The 10 Best Zero Drop Running Shoes of 2020
Last Updated on
Do you sustain injuries when running or during your daily exercises? Inappropriate running gears might be one of the causes.
Having a perfect pair of shoes is one of the best solutions. It can protect your knees and joints from stress. If you are encountering challenges of getting the right footwear, the Zero drop running shoes are the perfect option. They come with a simple design and provide a more natural feeling.
These shoe height differences from your heel to your forefoot range from zero up to 12 millimeters. Little or no heel encourages low-impact gait, which will allow you to run on your forefoot rather than the heel.
Having no heel means that the shoes will position your forefoot and your heel flat to the ground, giving you a natural feeling and prevents injuries.
Apart from this, they come in minimalist design. With few materials and light in overall weight, the shoes will increase your endurance and help to maintain your running speed.
The 0mm drop, 10.5mm heel stack height, and 4mm heel cushion makes Merrell Men's Trail Glove 3 Minimal Trail Running Shoe stand out from other brands. These features enable the runner to feel the connection with the trail.
The review of the best Zero drop running shoes has all the information to help you choose footwear that will give you an advantage in competitive running.
Best Zero Drop Running Shoes
Merrell Men's Trail Glove 3 Running Shoe
Fabric and Synthetic
New Balance Men's MT10V1 Minimus Trail
Synthetic and Mesh
Inov-8 BARE-XF 210 V2 MEN'S Running Shoe
Synthetic and Mesh
Altra Women's Lone Peak 4 Trail Running Shoe
Xero Shoes Prio Women's Minimalist Running Shoe
Altra Men's Torin 2 Running Shoe
Fabric and Synthetic
Merrell Women's Vapor Glove 2 Running Shoe
Brooks Men's PureFlow 7
Vibram Men's V-Run Running Shoe
Mesh and Polyester
Troadlop Mens Hiking Trail Running Shoes
Choosing the appropriate shoes makes a big difference in the runner’s performance. The reviews will help you compare products and select one that will improve your running experience.
1. Merrell Men's Trail Glove 3 Minimal Trail Running Shoe
Are you an athlete who is looking for options that are close to barefoot running? The Merrell Men's Trail Glove 3 Minimal Trail Running Shoe is your solution. The Merrell Company produces quality footwear for hikers, backpackers, runners, and people looking for lightweight casual wear.
These zero drop trail running shoes come in 5 different colors from dark to neutral and bright. It is durable footwear with the lining made of soft mesh. Also, the upper part consists of a combination of mesh and thermoplastic urethane.
These materials make this pair of shoes, comfortable and breathable footwear. Also, they make it lightweight to enable the user to run for long distances without straining.
The Zero-drop technology of the Vibram outsole enhances stability and durability. The Merrell Company incorporates TrailProtect technology by adding a pad to offer excellent underfoot protection.
This brand is suitable for everyone regardless of gender and age. The men version weighs 7 oz. and 5.9 oz. for women. The lightweight ensures feather-like feeling and comfort to enhance performance.
With its adequate technologies, it offers excellent traction and ground feel. The soft inner enhances comfort and eliminates the creation of blisters.
The Merrell Men's Trail Glove 3 Minimal Trail Running Shoe will help you conquer all road obstacles. The Vibram sole will give you support, traction, and comfort during your exercises.
For those who prefer HIIT and Cross-training exercise, these excellent HIIT training shoes also are a better option with the same unique features.
2. New Balance Men's MT10V1 Minimus Trail Running Shoe
Nothing feels good than enjoy the outdoors in full force. The New Balance Men's MT10V1 Minimus Trail Running Shoe should be your priority if you desire nothing more than the off-road adventure. It provides excellent support and stability you need even on rocky trails.
It is superior footwear with lots of features to enhance the running experience. It has a rubber sole, which makes it lightweight and durable. You can use it all day long effortlessly. The toe box is wide to provide more space, while the extra padding above the midsole will enhance comfort and cushion.
In addition, it has a 4mm heel drop to protect your foot from rocks and other hazardous materials. The lightweight mesh materials on the upper part of the shoe provide enhanced ventilation. This is to keep the feet cool even in wet conditions.
