5 Benefits of Zero Drop Shoes: real test by myself

Imagine going out for a run and every stride you make is beautifully balanced. Your stride feels natural, your feet are firmly planted on the ground, and your legs and feet feel stronger than ever. It may sound like a dream, but trust me it isn’t. 

They’re called Zero Drop running shoes.

Now, I’m no stranger to buying a pair of running shoes only to realize that they make my feet hurt like no other. By the time I get home and take my shoes off, I’ve got blisters and aches all over. Not fun at all. Especially when you realize that running shoes aren’t cheap. 

Whether you’re an avid runner, walker, or hiker, having a reliable pair of comfortable shoes is necessary. After all, the last thing you want after your workout is aching feet and muscles.

If you’re looking for a shoe that’s designed to provide a more natural feel while running or walking, you may want to consider zero drop shoes. You might have heard of them before because these shoes have gained popularity in recent years as they offer a range of benefits for those who want to improve their posture, balance, and overall foot health. 

In this article, we’ll explore the advantages of zero drop shoes and why they could be a great addition to your footwear collection. So, lace up, and let’s get into it!

5 Benefits of Zero Drop Shoes

To put it simply, zero drop shoes are shoes with ‘zero drop’, hence the name. Running shoes typically have a little ‘bump’ or thicker parts under the heel. Well, zero drop shoes don’t have that bump. The soles of these shoes are completely flat from the heel to the toe. They’re meant to give your feet that natural feeling, like you’re walking barefoot, but with a little more extra protection and support.

Now, to further drive home my point, let’s get into the 5 benefits of wearing zero drop shoes. 

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1. Enhanced Natural Running Form 

In a nutshell, zero drop shoes allow your feet to move the way they’re meant to while giving them a comfy foundation. Since they’re completely flat, from the heel to the toe, it allows your feet to fall in a position that’s naturally the most comfortable for you. 

Traditional running shoes usually have a thicker heel. While running, the thick heel will naturally hit the ground first during your stride, simply because they’re thicker. In turn, that forces you to adopt a heel-strike running form. But since zero drop shoes lack that thick heel, it allows you to run in a more comfortable midfoot or forefoot strike which reduces the impact on your joints. Those running forms can also potentially lower the risk of injuries since you aren’t forcing your legs and feet into unnatural positions.

2. Stronger Lower Leg Muscles

There are studies that suggest that modern running and sports shoes are actually weakening your feet. That’s because of the artificial support that those shoes provide, making it so your feet have to work less when in motion.

Zero drop shoes, on the other hand, lack the excessive cushioning that other running shoes have. While running in these shoes, rather than just relying on the shoe structure and cushioning, you’ll be more reliant on your actual foot and leg muscles to propel you forward. Over time, there’s no doubt that you’ll notice your legs, feet, and ankles feeling stronger than before. 

3. Improved Stability and Balance

When you put these shoes on for the first time, you may feel like they’re a little weird, but that’s just because your feet finally feel free. Your feet can spread out in the way that they were naturally meant to. That also means that you’ll have a wider range of motion since your feet don’t feel like they’re being restricted by any stuffy cushioning.

The wider range of motion allows for better stability and balance. Your feet can basically grip the ground better, something you’ll notice even more when on uneven terrain. Also, in relation to our last point, having stronger muscles also make it so you’ll have better balance and stability. 

4. Increased Proprioception

Proprioception sounds like a complicated word, but in layman’s terms, this refers to your ability to sense your body parts without needing to look. It lets you know exactly where your legs, feet, and even toes are positioned. The flat soles of zero drop shoes allow you to have a better ground feel, too. This promotes great coordination, so you can run without having to stare at your feet as you do so. 

Having better proprioception also allows you to be more agile with more precise foot placements. The enhanced awareness will also make you have fewer trips and falls, something you’ll be grateful for if you’re clumsy, like me!

5. Potential for Enhanced Performance

If you’re someone that’s looking to improve their performance and beat their previous personal best, then you might want to look into this!

Feeling more connected to the ground, having stronger muscles, and having a lighter overall shoe make for one great combination. You’ll have more confidence and power in your stride since zero drop shoes allow you to be in your element. With all the benefits combined, you’ll be running faster than before and breaking your personal best records in no time.

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What to Keep In Mind When Wearing Zero Drop Shoes

The benefits we mentioned above may seem too good to be true, but they aren’t, don’t worry. But, even still, there are some things to keep in mind when making the switch to zero drop shoes. 

