you to run with a zero drop (from heel to toe), whilst still providing protection from the surface under-foot.
The benefits of zero drop running shoes
1.) Having no padded heel to “support” your landing will force your body to re-learn how to run in the way it was designed to, with a more forefoot landing. You will most likely start to see running niggles like planter fasciitis and shin splints become a thing of the past.
2.) Removal of the cushioned heel in your shoes may also stretch out your calf muscles, reducing the chance of achilles tendonitis and calf strains.
3.) You should become a more efficient runner with light footed steps at a higher cadence. All great attributes in a good running technique.
4.) You should start to activate smaller muscles in your feet which will help with balance and stability. You’ll also be able to read the terrain beneath with greater intuition and accuracy.
Here are our favourite and what we consider to be the best zero drop shoes for Trail Running:
Altra Lone Peak 4
Maybe you’re getting up at sunrise to get in a quick trail run before work, or you like to hike until sundown and do it all again tomorrow, the Altra Lone Peak 4.0 Trail Running Shoe is there to help you maximize your performance on the trail.
Probably the most popular zero drop running shoe among avid trail runners is the Xero Terraflex. It’s a very minimal shoe with the goal of helping you run as naturally as possible. Let’s face it, the human body has gone through so many generations of evolution over thousands of years. Most of this evolution occurred during a time when we weren’t even wearing shoes. So it makes sense that wearing a minimal shoe with a zero drop should feel more comfortable to us. If I was designing a shoe, I too would start from this very basis of thought.
Merrell Trail Glove 4 Knit
Soar down the trail and never miss a step with the Merrell Trail Glove 4 Knit Shoes, these minimalist shoes wrap around your feet like a glove and offer a barefoot feel while providing the protection and grip you need for running on rugged trails.
Luna Sandals Mono 2.0
How could I not mention these very popular sandals from Luna Sandals? This company has a cult following many of which come from the famous running book called “Born to Run” where a man called Barefoot Ted raves on about running in a barefoot style. The Mono 2.0 has even been named after him 🙂
So these next two running shoes have a 4mm drop and are not strictly speaking “Zero Drop”. I believe this is a great level of drop, that is less aggressive and less likely to give Achilles injuries while running for long periods of time with big inclines. The Salomon S-Lab Sense 7 is my personal favourite minimal style trail running shoe.
New Balance Minimus 10v1
Whether you’re a newcomer to the Minimus family or a seasoned supporter with the chiseled calves to prove it, this is a good time to consider the 10v1 Minimus Running Shoe. After changing fit and feel over the last few years, New Balance realized it had a pretty good thing when it first introduced the trail shoe, and took this model back towards the original Minimus’ fit.
Salomon S-Lab Sense 7
One of Salomon’s most popular trail running shoes, worn by many of their elite sponsored ultrarunning athletes.