New Balance Men's MT10V1 Minimus Trail is among the best low drop running shoes due to its Vibram outsole and unique styles. The sole has thick, sticky rubber compounds that provide traction and stability when landing on rough surfaces.
Apart from this, it comes with an anti-bacterial liner to take care of the odor.
The unique style of New Balance Men's MT10V1 sets it apart from other brands. Although it comes at a high price, it is worth the investment. It offers comfort, cushioning, and responsive traction.
3. Inov-8 Bare XF 210 V2 - Barefoot Minimalist Shoes - Zero Drop
Inov-8 Bare XF 210 V2 - Barefoot Minimalist, has everything you would want in a barefoot shoe. It is specially designed for gym use and cross-training. It is less suitable for running and outdoor use.
It stands out from other zero drop shoes with cushioning because of its sole. It has a power Footbed insole to absorb shock and cushion. The outsole has sticky rubber compounds to give the wearer a firm grip during their intense workout.
Also, it is durable and intensive to allow for incredible traction on wet and slippery surfaces. The upper part of the shoe consists of stretchable mesh fabric to permit breathability. In the midfoot area, there is a unique design. It uses the brand’s Rope-Tech technology and integrates the midfoot area with the racing system.
This situation provides a stable and easy-grip during rope climbing. Its lightweight and agile makes this shoe versatile. It weighs 8 oz. for the men version and 7 oz. for women.
The wide toe box design allows the toes to spread naturally during the workout. With this, you will have a stable base of lift without removing the shoes.
You might be like our review about running shoes for wide feet, which has specially designed a wide-toe box..
Inov-8 Bare XF 210 V2 - Barefoot Minimalist Shoe gives the wearer a sense of balance, posture, and control over their movements. It has a flexible and sturdy sole for comfort and protection.
4. Altra Women's Lone Peak 4 Trail Running Shoe
Altra Women's Lone Peak 4 Trail Running Shoe helps in various activities. Right from running, exercises, and gym workouts, it is perfect for enhancing the performance. It comes with moderate cushioning and all-surface traction for comfort and support.
In addition, it has a combination of breathability and responsiveness, making it suitable for hikers and athletes.
Like many zero drop trail running shoes that have a toe box, the Altra Women's Lone Peak 4 Trail has a wide design toe box to allow your big toe to remain in a straight position. This shoe design reduces the risks of bunions, hammertoes, and plantar fasciitis. In other words, it prevents toe diseases that cause swelling.
The Altra Women's Lone Peak 4 features a Zero Drop platform. This levels the heel and the forefoot from the ground to encourage low impact landing. Also, it comes with hook-and-look tabs to secure your gaiter and to keep dirt and debris off.
This shoe model has a height of 25 mm and weighs 1.4 ounces per pair. The rubber outsole has a lug pattern that helps in delivering excellent traction regardless of the terrain.
The Altra Women's Lone Peak 4 Trail Running Shoe comes with a durable construction, lightweight build, and a precise outsole traction capacity. Its features make it a good option for harsh environments.
5. Xero Shoes Prio - Women's Minimalist Barefoot Trail Running Shoe
Are you trying out a new trail, hitting the gym, or toeing a slackline? Then, you will love Xero Shoes Prio's protection and responsiveness. It comes with a 2mm insole to let you have more of a barefoot feeling.
It provides a natural fit because of the toe box. It is wide to let your toe spread and relax. In addition, it gives a natural Motion due to its flexibility. The rubber sole will allow you to roll up the pair of shoes and fit in your pack or pocket. Also, it will let you move naturally by bending your feet.
It comes with a non-elevated, Zero–drop heel to allow proper posture and low ground for balance and agility. Also, it has a patented FeelTrue sole to give you the right protection and the ground feedback.
Xero Shoes Prio is a cool Zero drop shoe with cushioning because of its versatile design. It is lightweight and provides flexible performance for road running, trail running, fitness, Cross fit, and hiking.
Xero Shoes Prio - Women's Minimalist Barefoot Trail and Road Running Shoe delivers superior accuracy and ground feel. With its super thin outsole and ultra-light build design, it performs well in both roads and trails.
6. Altra Men's Torin 2 Running Shoe
For a long-distance runner, responsive and comfortable footwear is a great choice. The Altra Men's Torin 2 is among the best Zero Drop Running shoes because of its design and amazing features. Its improved design on the upper unit makes it stand out from other brands.
