Have you ever looked at a pair of zero drop shoes and wondered if they could be good for walking?
Or maybe you’ve already taken then for a short test drive but you still aren’t sure whether to use them for long distance walking?
You’re not alone.
The zero drop models have been subject to debate, with some testers confirming boldly that the shoes are good for walking and other having mixed reactions.
In this guide, we’ll put the argument on minimalist walking shoes to its final rest.
In particular, I’ll tell you why shoes with zero drop design are good for walking and why they’re not.
But first things first…
What are Zero Drop Walking Shoes?
Also known as minimalist sneakers, zero drop walking shoes have a forefoot that's on the same level with the heel on the ground. Form a design standpoint, the construction is in such a way that you’ll feel as if you were walking or running barefoot.
Unlike other types of shoes, the minimalist are lighter and flexible, and they have a wide toe box to allow your feet to assume their true shape.
Are Zero Drop Shoes Good for Walking?
If you’ve been thinking about buying minimalist shoes for walking, you should do so because of the following reasons.
1. They Can Keep Your Feet in their Natural Position
Because zero drop shoes can keep your feet in a neutral position, usually from the feeling of barefoot walking, your movements end up feeling a lot more natural than it does when you walk in regular shoes.
Designers have updated the outsoles of their minimalist shoes to be a bit more flexible to support the tendons and bones of your feet.
And by enhancing lightweight guide rails, zero drop shoes are able to promote the rhythm in your motion with ease.
The takeaway is this:
The concept behind the making of these shoes is to keep your feet moving natural naturally instead of depending on the push from the heel.
2. Minimalist Walking Shoe Can Strengthen Your Feet
As long as there are no underlying foot pains or deformities, these shoes can enhance the strength of your ankle, foot and leg muscles.
It’s because with minimalist footwear, your feet depends on very little artificial help to move.
The result is strong feet, proper body alignment, increased stamina, and better body posture when walking.
3. They Can Lower Stress Applied on Your Feet
These shoes aren’t just durable, flexible, and reliable.
They’re also so lightweight that you can hardly feel them while walking.
And given the flat design from the heel to the forefoot, there is reduced pressure placed on your muscles joints, and lower back as you walk.
4. Zero Drop Walking Shoes Encourage Low Impact Gait
As a result of reduced drop of the shoe, one lands on the mid-foot or forefoot rather than the heel.
So instead of experiencing a higher impact stride, which is common with heels landing, you walk easily with very little stress applied on your feet.
Given the low impact stride that you get from walking in minimalist shoes, you end up with a lot healthier feet and body.
5. They Reduce the Risk of Injuries
Since standard shoes lack the barefoot waking simulation, they somewhat tend to interfere with the body’s natural posture, barring its ability to absorb impact as a result of misalignment of joint and muscle interactions.
Shoes with a zero drop are quite different.
People who wear minimalist shoes have feet that can function as natural as possible when walking.
With the help of these sneakers, your feet can move, flex, and bend naturally and therefore spread the force applied from each step evenly across the feet, legs, and back.
6. Minimalist Shoes for Walking Last Longer
You can use shoes with minimalist design for walking because they can last for a very long time.
That’s so because they’re made of durable materials.
When it comes to picking a pair of shoes to use for walking, you have to consider the quality of the design based on the material used for its construction.
Of course, comfort is also an important factor to consider, even if you don’t intend to use the shoes on a daily basis.
One design aspect that makes many shoes with barefoot design worth the asking price is the use of foam in the midsole.
Such an addition is quite suitable for someone who’s very active as well as an individual who walks long distances.
How long they last will depend on the frequency of use.
While it's common to replace walking shoes after 500 miles, yours may give in sooner or later depending on additional factors such as weight distribution, sole construction, and the type of surface you walk on
Transitioning from Standard Shoes to Zero Drop Shoes?
To get the best walking experience, try to have a smooth transition from standard shoes to the minimalist model. This will go a long way to allow your body to adapt to the new technique and posture.
For a start, wear the barefoot shoes for short periods and alternate between these and the standard models.
You can also wear them for several days in a row. But you should take a break to prevent putting a lot of pressure on your feet, leg, and joint.
Are There Risks Associated with Wearing Zero Drop Shoes for Walking?
As much as zero drop shoes help the feet to perform its’ functions with minimal pressure, there are risk associated with wearing them.
Podiatrists caution people from walking barefoot around the house or using zero drop shoes during outdoor activities.
Again, movement with little or no support on a hard surface puts a lot of pressure not only on your feet but also on the other parts of your body.
If the strain is continuous for a longer period, your feet may pronate and alter the distribution of weight and pressure.
Don’t wear zero drop shoes for walking if you have a poor foot structure because you may be at a higher risk of developing musculoskeletal injuries when walking in the shoes.
Again, these shoes may not exactly be ideal for you if you have fallen arches. They may prolong the tendency of your feet to overpronate. And this can lead to calf pain, plantar fasciitis, and stress fractures.
You shouldn’t wear shoes with minimalist design if you have a pre-existing condition such as Achilles tendonitis because a pair simply won’t fix the problem.