10 Best Zero Drop Running Shoes Reviewed
Running keep your body healthy and increases your overall endurance and performance. It’s important runners have the right pair of shoes in order to ensure their run is as comfortable as possible and that they are able to perform to the best of their ability.
Thanks to updated technology, many Sports brands have been able to develop shoes that are meant to increase their overall performances—which is where the zero drop running shoes come in. These shoes offer firm cushioning and minimal toe-heel drop, which is beneficial for runners who enjoy the unique natural running “feel” they deliver along with the health benefits they provide.
Below you will find the best zero drop running shoes currently available on the market. We hope you enjoy our list and find your next pair of shoes!
- Altra Torin 3.0
- EVA midsole
- Nike Flex Fury 2
- Flywire Knit Cables
- Merrell Vapor Glove 2
- Integrated foot bed
10 Best Zero Drop Running Shoes
1. Altra Torin 3.0
These shoes are made of high-quality materials and feature a rubber outsole and an EVA midsole.
These are comfortable and breathable. They also offer more cushioning than other zero drop shoes and are or really lightweight. They will keep your feet cool and dry and ensure your runs are comfortable.
Cost or Value:
These are priced a little above average but are well worth the cost.
• Made for wide feet
• EVA midsole
• Sizing runs small
2. Nike Flex Fury 2
These shoes are highly durable and made of high-quality materials. They have a breathable mesh upper and durable rubber outsoles.
These shoes are comfortable, flexible, and supportive. They utilize dual-density midsoles that provide you with a custom fit by contouring the shape of your foot.
Cost or Value:
These come at an average price but can be a bit more expensive depending on the color you choose.
• Flywire knit cables
• Lots of color options
• Contours to the shape of your foot
• Dual-density midsoles
• Lots of color options available
• Sizing runs small
3. Merrell Vapor Glove 2
The foot bed of Vapor Glove 2 has been integrated as one unit with the outsole; this gives the runner a minimalist and barefoot-like running experience.
The upper part of this shoe is made from mesh and TPU materials; which offer a secure and breathable coverage for your foot.
Cost or Value:
The cost of this shoe is very affordable; doesn’t cost much and definitely worth the price.
- This particular version of the Vapor Glove has a very lightweight nature
- The outsole unit is made with long lasting and dependable vibram layer.
- Its mesh lining and foot bed have been coated with the M Select FRESH odor-wicking technology
- 100% vegan-friendly construction
- Not as durable as some other options
- May fit a bit large and you may have to size down.
4. Brooks PureCadence 6
This shoe is a good performing updated shoe, enhanced performance resulting from a light-weight shoe which gives very good stability and long-lasting comfort. You can up your pace and the shoe is highly responsive on those hard running surfaces. The shoe gives a minimal drop backed up by the right level of cushion factor to ensure you are comfortable and protected for long runs.
A nicely silhouetted shoe design and offered in a good attractive range of colors.
Does this zero-drop shoe deserve a place in your running gear?
Read and find out.
The designed in high-quality foam platform feels nicely responsive, well built in shoe tech in the form of the built-in support system which effectively balances foot pronation. Very good FIT for the foot stabilizing shoe upper which shapes and fits the contours of your feet. Breathability is well designed for the upper materials and protection is solid through the responsive and durable sole which has proven to give good surface traction.
Very positive runner comments regarding the appealing shoe design and the good choice of colors.
The shoe has positive feedback from runners for being very comfortable and there is equal positive feedback about the light weight combined with comfort which runners feel from the shoe. The shoe is proving itself for speedy runs over short to medium distances. The FIT is assured through the foot-hugging shoe upper, which not only support stability but also performs very well for breathability to ensure dry comfortable feet.
The shoe retails within an affordable cost range and you get a good performing shoe to add to your gear.
Secure foot-hugging FIT
Sole traction is good
Appropriate cushioning for low drop shoe
A light shoe
Good for speedy runs
Pay attention to wear for the outsole, use the shoe in context for its design
5. Vibram FiveFingers Bikila
The Bikila provides a unique velcro fastening mechanisms that is fast and simple; polyamide stretch fabric it is used to allow for maximum breathability. Designed to grip on slippery terrain.
The Vibram FiveFingers are designed to be like a second layer of skin on your feet. They fit tightly around your foot and are perfect if you want to feel like you aren't wearing shoes at all.
Cost or Value:
A good price for a good shoe. The price is not too much or too demanding; just a perfect price.
- The Vibram FiveFingers Bikila offers up to par protection for the feet
- It is very light and flexible
- The Bikila almost fits like a sock.
- Has been reported to have tight toe pockets.
6. New Balance Minimus MT10v1
The flexible synthetic mesh upper is breathable and lightweight. The Vibram outsole provides minimal cushioning but exceptional grip on slippery surfaces.