It has breathable materials to enhance ventilation, which increases airflow. This makes the feet to remain fresh and prevent foot diseases such as blisters and swelling.
The weight of this pair of shoes differs from other models. It comes with a weight of 9.0 ounces. The dual-layer EVA materials keep the overall weight down without compromising comfort. The Torin 2 features a Contour Footbed midsole for excellent support and stability.
An added feature to the Altra Men's Torin 2 Running Shoe is the Inner flex midsole. This system adds flexibility and increases the performance while the A-Bound technology maintains the durability and efficient underfoot platform.
Additionally, it has some new tech in the upper unit. It comes in the form of Foot shape Toe Box technology. It allows the toes to splay during workout naturally.
Altra Men's Torin 2 Running Shoe provides comfort, smooth ride with the more cushioned midsole. Also, it offers enhanced flexibility and durability to improve the running experience.
7. Merrell Women's Vapor Glove 2 Barefoot Trail Running Shoe
Merrell Women's Vapor Glove 2 Barefoot Trail is a perfect minimalist shoe that conforms to the shape of the runner's foot to create natural strides. It has a washable mesh that is comfortable to put on during different weather conditions.
The outsole makes this shoe durable and lasts for many miles without wearing or losing traction. It uses Vibram Outsole TC1: quality rubber compounds that deliver excellent traction on different surfaces.
The midsole has Compression-molded Ethylene-vinyl acetate (CMEVA) to provide exceptional cushioning for landings. Also, it offers flexibility when bending with the foot to allow natural movement.
The non-removable M-Select Fresh microfiber Footbed is an added feature in the midsole. It gives extra cushioning.
The Vapor Glove 2 Barefoot Trail Running shoe comes with a 0mm heel-to-toe drop. In other words, it adds a natural feel of the shoe. The upper unit makes this pair of footwear the best low drop running shoes. The construction materials are textile, synthetic, and air mesh for durability and excellent breathability.
Its lightweight features make it stand out from other minimalist shoes. It does not have overlays or padding, which would add weight. The men version weighs 5.8 ounces, and the women version is 4.8 oz.
Being lightweight doesn't mean that the shoe will lower the performance. It comes with a variety of features to allow the user to have a comfortable run. The toe bumper is an added feature that protects the toes against stones and sharp rocks.
8. Brooks Men's PureFlow 7
Brooks Men's PureFlow 7 is a good option for runners who want to feel the connection of the ground and their feet. It is an excellent pair of zero drop shoes with cushioning in the Brooks pure line.
Its sole creates a more connected feel to the ground, which enhances a responsive and flexible ride. This brand uses both the BioMoGo and DNA technologies to improve comfort. They make the midsole light and provides durable protection for long-distance runs.
The midsole goes further to provide flexibility due to the Omega Flex Grooves.
This shoe provides maximum support due to the outsole. It consists of a brown rubber compound which aims to provide lightweight and reliable traction on the road. Also, it enhances durability and responsiveness.
The upper unit of the Brooks Men's PureFlow 7 comes with a unique and stylish design. It uses stretch-woven fabric. It is breathable enough to keep the feet dry during the hot seasons. Apart from enhancing foot security, the soft-padded tongue and collar provide comfort. They are smooth to prevent blisters and irritation.
Brooks Men's PureFlow 7 comes with advanced technologies for a great ride. With its upper design of stretch-woven fabric, this shoe provides comfort and foot protection.
9. Vibram Men's V-Run Running Shoe
Are you a barefoot runner who is looking to make a transition to a more minimal design? Then Vibram Men's V-Run Running Shoe is your solution. It comes with a design that makes it perform well in scorching temperatures and cold conditions.
It has a more breathable upper and thick compound outsole to allow the runner to enjoy perfect rides on different weather conditions.
When it comes to durability, Vibram Men's V-Run Running Shoe turns out to be a leading model. Its outsole has MONT compound and Vibram’s typical XS-Run materials, making it durable.
Thanks to the EVA midsole foam. It improves the shoe’s strength and still makes it lightweight and flexible. This technology makes Vibram Men's V-Run among leading Zero drop shoes with cushioning. It allows full downward toe flexing to mark a flexible barefoot shoe.
