On my end, I try my hardest to keep up with the fast pace of the evolving shoes, especially the new running shoes coming out from companies such as Saucony, New Balance, Brooks, Asics and Nike.
In this last little while, they have taken all their research data and designed their line of running shoes with lower heel heights. This is more so to keep up with the barefoot running craze that is sweeping the nation and beyond right now. These shoe companies have realized that you cannot take an individual who has been wearing “normal” running shoes with a 12mm heel height and place a pair of minimalist shoes with virtually no midsole on their feet and tell them to run with moderation with gradual progression.
I have been doing my research in the past few weeks to find out how the shoe companies are dealing with this new way of running and how they are changing their shoes to gradually get their customers - the general population all running with more biomechanical efficiency. While all shoe companies are dropping their heel heights down with their spring shoe lines coming out, I found that Saucony has been the most in tuned with how to do so and with success.
While inquiring about these new minimalist shoes hitting the shoe stores. I found out that all running shoe companies are dropping their heel height. Going from a 12mm heel down to a 4mm then 0mm. If you think about it, going from 12mm to 4mm is a huge difference. When you place a 4mm heel height on your foot after being in a 12mm heel height for years, you will notice that it almost feels like a negative heel - falling backwards in your shoes. Combine this with your gradual run then to full out (which many are doing), you will start to have uncomfortable pain in your feet and lower limbs.
The only company I have found that was aware that going from a 12mm to a 4mm was way too much of a drop all at once was Saucony. They dropped their heel heights gradually from 12mm - 8mm - 4mm - 0mm. Having this extra step to an 8mm, they have realized it’s less shock to the system and can still push yourself after breaking in the shoe.
I am not writing this post to endorse Saucony and I have no royalties by promoting them. I just wanted to make the awareness that if you are looking for a new pair of shoes but are bombarded with all this new types of shoes coming out, make sure that the sales person selling you the shoe is knowledgeable with the new heel heights. Gradual progression down to a 0mm heel and even into barefoot running needs stages of muscle and gait retraining before jumping into this new style of running.