The Altra shoe makers appear to measure heel to toe drop from the forward
portion of the heel to the forefoot
The other thing that becomes a factor is shoe cushioning. For example, a shoe like the Hoka Stinson, which has approx a 4 mm drop, has a substantial amount of cushioning. Because of that cushioning, a runner with a normal body weight of approximately 150 lbs will, in most cases, end up having a zero drop when that runner’s foot meets the road, thus the foot will level out almost immediately on impact. So for practical purposes, when running, high cushioning with limited drop (3 -5 mm) will result in a zero drop shoe in most instances
Inov8 shoe makers appear to measure heel to toe drop from the back of the heel to the forefoot
Another example, is the zero drop shoe which the “Altra” is famous for. Altra shoes are really made for someone that has a mid-foot landing where the foot lands immediately under their body, not out in front, and where the leg is only used for support and not for power. It’s the center of mass and leaning factor that gives the forward momentum. It is for a runner that is NOT “toeing off” appreciably. So, it depends on the runner, and how the runner propels themselves. A runner that propels off the toe will be more concerned as to what kind of drop they have going through the toe portion of the shoe. The Hoka shoe, basically rolls off from the ball of the foot forward to the toe. It’s difficult to “toe off” in the Hoka for the simple reason of the dramatic roll off they have due to the “Rocker Sole”. The Hoka is also made for the “support and lean” type of runner.
|On the left, we have the Newtons with the forefoot "gizmo", and on the right, the Hoko's Rocker Bottom.|
How does anyone measure the heel to toe drop on these?
So there you have it. There's all kinds of heel to toe drop heights on shoes and no industry standard for which to measure them. The best recommendation is when purchasing your running shoes get advice from a knowledgeable running store staff member, try the shoes on, and see what works best for your running style.