This brand is among the most breathable shoes in the market. It has meshed-like upper materials and added perforations throughout the tongue to allow the foot to breathe naturally.
Although Vibram Men's V-Run Running Shoe may not be a great choice for running a trail, it performs a wide variety of running scenarios. The rubber compounds in the outsole and the technologies in the upper unit increases comfort and support.
10. Troadlop Mens Hiking Quick Drying Trail Running Shoes
If you are an outdoor person who wants a unique and comfortable barefoot shoe, you can give Troadlop Men's Hiking Quick Drying Trail Running Shoes a trial. It comes with great styles, sizes, and colors, making it suitable for both men and women.
The Troadlop Men's is a low profile zero drop trail running shoe from a first-class brand. It is an excellent shoe due to its features: right from the choice of materials to the construction methods.
This shoe has a beautiful unit that comes from durable and breathable fabric. It enhances ventilation to provide foot comfort. Also, the materials are soft to provide a lightweight structure.
Thanks to the five-toe design. Each toe gets its own space to increase comfort during workout. The anti-slip rubber soles provide superior gripping capabilities on a slippery surface while the lacing system holds the shoe securely to the foot.
If you love hiking, you can depend on this shock-resistant and durable hiking shoe for wide feet.
Troadlop Men's Hiking Quick Drying Trail Running Shoe provides foot protection for men who love outdoor activities. The polyester fabric designs the upper unit, to allow the foot to breathe. Due to this, this brand is perfect for long distance running, walking long distances, hiking, jogging, and running.
Consideration Before Buying Zero Drop Running Shoes
The siren call of barefoot running is hard to ignore. Before you start your exercises through the hills and trails, you need the shoes that will help you venture beyond the pavements. The zero drop shoes are becoming popular. They help to minimize running-related injuries.
They come in a flat design, which makes every part of the foot land evenly on the ground. Many shoes in the market promises effectiveness. However, there are specific features to consider.
The material enhances the performance of the overall shoe. It increases durability and feet comfort. Running during the hot temperatures can lead to blisters on the feet and toes.
In this case, when choosing zero drop running shoes, you need to consider one with meshed fabric. It enhances breathability, which keeps the feet fresh and wicks away, sweat quickly. Waterproof material will allow you to run on ice and snow, keeping your feet warm.
Additionally, the materials matter when it comes to shoe weight. Meshed materials are lightweight, thus, enhancing your running experience.
Running may cause sliding and risks of soft tissue injury. The sole provides underfoot protection and maximum protection to enhance natural strides. The soles vary depending on the shoe needs. Some work great on rough terrains while others on smooth roads.
An outsole with a Vibram technology brings an excellent solid grip on almost all surfaces. This material is superior to enhance the shoe’s durability. A great midsole should have maximum cushioning layers to provide the shock absorption capabilities. Also, one with antimicrobial agents is essential to prevent odor in the shoes.
Most of the best zero low drop running shoes are specifically designed for hiking, running, and other workout activities. The weight of the footwear can lower or increase its performance. With lightweight shoes, you can run effortlessly and improve your running speed.
The construction materials and sole of the shoes contribute to the weight. Meshed materials result in low weight, thus enhancing comfort and feather-like feeling during the workout.
When running, the body creates a lot of warmth, which leads to sweating. Also, during the hot seasons, runners experience an increased amount of heat on their feet, which causes swelling and blisters. Most runners prevent this by using wet, soggy socks.
With a breathable pair of shoes, your feet will remain fresh after running. A shoe with meshed materials on the upper unit will help to wick away sweat, thus, leaving your feet dry.
Many zero drop running shoes help to relieve lower body joint pains. However, most of them lack the shock-absorbing technologies, which cause pain and lower the performance. The midsole plays a crucial role in protecting the feet. It features the Foam or EVA cushioning materials to diminish the force of impact from the heel to other lower body joints.
A shoe with thick, cushiony Eva or Foam midsole will lock away the energy between the ground and your body. This increases comfort and reduces feet and joints injuries.
No one wants to purchase a shoe that will wear out quickly. Because barefoot running involves the rough terrains and muddy environment, you need to consider a durable shoe. But how will you know that the footwear will last long?
