How Much Drop Should A Running Shoe Have

When it comes to choosing the right running shoe, one of the factors that often gets overlooked is the amount of drop. The drop refers to the difference in height between the heel and the toe of the shoe. It plays a crucial role in determining the overall feel and comfort of the shoe, as well as its impact on your running mechanics.

As a runner myself, I have experimented with different shoe drops and have come to realize the importance of finding the right balance. The drop can significantly impact your running form, injury risk, and overall performance. So, let’s dive deep into the world of shoe drops and understand how much drop a running shoe should have.

Understanding Shoe Drop

Running shoe drops are usually measured in millimeters, with a positive drop indicating that the heel is higher than the toe, and a negative drop indicating the opposite. In the past, running shoes typically had a higher drop, with 10-12mm being the norm. However, in recent years, minimalist and low-drop shoes have gained popularity, with some models having a drop as low as zero.

When choosing the right shoe drop, it’s essential to consider your running style, foot strike pattern, and injury history. A higher drop shoe can be beneficial for runners who land on their heels, as it helps absorb shock and promotes a more natural gait. On the other hand, lower drop shoes are often favored by midfoot or forefoot strikers, as they encourage a more efficient running form and promote a faster turnover.

Factors to Consider

In addition to your running style and foot strike, there are a few other factors to consider when determining the ideal shoe drop:

  1. Experience Level: Beginners or runners transitioning from higher drop shoes may find it more comfortable to stick with a slightly higher drop initially. It allows the calf and Achilles tendon to adapt gradually to the change in running mechanics.
  2. Anatomy and Foot Type: The shape of your foot, arch height, and ankle flexibility can also influence the ideal shoe drop for you. It’s always a good idea to get a professional fitting to determine your specific needs.
  3. Injury History: If you have a history of certain injuries, such as Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis, a lower drop shoe may help alleviate the stress on those areas.
  4. Surface and Terrain: Consider the type of surfaces you typically run on. For example, a higher drop shoe may be more suitable for road running, while a lower drop shoe could provide better stability on trails.

The Goldilocks Drop

Now that we’ve explored the various factors to consider, you might be wondering what the ideal shoe drop is. Well, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. The perfect drop for you ultimately depends on your individual biomechanics and preferences.

My personal recommendation is to start with a moderate drop, somewhere between 6-8mm, especially if you’re unsure or transitioning from a higher drop shoe. This allows for a balance between cushioning, support, and encouraging a more efficient running form. From there, you can gradually experiment with different drops to find what works best for you.


Choosing the right shoe drop is a personal journey that involves understanding your running style, foot mechanics, injury history, and preferences. It’s worth spending some time experimenting with different drops to find the one that feels most comfortable and supportive for you. Remember, a shoe with the perfect drop can make a significant difference in your running performance and overall enjoyment of the sport.

So, lace up those running shoes and hit the road with confidence, knowing that you’ve found the perfect drop that suits your needs!