Heel-toe drop or offset what does it mean in a running shoe the highest education level

Heel-Toe drop/offset/differential as defined by Brooks Running is “ the difference between (midsole + outsole) heel height and (midsole + outsole) forefoot height” (see picture above from New Balance if you’re not clear what the midsole and outsole are). Thus, a drop of zero would mean that when seated in the shoe, the heel and ball of the forefoot would be at exactly the same height off of the ground. average level of education in the us A drop of 12mm would mean that the heel sits 12mm higher off the ground than the forefoot. The importance of the HT drop value is that it’s thought that the lower it is, the easier it will be to land on your midfoot or forefoot while running. I’m not sure if there have been published studies confirming this, but my personal experience running in shoes of varying HT drop values, as well as a few of my informal laboratory attempts to correlate heel height in shoes with footstrike, seem to suggest that this relationship is likely real.

You can check out these posts for more:

Given growing interest among runners in how a given shoe might affect their footstrike, some running shoe manufacturers and running shoe sellers have begun reporting this value as a standard spec on each shoe. For example, Brooks Running has posted HT drop data on their blog for their more “minimalist” shoes, and Running Warehouse lists midsole height for the heel and forefoot for many of the shoes that it sells. I like this trend a lot, as it allows runners to consider one more piece of data to help them make a more informed choice of shoe to match their running style (e.g., it allows midfoot/forefoot runners to more easily find shoes with a lower drop if that’s what they prefer).

Despite the seemingly simple definition, I still find a few points confusing about the concept of heel-toe drop. Some places refer only to midsole height (e.g., Running Warehouse), whereas others (Brooks) include both midsole and outsole height in their calculation. Including the outsole does make a difference in some cases – as an example here are the stats reported on the Brooks blog for the Brooks Launch (one of my favorite shoes):

You can see from the above example that the Launch actually has a slightly lower offset when the outsole is included in the calculation, due to the fact that the outsole is actually a bit thicker in the forefoot (tooling height, another new term to me, is oustole + midsole thickness). What confuses me is why you would ever exclude the outsole, and why the insole never seems to be included in these calculations? Seems to me that the goal is to determine how high off the ground the heel sits relative to the forefoot, and thus all three elements separating the foot from the ground should be included: insole (insert), midsole, and outsole.

Given this, I thought I’d do a little home experiment and measure the heel-toe drop in some of the shoes in my shoe rack. The challenge in doing this is that you can’t simply measure heel or forefoot height from the side of the shoe because the midsole frequently curls up around the sides above the level where the heel sits, such that you might overestimate thickness if measuring in this manner (not to mention that you wouldn’t be including the insole thickness). Rather, what I did was to use a bar clamp that could be cinched up inside the shoe on the insole and on the bottom of the outsole – in other words, I clamped from the top of the insole to the bottom of the outsole. By comparing the length of the clamp bar when fully closed to the length when cinched to the shoe (see photos below), I could calculate the difference and thereby estimate heel or forefoot thickness.

Diagrams showing how I determined heel and forefoot thickness with a Jorgensen bar clamp. I measured the bar length to the right of the clamp arm in the fully closed position (upper picture), and then subtracted the length of the same bar when the clamp was cinched snugly but not too tightly to the shoe (bottom picture; clamp sandwiched the insole, midsole, and outsole).

I measured heel thickness at the center of the heel, and forefoot thickness where the ball of the foot (i.e., metatarsal heads) would rest. The latter was accomplished by sliding the clamp arm through the laces between the tongue and the eyerow of the upper, so that no upper fabric was included in the measurement (this couldn’t be done in the Vibram Fivefingers KSO’s or Nike Sneakerboat, so I estimated the thickness of the forefoot fabric and subtracted it from the measured height). All measurements were taken on both the right and left shoes and averaged (measurements were remarakably consistent between sides on most shoes, giving me greater confidence in my data).