The material of the shoes plays a crucial role in enhancing durability. Nylon or meshed fabrics are durable, making the shoe to serve you for many miles.
Also, the rubber sole enhances the shoe performance because of its ability to bend without compromising comfort and support. The Vibram sole technology will allow you to run on rough roads efficiently.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What is unique about zero drop running shoes?
A. Zero drop running boots are quite different from typical athletic shoes. Manufacturers design the best low drop running shoes in a way that the feet lie level to the ground. Zero drop shoes lack the sloppy or triangular shape found in typical running shoes.
When wearing these shoes, your toes and heels are the same distance off the ground.
The idea behind this design is to have shoes that help the feet adapt to natural movements. Doing away with an elevated heel makes it easy for runners to adopt the barefoot running style.
Consequently, zero-drop shoes significantly contribute to running efficiency and effectiveness. So, if you are looking to adopt a more natural running style, zero drop shoes are justly right for you.
Q. How do you pick the best fit for you?
A. First, consider the size. It's wise to try the shoes before finalizing the buy. As an experienced shoe buyer, you may have noted that brands tend to have varying sizing charts. A zero drop that fits you may be of a different size than your traditional running shoes.
Be sure to purchase chase shoes with ample toe box to give your feet sufficient room for movement.
Next, consider the grip. Zero drop shoes with cushioning offer a solid ground grip. Hence, they are excellent tools for running in rough terrains. All in all, go for shoes that fit your feet perfectly and are comfortable for you.
Q. Do zero drop running shoes increase performance?
A. Yes, they do. Zero drop running boots come with several performance benefits. First, the nature of the shoes serves to improve the calf-Achille complex. With zero drop shoes, the Achille tendons and the calves tend to load a further 12 mm more than a typical shoe.
The new working technique of the leg muscles and tendons is similar to the spring principle. Pushing down a spring further produces more spring force. As a result, your feet get pushed from the ground with a stronger force.
Zero drop trail running shoes also help to maintain the bone structure of your feet in a more natural form. The capability benefit runners who tend to overpronate with more stability.
The shoes also keep you away from fatigue as they align your foot in their natural position. Less fatigue translates to higher speeds and more performance.
Q. Why should you run short distances in your new shoes initially?
A. Conventionally, it takes some time to adapt to zero drop boots. Bringing your feet to adopt a barefoot running style naturally should be a slow process.
Sports experts advise runners to use new zero drop shoes for about 20 minutes daily and increase the time as they get used to them.
Your body and muscles need time to adapt to the new running style. Otherwise, overstretching the adaptation phase may bring about discomfort. Understand that your calves may be sore for the first few days.
Adapting to a barefoot running style translates to the unusual deployment of the foot and lower calf muscles. So, avoid worrying too much over the discomfort.
Q. Which are the recommended cleaning procedures?
A. It's best to follow the cleaning guidelines provided by your shoe manufacturer. Use solutions and processes that won't damage your shoes luster and durability.
A major zero drop shoe manufacturer recommends runners to use the spray-wait-scrub procedure. Here, you spray the boots with a cleaner and then allow it to dry for a few hours. Subsequently, scrub the shoes in a sink with a scrubbing brush.
You might stuff the boots with drying inserts to quicken the drying process. Drying inserts also keep away odor from your running shoes.
Alternatively, soak the shoes in Dawn soap/ water solution to clean and remove odor. You might also consider washing your boots in a front load washer.
Be sure to use a mild detergent. You can air-dry the shoes rather than using drying inserts. Soaking zero running boots for prolonged duration can break down the midsole foam.
During the exercise, you can get challenges associated with rough trails, rocky, and slippery surfaces, which can cause foot injury. It is clear that with barefoot shoes, you will have confidence that you will not slip.
Whether you are looking for added comfort or feet protection during your run, consider the use of zero drop shoes. They put the fun back into your regular exercises when discovering new trails.
They will not only protect your feet but also strengthen the foot muscles and ligaments. The zero drop running shoes lack the heel lift, which reduces calf strains and enhance the performance.
Due to a large number of shoes in the market, you need to research and pick one that will enhance your running experience. When shopping for the best zero drop running shoes, the material, sole, weight, and cushioning are among the critical consideration.
These features will enhance comfort and stability to increase your performance.