Having the best low drop running shoes is different from minimalist running shoes, mainly because these shoes are from 7mm drop or below, unlike the normal running shoes which are 12mm and the minimalist which are almost zero. Running shoes today are different in design, features and usage, that is the reason some runners prefer different running shoes for different terrain and personal reasons.
Now, 12mm drop on most running shoes will help the heel strike more than the mid foot strike, this increases the impact on your knees, while low drop which are 7mm drop or below will create a more dynamic movement and helps you create a natural stride.
If you are thinking of transitioning from normal running shoes to low drop, you should do it slowly until you’re used to it and do a lot of stretching to avoid injuries during your routine.
Are Low Drop Shoes Good for Running?
- Running shoes with less cushioning will improve your performance on the road, you will develop a better stability on your foot.
- Best low drop running shoes helps you to gain more flexibility when your are doing your routine, your soles will develop a better response and your Achilles tendon will decrease a foot fatigue.
- Wearing a low drop shoes will also help the pressure off from your body because of heel striking. Once you learn how to fix your form, a better force and balance natural foot motion will be achieve.
How to Choose a Low Drop Running Shoes?
- Weight – Lightweight running shoes are good to have since they don’t drag you when you’re running.
- Heel to toe drop – This will provide a better ground contact, you can choose from zero to 4mm but no higher than that.
- Structure – The construction of the shoe, features will be like a barefoot-like running.
Benefits of Low Drop Running Shoes
- Low drop running shoe offers improve and better coordination by activating some muscles in your ankles, heel and feet.
- These running shoe are lighter and uses less energy during forefoot strike, and natural foot springs.
- It encourage natural foot splay, flexes and better ground contact for better running. It also can strengthen the tendons and foot muscles in your body, this running shoe can also reduce the risk of common running injuries.
Our Best Picks of Low Drop Shoes of 2020
Nike Free Run Distance
Nike Free Run Distance is a running shoe built for free running, it features great cushioning using its Lunarlon cushioning system and offers great flexibility due to the hexagonal flex with larger patterns. The cushioning is also lightweight and soft, helping your foot run further on longer distance. The outsole is made of responsive cushioning construction that creates natural motion, it is also durable. The upper is made from a single layer of Flywire that wraps your foot for comfort. All of these features will help you for better running on longer distance during your routine.
The features that we like most is the midsole, which was modified like accordion-structure. Nike delivers a soft and compliant feel for softer and plushier running. This running shoe is built to provide you with great training tool to help you improve and develop your skills, it is also great for neutral runners who wanted more flexibility and cushioning for long distance running routine.
Free Run Distance offers a natural foot motion that helps you run freely, especially if you are looking for better running form and technique. The construction is no question, it is sturdy and reliable, will allow your foot to maximize the movement while having a support and flexibility. If you want a naturally free foot motion, you should definitely try Nike Free Run Distance.
Pros: Extremely flexible, sock-like feature is amazing according to runners, perfect sizing, smooth and responsive.
Cons: Some runners complain about the narrow forefoot, expensive running shoe.
Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra SG
Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra SG is a running shoe that is designed for soft ground, it’s a bit heavy than the previous versions, but very dependable on soft or wet grounds and muds. You can even use this for trail running, if you ever wanted to.
If ever you wanted to do a ultra-distance racing on soft ground, or even on snowy trails, the Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra SG will keep your run more enjoyable, comfortable and will bring the best in you. Even the harsh conditions, this running shoe will help you. It is worth investing on this shoe, if you wanted to give your runs the best type of protection on wet or muddy grounds.
Pros: Upper features anti-debris mesh, quick lace system, aggressive lug deisgn, provides impressive grip on wet, muddy or soft terrain
Cons: Not as durable as expected, pretty expensive running shoe, not breathable as other runners commented, women version is not comfrotable
Nike Flex Run
Nike Flex Run makes a comeback with their new versions, a high performance running shoe with more enhanced features that can help you to be more efficient during your runs. The minimal but more durable Flex Run offers a stable ride that can adapt to your foot type, while maintaining and securing your foot. The new version has the flexibility that allows you to run longer distance, the comfort and flexiblity is what makes this shoe great (again).
If you wanted a maximum cushioning, style, breathability and adaptive fit, Nike Flex Run is the shoe for you. It will allow you to run on range dynamics without losing the cushion. It will also help you conquer longer distances without risking your foot fatigue or any discomfort, some runners even use the Flex Run fo recovery runs and high mileage runs.
Nike Flex Run is made for road and pavements, the features includes flex grooves, high anti-abrasion rubber, phylite molded material, soft phylon midsole and pressure mapping technology EVA, with injected sock lines, a padded tongue and a full inner sleeve construction.
Pros: Upper is made with lightweight mesh for breathable and comfort, mesh and foam is what Flex Run was construction, enhanced fit
Cons: A bit tighter for some runners before break ins, smaller size than used to, some complaints about the narrow forefoot area
Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO
The minimalist platform that helps your neutral foot motion, without sacrificing the comfort, this is what Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO is all about. It make sure that this shoe is light on your foot while protecting you from road debris, the snug fit and odo-free as well as the breathable foot environment is a great feature to add. Flexibility in all directions provides the KSO EVO, with patterned sole and resistant grip.