As we’ve covered, zero drop shoes lack cushioning. That also means that they lack arch support. For someone with high arches or flat feet, this may be a dealbreaker for you. Just keep in mind that these shoes won’t have you feeling like you’re walking on a cloud, and if you’ve got a tight Achilles tendon, the lack of arch support may cause some pain and discomfort the first time you wear them. But, not all models are made the same.

If you’re someone that really can’t let go of some cushioning, then you’ll be pleased to know that there are zero drop models that offer some sort of support. Be sure to try on different models from different brands before making your decision on which one to get.

Next, is that you can’t wear them immediately. Transitioning to wearing zero drop shoes is something that needs time. You won’t be able to comfortably take them out for a long run, especially if it’s your first time wearing flat shoes like this. Here are 2 helpful tips that will help you seamlessly transition into wearing zero drop shoes:

  • Don’t push yourself too hard. Listen to your body when you’re wearing them while out and about. If needed, bring an extra pair of running shoes so you can swap them out when wearing the zero drop ones get too much for you. Just take your time and allow yourself to get used to them before making the switch.
  • Add insoles. If you’ve already selected a model with no cushioning and don’t want to purchase another pair, or if you’ve already got one with cushioning but find it insufficient, then you can also add some inserts. Feel free to personalize your shoe as much as you want. Your comfort should be your highest priority.

A common misconception is that zero drop shoes are the same as minimalist shoes. They aren’t. The biggest difference is that minimalist shoes have no cushioning at all, while zero drop does have some evenly distributed cushioning to make things more comfy for you. The one thing they do have in common, though, is that they aren’t for everyone.

If you’re someone that likes long-distance running, sprinting, or trail running, then zero drop shoes are a great choice for you. Since they allow you to feel the ground better and let you run in the form that’s the most natural to you, many professionals recommend them for those specific uses. Ultimately, the decision will rest on your shoulders as you’ll never really know how they fit into your running style until you try them out. 

Disadvantages of Zero Drop Shoes

Now, let’s get into the possible disadvantages of these shoes. As we’ve said, they aren’t for everyone. Hopefully, this list of disadvantages will help you narrow down whether these shoes are for you or not. 

  1. Possible muscle pain or injury. I cannot stress enough just how important it is to ease yourself into these shoes. These shoes are going to put a lot of pressure on your tendons and muscles to support yourself. If you force yourself to wear them, even when your body is telling you to stop, you may risk facing injury. 
  1. No support. Or, not enough support. Our feet weren’t made to constantly strike at hard surfaces, which is exactly what will happen when you run in zero drop shoes. The zero drop can be both a good or bad thing, depending on your preferences. Many podiatrists don’t really recommend zero drop shoes because it forces your feet and calves to deal with a lot of stress.
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Are Zero Drop Shoes Good for Walking?

Yes! Since they’re good for running, it also means that they’re good for walking. They allow your feet to grip the ground better, so if you’re someone that likes walking on uneven terrain, this may be a great benefit for you. 

They also encourage the most natural and comfortable walking stride, since they let your feet be as free as possible. Your feet will be able to spread and flex as it’s meant to, so you’ll find walking longer distances to be a piece of cake for you!

Are Zero Drop Shoes Suitable for All Runners, Regardless of Experience Level?

Yes and no. While they’re typically safe for everyone to use, it’ll take some people more time to get used to these shoes than others. For example, if you’re a veteran runner that’s used to minimalist shoes then you’ll get used to wearing zero drop shoes in no time. But, if you’re a beginner and these are your first pair of running shoes, then you’ll need some more time to get used to them. 

Now, I’m not saying that you should avoid these shoes if you’re a beginner, because that’s definitely not the case! As a beginner, you may even benefit from the advantages of these shoes the most, but you’ll need to take more time easing yourself into wearing these shoes than other runners. 

Can Wearing Zero Drop Shoes Prevent Common Running Injuries, Like Shin Splints or Plantar Fasciitis?

Again, yes and no. This question is a little hard to answer because as a runner, you always need to be careful. It’s always possible to get injuries, it just depends on how careful you are.

In any case, though, these shoes can be great for preventing injuries because they strengthen your lower body muscles and promote better proprioception. But if you’ve already got some symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis, then these shoes may aggravate your symptoms even more. Lastly, if you aren’t careful when easing yourself into them, then you might be at an even higher risk for injuries.


In conclusion, zero drop shoes are great and have tons of benefits. But just like everything else, it all comes down to a matter of personal preference. Really think about what you’re going to be using these shoes for. Don’t jump the gun and allow yourself time to try these shoes out before deciding to get a pair. Test them out thoroughly, make some customizations if needed, and don’t forget to listen to your body. 

Always remember! When selecting sports shoes of any kind, you need to place your comfort at the top of the list.

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