Zero Drop Footwear vs Minimalist / Barefoot Footwear
“Zero Drop” footwear and “Minimalist” or “Barefoot” footwear are two popular footwear styles that are gaining popularity among fitness enthusiasts and those looking for a more natural walking and running experience. However, despite their similarities, these two styles of footwear are similar but distinct in several key ways.
Zero Drop Footwear refers to shoes that have no difference in height between the heel and the forefoot, no matter the stack height (total shoe sole thickness). This means that the heel and the toe are at the same level, allowing for a more natural and balanced stance. Zero Drop shoes that have a higher stack height are usually an easy way transition to Zero Drop Footwear. The lower the stack height, the more ground feel which means more flexibility and foot strengthening opportunities!
While all Minimalist or Barefoot footwear can be call Zero Drop Footwear, not all Zero Drop Footwear can be called Minimalist or Barefoot footwear. Minimalist or Barefoot footwear is designed to mimic the experience of walking or running without any shoes at all. These shoes are typically very thin and flexible, with minimal cushioning. The aim of this style of footwear is to provide a barefoot feel, while still offering the necessary protection to the feet. When you unleash your natural walking motion with Minimalist style shoes, your feet must work harder but as a result they become stronger than ever.
When choosing between Zero Drop and Minimalist or Barefoot footwear, it is important to consider your individual needs and preferences as well as your experience level. If you can, get a pair with a higher stack height and get some cheap Minimalist shoes and compare the two. Notice how your feet feel and take notes. Stretch and exercise your feet and you’ll soon be seeing the benefits!