As Dewey emphasizes, every runner is different and there’s no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to heel-to-toe drops (or shoes, for that matter). We recommend heading into your local Fleet Feet for an expert, one-on-one outfitting to learn about the shape of your feet, the way they move and what type of shoes might be best.
It’s also important to take into account your injury history and any pain points you may be experiencing. A higher drop shoe can relieve pressure from your calves and achilles tendon, helping to manage common running injuries like tendonitis. Shoes with a lower heel-to-toe drop can reduce strain on your knees and hips.
“I think most shoe manufacturers are using lower drops in their shoes today, versus a decade ago, because it improves the feel of the transition to the forefoot,” says Dewey. “It can also attempt to decrease the impact for runners who are heel strikers, which is still the majority of the running population.”
This is a trend Fleet Feet reviewers have seen over the past year. The ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25, one of ASICS’ best selling models, transitioned from a 12-millimeter drop to an 8-millimeter drop. The New Balance SuperComp Elite v3, New Balance’s racing super-shoe, has slowly transitioned over the years from a 10-millimeter drop during its debut, to an 8-millimeter drop in the second iteration, and finally to a 4-millimeter drop in the current version.
While we can’t predict where the trends will take us in the next year, it’s safe to say that brands are creating more options to appeal to a variety of customers, as is the case with the new Altra FWD Experience, which Lind calls “just another tool in a runner’s toolbox.”