What Are Zero Drop Shoes?

What Are Zero Drop Shoes?

You might remember the webbed shoe craze from a couple of years ago. Well, there is a new trend on the block and if you suffer from lower back pain, you may want to give it a try! What are zero drop shoes? Zero drop shoes are a type of footwear that have no height difference between the heel and the toe.

This means the entire foot sits level with the ground. The science behind zero drop shoes is rooted in the concept of natural or barefoot running. They are a similar to the webbed shoes from a few years ago.

Lower Back Pain from Shoes

Many of the shoes we wear today are lifted in the heal. Even though they may seem “flat”, most of the time there is some varying angle degree between the toe box and heel on the shoe. By raising the heel of the foot higher than the ball of your foot (even to a small degree), your body will make a physical shift to compensate for the altered stance.

When more weight is pushed to the ball of your foot, your hips also shift forward in the process. This additional pressure can cause a strain on the lower back. Over time, you may experience pain or discomfort due to improper posture.

If you’re experiencing lower back pain and can’t figure out the root cause, you might want to take a look at your shoes.

What are Zero Drop Shoes?

Zero drop shoes are a minimalist type of footwear that have no height difference between the toes and heel. With zero drop shoes, the foot sits completely level with the ground. Zero drop shoes can range in the amount of cushioning and support (aka “stack height”) they offer. They can also be worn for various types of activities such as walking, running and every day use.

picture of zero drop shoes

What are the Benefits of Zero Drop Shoes?

Zero drop shoes allow the foot to sit level with the ground, without any raise in the heel. The flat structure allows for a more natural gait and encourages the foot to function as it was designed to do.

For runners, zero drop shoes can promote a mid-foot or forefoot strike pattern. This can potentially reduce the forceful impact that occurs when the heel strikes the ground.

Additionally, these types of shoes can improve ankle mobility, specifically dorsiflexion. Ankle dorsiflexion is the ability to pull your toes and foot towards your knee. Strong ankle dorsiflexion allows the shin to move forward to be in the correct position over the foot. This ensures correct body position and posture. You can also use exercises like these to improve ankle mobility and strength.

Another benefit of zero drop shoes is improving balance and alignment. Increasing the strength in the legs, ankles and feet will help increase balance and keep the body in its natural alignment.

What are Zero Drop Shoes Good For?

Zero drop shoes can be good for anyone looking to reduce the strain on their lower back caused by a raised heel.

Many runners are turning to zero drop shoes to help encourage a more efficient stride. Traditional running shoes typically have a higher heel-to-toe drop. This can encourage a heel-strike pattern and may contribute to a less efficient stride. It can also potentially increase the risk of certain injuries.

Zero-drop shoes are good for encouraging a more efficient and natural stride, potentially reducing the risk of injuries.

woman walking in park with zero drop shoes

How to Start Wearing Zero Drop Shoes?

The idea of minimalist shoes roots back to our ancestors who walked around without shoes. They naturally had much stronger feet, ankles and lower legs than we do today. Throughout history, our dependence on shoes has weakened our feet, ankles and leg stability and caused issues such as back pain and injury.

Zero drop shoes can help restrengthen foot and ankle stability by providing less cushion and resistance to the elements. By reducing shoe stability, your body has to rely more on your natural foot stabilizer strength.

Due to most people’s weakened foot and ankle strength, it’s important to ease into this new type of footwear. Our chiropractors recommend only walking for short periods of time at first and switching out with regular shoes to begin. As you begin to build up strength, you can slowly increase the amount of time you wear your shoes. Once you have fully transitioned, you can wear them all the time and complete desired activities.

Another reason to transition slowly into minimalist-type shoes is due to the change in gait cycle. If changed too quickly it can lead to injuries.

Who Shouldn’t Wear Zero Drop Shoes?

If you’re looking to transition into zero drop shoes for running, it is also important to note that not all runners may benefit from these type of shoes Each runner has unique biomechanics and running styles. Some runners may require additional support or cushioning that zero drop shoes do not provide. As with any type of footwear, it’s important to find the right fit for your individual needs and preferences.

Get Treated at Kaizo Health  

Our goal at Kaizo Health is to always get you back to feeling 100%. Our doctors provide treatment to help you be pain-free. We also have a dedicated team that will work with you and your insurance. We want to make sure you get the most from your benefits. You should experience relief for as little cost to you as possible. If you are ready to experience relief from the pain, make an appointment to see us now.      

Kaizo Health offers locations in Rockville, MD; Landover, MD; Fort Washington, MD; and Fairfax, VA. Our doctors an evidence-based approach by combining chiropractic care and individualized rehabilitative exercises. We provide the treatment and resources you need to recover your health. We are here to help! If you’d like more information, check out our blog. You can also take our free virtual self-assessment on app here.