The New Balance Minimus can be worn comfortably with or without socks. The wide toe box has plenty of room for wider feet. Cost or Value:
The Minimus costs as much as an average pair of running shoes while offering a unique design that runners with wide feet will appreciate.
- very lightweight
- Very good grip on slippery surfaces
- The lack of cushioning can take getting used to
- Not a good choice for heavy heel strikers
7. Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO
This one is made from polyester blend. This means that these shoes are really breathable even when it’s hot outside. Many runners said that they really like the lacing system as it’s very easy to put the shoes on and off. These shoes are also very easy to wash.
These shoes are extremely lightweight and there are many sizes to choose from. There’s special XS Trek technology that provides more stability and comfort to your feet.
Cost or Value
We must say that these shoes are totally worth every dollar and in addition, they’re not expensive.
These shoes look good with the rest of the outfit and we really like the black-grey version because it’s really hard to see mud or dirt on this. If you’re a fun of minimalistic construction, these will be excellent for you.
Good price for the value
They provide a lot of flexibility
These shoes will be perfect for races
Some buyers said that the shoes could be more durable
8. Altra Escalante
Outsole is made from slip-resistant rubber and the upper is made of engineered knit.
Despite being zero drop shoe, there’s a little amount of cushioning which adds more comfort. The shoes are extremely soft and they have great fit. Great shoes for people who need wide toe box.
Cost or Value
The cost is quiet similar to the value of the previous shoes on our list. These are good quality shoes.
The next shoes that look great and aren’t barefoot running shoes. When it comes to colors, there are more vivid ones but generally, runners prefer simple black/ grey version.
Durable and lighweight shoes
Much better protection than Vibram shoes
Many attractive colors
- It’s relatively hard to find the right size
9. Merrell Pace Glove 3
Designed with lug patterns that provide stability in any condition. With no logs placed beneath the arch, your foot flexes naturally for greater comfort.
Cost or Value:
Great price for great product. The shoes aren’t expensive and would definitely give you a good return on investment.
- Sure traction on both dry and wet surfaces in even the most extreme temperatures.
- They give an incredible barefoot feeling while running or walking.
- Made with a barefoot style trail runner in mesh with traditional lace closure
- They provide great balance and natural weight distribution and foot protection.
- They are easily prone to wear and tear and
- The fabric separates from the rubber sole easily.
10. Vibram FiveFingers KMD Sport
This is the next shoe that has very lightweight design. These shoes aren’t intended only for runners but generally for cross-training and many others.
There’s added cushioning in the footbed for more comfort. There aren’t any laces but there are special straps to keep your feet locked in the shoes.
Cost or Value
This is a good price for good pair of running shoes. There are many technologies used here so you can be sure that these shoes will let you feel comfortable and you won’t regret buying them.
All the Vibram shoes look similar. The barefoot running is not for everybody but if you want to have zero drop and also enjoy the feeling of running without shoes, they will be great for you. There aren’t many colors to choose from but many runners tend to choose more vivid colors.
AEGIS Microbe Shield prevents the unpleasant odor
These are quiet breathable
They can be washed in the machine
Some buyers encountered problems with sizing
The Criteria We Used to Establish the Best Zero Drop Running Shoes Available
In order to compile this list, we took several factors into consideration. Below you will find a detailed explanation of the what to look for when choosing a pair of zero drop running shoes.
Breathability depends on the material employed in the upper portion of the shoe. The more breathable they are the more they allow humidity and heat to escape, thus keeping your feet cool and dry. This is especially important in warmer climates and for people who have the tendency to sweat excessively.
Many of the zero drop running shoes we evaluated are also minimalist running shoe designs that have very little cushioning or protection. Many of the shoes on our list have very abbreviated toe caps or completely lack one. If you are prone to stubbing your toe then try to select a pair that is a bit burlier. However, not all zero drop shoes are minimalist designs. For example, Altra offers models with generous amounts of cushioning and plenty of protection.
The human foot is an incredibly complicated structure so it’s important to use a shoe that allows for its full range of motion. Cushioning and burly overlays often impede flexibility so try to find a shoe that doesn’t sacrifice flexibility for easier manufacturing or durability. Furthermore, if you prefer more rigid shoes, then minimalistic shoes may not be the best option for you because they create full range of motion–which can actually improve your agility and prevent injuries.
Here you need to consider how you run and whether or not you overpronate. Different feet have different needs and it’s important to take this into consideration when making your selection.