Flexibility and comfort without sacrificing the ground sensitivity is the major point of having a KSO EVO, if you wanted to do cross training and running, this shoe won’t disappoint your active life. It works well on rainy wet surfaces, because the outsole grip can handle any type of surface. If you are pursuing the natural foot motion, or zero drop profile, not to mention the improve runners balance, agility and foot strenght on the pavement, this shoe is the best for you.
Pros: Very lightweight, offers ground fell, very breathable and flexible, quick lacing sytem is great
Cons: Sole is too thin and not durable, some complaints about the toes being too tight, fabric wears off quickly
Vibram FiveFingers Treksport
The Vibram FiveFingers Treksport featues a adaptability and functionality that the shoe provides on high performance on the trail. The technology on hike and trek routes, the shoe balance the natural running movement without compromising the durabilty. Whatever the challenge you face, this shoe is always there to help you.
Advance trail runners will love the Treksport, the combination of rock protection and high ground sensitivity is a great investment for your daily cross training routine. It might take you a couple of wear to adjust, but after that you will maximize the shoes capability on road and track. The Treksport is recommended for trekking and hiking because it will strengthen your feet. The plus comfort is a little no-there only a adjustment straps but these are not the reason you’ll want to use this shoes.
Pros: Lightweight construction, stretch-mesh panels, breathable, anti-debris features, instep strap for support
Cons: Protective material is too thin, durability subpar, sole of the shoe is easily ripped away
Hoka One One Clifton
Hoke One One Clifton is one of the lightweight shoe that improves your efficiency and fluidity of your runs, it features a balance and cushioning. It looks bulky at first, but on the road, the fit and feel will keep your foot secure even for high mileage runs. The Hoka One One Clifton was designed for track, road and gravel terrain.
If you wanted to have more trail running in a lightweight and cushioned running shoes, the Hoka One One Clifton is the shoe for you. This shoe will be your investment to long distance running and recovery routines.
Pros: Lightweight construction, padded tongue for ocmfort, allows for better transition from heel to toe area
Cons: Wears out quickly, forefoot area was too narrow to some runners, a bit stiffer than the previous versions, expensive
Merrell Trail Glove
The Merrel Trail Glove is another minimalist pair from Merrell, it will give you a whole new level of trail running with natural feel, good traction and overall performance. The low heel to toe drop will assure you of good feel and overall enjoyable run.
Merrell Trail Glove offers traction, protection, comfort and performance on all trail you encounter, it is perfect for all kinds of terrain as well its protective features. The shoe requires your form to be proper before transitioning to minimalist running shoe, though this is what other runners call a balanced running shoes. Merrell Trail Glove will give you the experience of barefoot running without the pain of stepping debris and injuring yourself during your run.
Pros: Awesome fit, impressive outsole, durable, breathable upper mesh, offers cushioning for minimalist runners
Cons: Some runners have blisters from the insole, needs more cushioning, not for runners who doesn’t like barefoot runnign experience
Merrell Bare Access Arc
Merrell Bare Access Arc is an awesome running shoe that would provide a quality and efficient support to whoever uses it. There are two versions, for men Merrel Bare Access, for women Merrell Bare Access Arc, which is specifically designed for different anatomical structure of their foot. The shoe is lightweight and flexible, though not much cushioning for both.
Pros: Upper breathable mesh, lightweight, effective for cross training, durable and dependable, minimal cushioning for comfort
Cons: Aesthetic of the shoe is similar to the previous version, little support for arch, not best for over-pronators, narrow forefoot area
Nike Free Flyknit 3.0
Nike Free Flyknit 3.0 offers a different kind of running shoe, it fits really well and snug for your foot, flexible and the upper mesh acts like a second skin. Hexagonal outsole allows you to run on natural stride, and the Flywire cables will secure your foot as you picks up speed.
The Nike Free Flyknit 3.0 is designed for runners that are used to running barefoot or minimalist running shoes, with experience running in low drop, you will appreciate the features this shoe offers.
Pros: Ultra-light upper, cushioning is superb, comfy even without socks, forefoot cushioning is better, smooth transition from heel to toe
Cons: Expensive runnign shoe, small rocks can be stuck in the grooves, flat wide feet runners complains about the toe box
The Skechers GOrun is a lightweight and cushioned running shoes that can be used as minimalist running shoes for your training days. The shoe is agile, and protective, other runners find the Skechers GOrun a good running shoes for your cross training days.
Pros: Synthetic mesh is lightweight and breathable, has anti-microbial capability, Ortholite Sock Liner, Resalite mid-sole compound, underfoot cushioning
Cons: Some runners felt it is stiffer than the usual, narrow toe area, larger than the normal sizes
If you’re still looking for the best low drop running shoes, and you haven’t found it on the list. Make sure you list your requirements and ask a professional, this will make things so much easier. Also note that you need to use the shoe for 2 weeks max, to make sure you are using it to its full potential. In case we forgot something, please leave it in the comments below!