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Running Shoe Terminology | What is the Drop? | Find Your Stride | Edinburgh Podiatrist

The running shoe industry is full of its own specialised terminology, which can often be confusing to those who are new to the sport or looking to purchase their first pair of running shoes. One such term commonly used is 'drop'. In the context of running shoes, drop refers to the difference in height between the heel and the front/toe box of the shoe. It is typically measured in millimeters and can range anywhere from 0mm to 12mm or more.


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Marathon runners wearing a variety of running trainers

The drop of a running shoe plays a crucial role in determining the overall running experience and how the foot strikes the ground during each stride. A higher drop means there is more cushioning at the heel, and the foot is positioned with a more elevated heel compared to the forefoot. This design is often favored by runners who have a tendency to strike the ground with their heels first, as it provides extra support and shock absorption. On the other hand, a lower or zero drop shoe provides a more level platform for the foot, with no significant difference in height between the heel and the toe. This design promotes a more 'even' foot strike, with the emphasis on the midfoot or forefoot landing first. It is often preferred by runners who want a lighter, more minimalistic shoe.


Understanding the drop of a running shoe is important as it helps runners choose the right shoe based on their individual needs and preferences. It is crucial to consider factors such as running style, foot strike pattern, and personal comfort when selecting a shoe with the appropriate drop. Consulting with a knowledgeable running shoe specialist or doing thorough research can prevent injuries and enhance overall running performance.


In conclusion, drop is a frequently used term within the running shoe industry. It refers to the difference in height between the heel and front/toe box of the shoe and plays a vital role in determining the foot strike pattern and overall comfort while running. The drop can also play a role in injury prevention and rehabilitation. By understanding the concept of drop and considering individual running needs, runners can make informed decisions when selecting the ideal pair of running shoes.


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