Clearly the measurements I provide below aren’t perfect, and a far superior way to do this would be to cut the shoe in half lengthwise and measure thickness with a calipers (which for obvious reasons, I can’t justify doing to my own shoes – but Newton Running has a picture posted of one of their shoes cut in this manner – see below).

Furthermore, all of these shoes have been worn for varying amounts of time, so I have no idea how much of an effect midsole compaction or outsole wear with increasing mileage might have on these measurements (that would be another interesting home experiment to do, and I hypothesize that if anything, compaction would decrease drop by compacting the heel cushion in a heel-striker like me; regarding outsole wear, most of mine is on the lateral corner of the heel, and was probably not a major factor in these measurements).

Despite the above considerations, I’ve made an academic living out of measuring microsopic parts of animal skeletons, so I’m pretty careful when it comes to taking measurements, and thus I’m confident that these numbers are at least reasonably accurate (and the method used was the same on all shoes).

Update 6/08/09: Ian Adamson from Newton Running was kind enough to leave several comments on this post, including one in which he lists the heel and forefoot thickness for each line of Newton shoes. what is the level of education Since my numbers for the Sir Isaac don’t match his, I thought I’d try to remeasure my Sir Isaac’s using another technique that is also easy to do at home. All that it entailed was measuring the height of a skewer stick, and then measuring the height to which it extended when lifted by the heel or forefoot of the shoe. You can see how I did this in the pictures below:

You can see from the above that this method yielded a heel height of 33mm, and a forefoot height of 25mm, which gives a heel-toe drop of 8mm. These numbers are very close to those that I measured using the clamp method (see below – the fact that they are 0.5-1mm larger might be due to the clamp slightly compressing the insole when cinched), and I am confident in their accuracy. Not sure why there is a discrepancy with the numbers that Ian reported below (28mm heel, 23mm forefoot, 5mm drop).

1. First, how do my measurements match up with those published for some of these shoes? It’s difficult to compare absolute heel and forefoot thickness since I included the insole, so instead I’ll focus on the numbers reported for heel-toe drop in a few shoes for which I could find published data on-line (insole height might explain some of the discrepancies):

My conclusion is that it is often hard to know what the thickness numbers being reported by manufacturers include – i.e., just midsole, midsole + outsole, or insole + midsole + outsole. Seems to me the latter is the most accurate representation of where the foot would sit relative to the ground in any given shoe, and that’s what I have reported here (with potential inaccuracies noted above). level 7 education I should point out that a 1mm discrepancy is very small, and probably negligible from a performance standpoint (and not to mention, also probably well within the margin of error).

2. You can clearly see my preference for minimalist shoes by looking at the drops on most of the shoes in my collection. A more typical trainer like the Saucony Guide (or most of my wife’s shoes in the Women’s section) has a drop of 12-14mm, whereas most of my shoes have a drop of less than 10mm.

3. The thickness of the heel in the Newton Sir Isaac (see picture below) surprised me. At 32mm, it has a heel thickness that is right in line with most of the traditional training shoes included here. This likely explains why I heel strike in them despite the fact that they are designed to be a shoe to help runners transition into a midfoot/forefoot gait. They have a lower drop than traditional training shoes, but this appears to mostly be accomplished by a thickening of the forefoot and addition of the actuator lugs.

These shoe companies are changing the designs each year just for the sake of change, there are no long term studies showing the extra padding and especially the large drops are healthy for children or adults alike – it’s all marketing hype. highest level of education phd The proprioception of the body takes care of balance and strike, as long as it gets reasonable feedback from the foots sensors, but as soon as those sensors are suppress with artificial padding in the sole, the body mechanics start to suffer and get confused. It’s like losing your vision or hearing, try running blindfolded or with ear plugs – thats what its like for your sensory system with excessive padding. The options then become which shoes to choose to minimal physical damage – which is not a healthy thing for children.

Keep the drop low, cater for over pronation with toe wedges and let the body take care of the rest, the shoe companies know this but they need to distinguish their products from the competition – just reading the specs for a basic kids shoe is like speccing out the space shuttle, you’d think they want to send you to the moon with those shoes.