Going from zero drop to 'regular' running shoes (Read 88 times)


    I have been experiencing pretty severe achilles tendonitis and even strained my calf recently. I also recently switched from zero drop running shoes to a pair of brooks that, I believe, are 12mm drop. I'm not sure if the two are related and everything online talks about going the other way. Does anyone have any insight? Is injury common going from zero to drop shoes?


    When I run, I don't feel any pain - it's when I'm waking up and walking around the day after.


      has your foot strike changed? i would guess just like there is a big change in going from a 12mm to a 5mm or zero drop shoe and it takes a while to adjust, the same would be true going the other way

        Did you work the 12mm drop shoes into your rotation, or just stop running in zero drop and then did all your runs in the 12mm? If so, yeah, that could cause some issues.

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


          I simply changed from zero drop one day, to 12mm the next and went on several runs.

            And there's your answer.


            It's not the drop itself, it's the big change in shoe type and fit.

            Maybe wear your zero drop shoes 3 out of 4 runs for a couple weeks, then half and half for a couple weeks, then 1 in 4, and finally not at all. That's a big change in shoes to go cold turkey! Most people have at least 3-4 pairs of different shoes in rotation, and rarely wear the same pair twice in a row. That's a way to prevent overuse injuries.

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


              I guess my question is why the physiological issue? I can understand the lengthening of the achilles when going in reverse, but I don't understand why my Achilles would hurt when I go from zero to raised. Seems like it would be less stressful on my tendon.


              Either way, when they feel better I'll retry the zero drop and see if that helps clear it up.

                Different muscle groups getting different amount of stress. The muscle groups may be so accustomed to motions of the zero drop that they're firing too soon or too late by microseconds, and thus working harder or competing with other opposing muscle contractions. The tendons, being inflexible, bear the brunt of all that force. Wearing a variety of shoes "teaches" the body to focus and adapt on the fly. Trail running on uneven surfaces helps, too.

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




                  And just to clarify, I double checked the shoes and they are 8, not 12 mm drop.


                  I'm seeing if I can return them, get 4mm drops, and then get some 0 drop as well and alternate as suggested. I'm a casual 'exercise' runner, so I'm not keen on dropping hundreds on new shoes, but this achilles pain is brutal. And I was thinking back on my use of these shoes and literally the first time I ran in them I strained a calf muscle so I think you're right.


                  And if you have any thoughts, though a drastically different topic, I'm likely to go with an Altres shoe, and a 4mm Brooks shoe. Don't know the model yet, but those have been my go to thus far.

                    If you're used to zero drop and like it, stick with it. I had a few pairs of Altras. Other than their quality control issues, Altra makes an ok shoe. Topos are a better quality zero drop, in my opinion. Without getting to into it, depending on your footstrike pattern, zero drop can be a negative drop. If you heelstrike, your heel is going to mush down maybe half the thickness of the midsole before your forefoot lands, and then you have an uphill battle to toe-off.I think that's why so many shoes from all companies are 4-6mm drop now. It must be the sweet spot.


                    As for buying shoes, you'll spend just as much over time if you buy one pair or five. If you're rotating five pairs, they will last 5x as long as a single pair. There are a lot of people that run in just one shoe and don't have problems. I think maybe 25 miles a week is the break-point. Anything more than that and you'll probably need footwear variety. Some "one shoe does it all" models people are happy with are the Hoka Clifton and the Nike Pegasus. Nike Infinite React is supposed to be a good shoe like that, but I've never worn them.

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


                      Thank you for the continued engagement! I really appreciate the input. I checked out Topo and love their look, but the main pair of zero drops I saw only go to 13, and I wear 14. Hopefully they fit large so I can wear it.


                      I'm looking at the Brooks LowFlow, and will have to keep searching for a zero drop. My current Altras that I am trying to replace have the responsiveness of a wet sock.

                      On the roads again...

                        I agree with Surly Bill, and Christirei asks a relevant question.

                        What may have happened is that the 8mm shoes force you to heel strike rather than (probably) midfoot strike in zero drop shoes. The Achilles tendon, which would be extended on landing in zero drop, may be getting compressed with greater force on landing by the heel impact. 

                        I agree with Hoka Cliftons as a good near-zero drop, well-cushioned shoe.
                        BTW, I also wear size 14's -- very annoying when they're not available.


                        “Some people will tell you that slow is good – but I'm here to tell you that fast is better. I've always believed this, in spite of the trouble it's caused me. - Hunter S. Thompson

                          I'd think you guys with 14's would be swimming in shoes, since the huge and tiny sizes are always the only ones left on clearance!

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