What are Zero Drop Running Shoes – Altra – Going Long in Flats
After a ton of reading I decided on my latest trail runners; the Altra Lone Peak 1.5’s. Last year I made a significant change to my running style and migrated (gradually) to landing on my mid-foot instead of pounding away on my heels; again after a shit-tonne of reading. I want to run for a long time and after you start to understand the mechanics of running, this should be a no-brainer (fyi, I still haven’t read Born to Run; so). Anyway, I’ve put over 130km’s on them so far and they seem to be doing the trick, mixing the ‘minimalist’ (flat footbed) with some additional padding and a full length rock plate to shield the bottom of my feet from the rocks on the trail.
Anyway, here’s a short article that describes what they’re all about. If you’ve been put off running over the years due to pain, this might be a way back in; if only to learn a little bit about our body mechanics. Cheers.
Source: Altra Zero Drop Blog
True Zero Drop (exact same amount of cushioning under heel and toe / feet perfectly parallel with the ground) is the only offset that promotes a truly natural foot strike. Research by Brooks researchers has shown that even a 4mm drop causes an unnatural, more impactful landing. If you are trying to fix shin splints, knee issues, or back pain, then true Zero Drop is your best solution. What Altra does with weight balancing the shoe perfectly from front to back is also important in making sure the foot doesn’t impact the ground early. Traditional shoes are MUCH heavier in the heel and this forces an early, impactful, more dorsiflexed (heel down, toes up) landing.
Better running technique is the solution for bad joints or impact related pain like shin splints, only true Zero Drop promotes truly natural running technique. Everything else is a compromise.
Where running technique is the best way to protect joints, some cushioning is helpful for protecting the feet. Someone with bad joints could go do their long run barefoot and would likely have their joints feel the best they ever have…however, their feet will likely be destroyed. Altra strives to strike the balance between protecting your joints with good form and protecting your feet with just enough cushioning. Some cushioning is also beneficial for speed as it reduces energy loss. However, thick, overly cushioned shoes can promote impactful and inefficient running technique, slow performance by robbing energy (think running on sand), and cause foot problems by moving the feet out of their natural positioning. You wouldn’t build your house on the soft 2:1 heel to toe drop of a traditional running shoe!
Read the full article here: Source: Altra Zero Drop Blog
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