Here we look at the thickness or thinness of the shoe. Many zero drop running shoes have thin soles while others–like Altra shoes–may have more cushioning. Thick running soles help to protect your knees and provide you with excellent shock absorption. Now, if you primarily run on soft trails then you may be able to get away with a thinner sole. Here it’s important to assess your personal goals and needs as a runner and choose a shoe that is in line with your lifestyle. However, you may find that some thin-soled running shoes can be just as protective as some thicker soled shoes and can offer just as smooth of a ride.
Toe Box Width
A common complaint among runners has to do with the narrow fit many of them provide. Luckily, companies like Brooks, Altra, and New Balance manufacture running shoes designed for runners with wide feet. It’s important to try on shoes before you purchase them to ensure they fit properly and when you find a brand you like you can typically come back to it time and time again.
It’s important to consider durability because we all want a quality shoe we can rely on for as long as possible. Here we look at the lacing system, the material the shoe is made of, how durable the outsole is, and how they stand when put to the test.
Other Important Factors To Consider When Searching For The Best Pair
Are Zero Drop Running Shoes Right For You?
Although some people may tell you that everyone should be using running shoes with a 0mm heel to toe drop there are a few things you should know before committing yourself to a pair of your own. If you are already used to a more traditional 12mm heel to toe drop it will take some adjusting. It is recommended that you gradually begin using these type of shoes instead of switching over suddenly. Also be aware that there are currently limited options available for runners with high arches or who overpronate.
Remember that the style or appearance of a shoe should not turn you away from the option that is best suited for you. In fact, if you are willing to own a color option that is less popular you will probably be able to get them at a discount! Focus on looking for a shoe that meets your personal needs and that will provide lasting value. Don’t be lured by gimmicks or flashy names and consider what your biggest priorities are in running shoes. However, if you love the style or appearance of a certain shoe it could help motivate you to lace up and stay running.
Are you willing to own more than one pair of running shoes?
Zero drop running shoes can require an adjustment period during which you should only be running a fraction of your mileage in them. You must gradually allow your body to adapt to using different muscles and the slight change in your form. This means that if you are already a serious runner that you should plan on having at least one more pair of running shoes.
Do you plan to use them for activities besides running?
The unique flat profile of zero drop running shoes make them a great option for a variety of activities outside of running. Running shoes without any heel to toe drop can be an excellent option for walking, or professionals such as nurses who are on their feet all day. They make great every day shoes that are sometimes recommended by podiatrists for treating plantar fasciitis. Zero drop running shoes are also very popular with competitive race walkers. Race-Walking (running’s often forgotten sibling) is an Olympic sport that involves marathon distance races. Zero drop shoes are also a great option for strength training because of their flat profile which they share with weight lifting shoes.
Some questions that many people have had about shoes with a 0mm heel to toe drop are listed below.
Q: What exactly is a zero drop running shoe?
A zero drop running shoe has the same amount of material beneath the foot at both the heel and toe of the shoe. There is no angle. They are designed to support a more natural running gait and discourage heel striking.
Q: What type of running are Zero Drop shoes intended for?
Zero Drop running shoes can be found in a variety of styles intended for different purposes. Their are models available designed for everything from ultra-marathon distance trail races to your local 5k.
Q: Why am I more sore then usual after switching to zero drop shoes from my 12mm drop shoes?
The change in your running form created by a lower heel to toe drop forces your body to use your muscles differently and activates some that weren’t being used previously. It can take a few weeks for your body to get used to the change.
Q: Can Zero Drop running shoes really help my feet grow stronger and improve my posture?
Although it is possible that these shoes could help strengthen your feet there have been any controversial claims that have been made that you should be cautious of. Buying a pair of shoes wont fix your posture or strengthen your body without your own honest effort.
Q: Who uses Zero drop Running Shoes?
A majority of runners are heel strikers who use traditional 12mm drop shoes. There are high level runners who have been successful using Zero Drop shoes. Many members of the Ultra running community swear by the zero drop designs. Runners like Anton Krupicka have popularized their use.
Here are some sources we used while conducting our research:
Here are some of the great sources that we have used to gather the most accurate and reliable information available, hopefully helping you make the best and most informed decision for yourself.
- Runner’s World, Zero Drop Shoes, Online Running Publication, March 4, 2011
- Podiatry Today, When Patients Ask About Barefoot Running and Minimalist Shoes, Online Medical Journal Database, May 2013
- Feet Genius, Best Shoes for Plantar Fascitis, Foot Health Website
- What's the deal with zero drop shoes?, Running Enthusiast Publication, Mar 22, 2011 ,
- Should You Run In A Zero-Drop Shoe?, Running Website, Mar 11, 2014 ,
- Why Low Drop Doesn’t Have to Mean a Minimalist Running Shoe, Online Running Publication, Nov 07, 2015 ,
- Zero Drop Shoes: Running Revolution Or Another Footwear Fad?, Wellness Website, Mar 29, 2015 ,