Minimalism VS Barefoot VS Zero Drop

Welcome to the Dr. Shippee Shoe Handbook:

What is the real difference?

We all know tons of friends who love to run, right? Some are fast, some are slow, some like big fat shoes and others like next to nothing on their feet. Recently with the new craze being Minimalism or Barefoot running, I can see that there is a great deal of confusion…I hope I can clear it up with this article.

With the latest craze being, “less is best,” this has spurred a great deal of research and development, and this often times results in innovation far ahead of its time and fails to catch on.

Dr. George Sheehan, physician and running author once said, “running is an experiment of one,” this shows the need for runners to learn from their own experience as well as seeking credible advice.


Let’s compare the differences:

Barefoot Inspired Running Shoe Characteristics

  • Weight-<10 Oz
  • Materials-Synthetic mesh with few overlays
  • Heel Drop-0mm, from heel to toe
  • Wide Toe Box-allows toes to splay
  • Ramp Angle-0 degrees
  • Stack height-< 10mm
  • Minimalist Running Shoe Characteristics

  • Weight-< 10 Oz
  • Materials-synthetic mesh with few overlays
  • Heel Drop- 5mm
  • Foot Shaped Toe Box
  • Ramp Angle-10 degrees
  • Stack Height-< 25mm

  • This is how I can best describe the differences between the two, but now let me explain what a few of these few terms mean:

    Barefoot Inspired Shoe- Mimics the shape of the foot and allows unhindered function of its natural motion.

    Drop: The difference of the height of the shoe between the heel and the ball of foot.

    Minimalist shoe-Shoe with all the bells and whistles removed to reduce weight and structure.

    Ramp Angle- The angle the shoe pitches forward from heel to toe.

    Toe Box-The front of the shoe where the toes reside.

    Stack height-Height of the sole relative to the ground and shoe body

    Zero Drop Shoe-Same stack height under both heel and toe.

    Once again, Dr. George Sheehan, physician and running author once said, “running is an experiment of one,” this shows the need for runners to learn from their own experience as well as seeking credible advice.

    As Always, Enjoy The Run,

    Dr. Shippee

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