Care Much about Heel Drop? (Read 121 times)


    I currently am running in: Saucony Ride (8mm), Adidias Boston (10m) and Brooks Ghost (12mm). I like em all,, but the Saucony's are my favorites. All have a pretty standard Heel to Toe Drop.


    I tried on a pair of HOKA Clifton's and they felt great in the store and they have the weight Im looking for. I saw that the Heel Drop is lower,,, 4mm. But does that matter much?


    I'm a chronic calf puller and at least everything I read suggests that a higher drop is better for runnesr concerned with lower leg injury. My intent is not to start a root cause analysis on calf injuries,,, but all things being equal, do you think the Heep Drop makes much difference? They sure felt good on my feet.


    BTW: I usually run approx 20-25 miles/week,, all on the road.


      Depending on how you're striking the ground, it may not matter at all. And some shoes measure their "drop" having a rocker sole or a flat sole, so it's really hard to tell between brands and models because you're comparing apples to oranges. A shoe on the shelf has a different shape than if you're standing in it, and a whole 'nother shape when you're running in them.


      Hoka Cliftons have a slightly rockered sole, so if they say they have 4mm more midsole between your heel and the ground than the ball of your foot, at what point in your footstrike is it applicable?! And if you're a heavy heelstriker, you're squishing the midsole material down, making it a NEGATIVE drop shoe at that point in your footstrike.


      So, you're left doing the smart thing, which you're doing: asking other runners.

      I have Clifton 6 in rotation with 2 kinds of Skechers and a pair of NB Rebels. They are all listed between 4-6mm "drop". The only one that feels like I'm putting more strain on my calves are the Rebels, which have the highest drop! But, the other three are all rocker soles. I have frail achilles, and the Cliftons have not aggravated them when used on regular runs. Personally, I think you'd be fine as long as you don't "new-shoe" it and go out trying to beat a PR before you're used to them!

      60-64 age group  -  University of Oregon alumni  -  Irreverent and Annoying

        I would say stay with what works for you. Lower drop will stress calf, Achilles, plantar etc.

        I'm tight through those areas and don't go below 6mm. Lower than that I feel that whole chain pulling.

        55+ PBs 5k 18:36 June 3rd TT

        " If you don't use it you lose it,  but if you use it, it wears out.

        Somewhere in between is about right "      


        SMART Approach

          The solution is to have 2 pair of shoes to rotate with varying heel drops. Also, I would focus on strength from feet up to hips/glutes which can play a part in how your foot lands and tissue resiliency. Calf issues are not always about the shoe.

          Run Coach. Recovery Coach. Founder of SMART Approach Training, Coaching & Recovery

          Structured Marathon Adaptive Recovery Training

          Safe Muscle Activation Recovery Technique


            I have been told you just need to get used to the lower drop.  I ran for many, many years in the Asics Nimbus, which I think is about 10mm or 12mm drop.  When I got down to running only a couple of times per week at 2 to 3 miles each run......and gained a bunch of weight over the previous 3 years, I made a choice.  I decided to get back into running regularly and build back up to 20 miles per week or so.  As I did that, I decided to try Altra shoes as the Asics at that time had gone to a molded/engineered upper that I just absolutely HATED!!  I went back and started running from scratch......doing the C25K program.  With the every-other-day program and the relatively short distances, jumping to a zero drop shoe like the Altra made the transition so super gradual I barely noticed.  I suspect if I had been running 20 miles or more per week as a base and jumped from the Asics to the Altras, I may have had more of a challenge with a transition????


            As for which is better....I cannot answer that other than to suggest that the heel/toe drop is best for YOU in whatever shoe is most comfortable and gives you best performance WITHOUT injury.  For many years, in my case, that was the Asics Nimbus (10/12mm drop) but for the last three years it has been in Altras (zero drop).

            Keep the running and fitness up and keep the weight from coming back.

            Run more miles than last year.

              I dunno choppersean, I am a heel striker and for me to avoid problems with Achilles and calves I use Asics runners (that have a 10mm drop). Since the move to Asics as recommended by a sports injury Doc who is a competitive runner, I haven't experienced an Achilles injury or any calf injuries which I fought with in my first few years as a runner. I think a certain type of runner requires a certain type of shoe. In my case it eliminated my problems...