What is Heel Drop?

Heel drop of running shoes and why does it matter?

Heel Drop

Heel drop (also known as heel-to-toe drop or HTT) is the difference in midsole height measured at the sole of the heel and the toe. Running shoes are designed in various drops, to suit different running styles. Shoes are typically made with heel drop ranging from from 12mm to 4mm. Zero drop shoes, as the name suggests have a drop of 0mm.

Heel drop and Running

  • >10mm - Known as high drop shoes, these are best suited for runners with limited ankle mobility, Achilles tendonitis issues, those who land dorsiflexed, and strike the foot on the heel.
  • 10mm to 4mm - Most shoes currently come in this range. Encourages mid foot landing, and requires greater ankle mobility. The load is distributed through the calf and shin.
  • <4mm - these are low drop shoes, encourage forefoot to mid foot landing, and promote foot to be plantarflexed while landing. Requires good conditioning of calf-muscles.
  • 0mm - These are zero drop shoes, the off-set between heel and toe is zero.

Heel drop and injuries

Scientifically there is no clear evidence linking shoe heel drop to injuries. However, the strength limitations and mobility restrictions can determine which drop works best for runners. Shoes with higher drop are best suited for runners having frequent calf and heel injuries. Low drop shoes work best for those who have shin issues.

Heel drop and Foot Strike

  • Heel Strikers - Heel strikers land on their heel with foot dorsiflexed. High heel drop works best for these runners as there is higher levels of cushioning at the heel. Runners wanting to switch to midfoot strike, can consider mid to low drop shoes.
  • Midfoot strikers - Drop can be chosen based on the comfort levels. Popular trend now is to choose a drop under 10mm.
  • Forefoot strikers - Shoes with low heel drop works best for these runners, as the foot is plantarflexed when landing. Using a higher drop shoe for forefoot strikers, adds further stress on calf-muscles. So low-drop shoes for best.

Searching shoes by heel drop

While searching for shoes on shoegeeks.in, you can use the Heel drop filter to narrow down the shoes that best fits your needs.

Heel drop instructions
Filtering shoes by heel drop in Search

Aditi

Aditi Pandya is an avid runner, a writer and a fitness enthusiast. She is second runners up at Airtel Hyderabad Marathon 2019, Vadodara International Marathon 2020 in Women half-marathon open & veteran categories respectively. She blogs at NarrativesByMe.com and can be reached on Insta @narrativesbyme

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