Are you as confused as I am about all this talk about stack heights, drop, zero drop, traditional, 4MM vs. 6MM vs. 12MM drop and millimeters? Yes I admit it – I do not think in millimeters, I think in inches and have a difficult time wrapping my head what all the hype is about.
From the conversations I have seen on Twitter and elsewhere, I am not the only one that is confused, bewildered and wondering if all the hype really makes a difference.
This post is not to take the side that one side is better than the other it is to simply give a picture of what the others are talking about when they are discussing zero drop, 4MM, 6MM, 12MM and different stack heights look like with images.
For those of you more like me, who need more of a visual to figure things out, not just the numbers – this is what 12MM looks like compared to 6MM and 4MM.
You get the idea, I can’t tell if there is that much of a difference between the 3. Going from zero drop to 12MM is just under 1/2 inch. I will let you answer that for yourself whether this is meaningful or not, probably your answer will depend upon your perspective in the MM drop and stack height debate.
Below is a chart with three popular shoes on today’s market, to visually compare the differences between their heel and forefoot stack heights. The Elixir 7;s are more traditional running shoe, Kinvara 3 4MM and Instinct 1.5- zero drop (I am presently running in the Elixir’s, have run in the Kinvara 2’s and the original Instinct’s).
The heel and forefoot stack heights were taken from the Running Warehouse Website
Altra Instinct 1.5
Saucony Kinvara 3
Mizuno Wave Elixir 7
At least now I can at least wrap my head around and visualize what people are talking about when companies begin spewing those numbers in millimeters, during their marketing campaigns. Or better yet when other runners begin to “discuss”, argue or otherwise try to persuade you to go along with their philosophy of zero drop, lower drop or more traditional drop running shoes.
What does all this mean to the average runner? I really am not sure and it seems a lot of other runners are not either, but as more studies come out, they do seem to be leaning a certain direction.
No I am not qualified to make a scientific analysis or recommendations about the pros and cons of the differences that a few millimeters of drop or stack height makes to YOUR running. What the above chart and looking at the actual differences between the stack heights and drop (instead of just the hype), shows me that there are differences, but how these differences actually affect how you and I run is the billion dollar question.
I think that Pete Larson over at RunBlogger put it best in his book “Tread Lightly” when he said “Use what works best for you.” That is some of the best advice I have heard in the running shoe wars.
However, I might add that you probably have to experiment and search a
LITTLE LOT, to find which running shoe style works best for you. I know that I have experimented a lot with different shoe styles, drop and stack heights and still don’t have the answer about what works best for me.
I will find the running shoes that will work for me, but trial and error can be a real pain in the butt (literally), when you are running in shoes that don’t work for you. Unfortunately, I haven’t learned a better way to find which running shoes work best for me.
What do you think?
- Did these visuals help clarify some of the hype around what the *MM drop actually looks like?
- Have you tried lower drop shoes or are you still running in traditional shoes?
- What are your future plans?