Zero-drop road shoe recommendations



  • edited April 2014
    My biggest problem with the Levitas was that the toebox kept collapsing every time I'd bend my foot.  The area where the tongue ends kept rubbing on the base of my 4th toe.  This happened no matter what I did with the laces.
  • BryanEW710, that is pretty much the same experience I had. I thought the shoes were decent otherwise, although I think they would wear down rather quick, like the Virratas I had from Saucony. 
  • I would consider looking at non zero drop shoes, there are a number of 3mm drop shoes that are flexible and lightweight and can work well for one with a mid-foot stride.  

    I have pair of Inov-8 Road-Xtreme 178's (road shoe) and in theory they are a 3mm drop shoe, but I've worn one on foot and my zero drop Inov-8 F-Lite 232's (light trail shoe) on the other foot and they feel very similar when jogging around - it's a bit uncanny how two different shoes can feel so similar.

    Personally I'd still pick a zero drop over a 3mm drop shoe if everything else is the similar, but there are other elements of shoes that are just as important for making a shoe work well for their intended purpose.  It's hard to know whether a particular shoe will work well for you without trying it, for me a light flexible 3mm drop shoe beats a stiff zero drop shoe, while a zero drop flexible shoe will typically win my heart.

  • I wish the 178 had the 138's color scheme.  How did they feel?
  • I prefer the look of the Road-X-Treme 178 over the 138 :-)

    The 178's are firm and pretty flexible, they have become more flexible - they feel pretty flat to me, certainly don't effect my stide + foot strike.  Grip on roads is fantastic, even when they are really wet.

    With your signature though I would raise a possible problem.  I've worn the 178's without socks once and lived to regret it, ended up with a blister on the top of my foot behind the big toe.  I went on an 8 mile tempo run and got a hot spot half way through where the upper was bending on toe off, couldn't do much about it during the run and ended up with a small blister.  If you never wear socks then it might not be an issue.  There aren't any particular seams that cause a problem, but lining isn't as soft as the lining of my Nike Kiger or Vivobarefoot Neo Trails that I've found work really well for running sock-less.

    However, as it's been winter I have hardly been able to run without socks in any of my shoes so my feet might not be as robust as they could be.  Running in the 178's with thin socks works great for me though - I did a marathon PB in then two weeks ago in a pair of toe socks, the shoes worked perfectly.

    There are other 3mm drop road shoes out there that might work equally well for you, you'll just have to stick them on your feet and run to know though.

  • @Bryan: I also wouldn't consider the Levitas a shoe to run in sockless. Swapping the insole for something thinner (or no insole at all) could prevent the rubbing.
  • @Rudy: In my case, the rubbing was because there was too much volume in the upper, allowing it to bend differently from my foot.  I'm not sure how increasing volume (by using a thinner insole) would've helped that.

    @RobertOsfield: Good info...thank you!
  • Anybody here tried the Topo Athletic ST (Speed Trainer)? Seems like it might fit the requirements for the OP (0 drop, 13mm stack height, can't comment on flexibility or arch support), Pete had a pretty positive review of their trail-oriented MT.
  • I really wanted to try them.  Can't remember why I never did.
  • @Bryan Ok, I tought it could help to avoid the rubbing...

    @TrailRunningDad:  I would like to try them, but they aren't available in Europe...

    Not yet mentioned in this thread (because they aren't zero-drop) are the Inov-8 road-x 155. They are around for about three years now and Inov-8 keeps putting out new colorscheme of them. The shoes with the old colorschemes (bright yellow!) still can be found for a low price. They aren't zero drop, but 3mm is about the lowest offset that can be found in shoes. There's also the zero-drop Inov-8 Bare-x 180 (I have those myself), but they lack any cushioning. I consider them more minimal than my Vibram Fivefinger speeds
  • "Why don't you put your Bionic 1 insole in a pair of Bionic 2's" - this would be the simplest solution I think because the GB2 sole is otherwise the same as the GB1 sole. Or buy a 3mm Inov-8 insole and stick that in there: The GB2 + Inov-8 insole will still probably be cheaper than most of the other shoes mentioned. I just tried the Inov-8 insole in the GB2 and it fits fine, if anything might need a small trim.

    I'd second others and take a look at the Altra The Onev2, Skora. The Topo ST would not be a good fit given the original preferences stated because it has a strong feeling of posting at the back of the arch. The Inov-8 Bare-X or Road-Xtreme models also worth a look.
  • @Rudy what are the differences between the go bionic and go bionic prana? I have been looking for a new pair of bionics but can't find them anywhere. The prana is still available on amazon.
  • @Rudy: It's ok.  For some reason, I was wearing the inside of my heel on the outsole (I wonder if it's not because the medial heel wasn't more dense because of the rubber).  I don't know why you'd only put rubber on one part of the heel!
  • I'm getting in on this discussion rather late, but I just want to put in my vote for the Mizuno Wave Universe 5. Damn, that's a great shoe. Very little drop, extremely lightweight, roomy toebox. There's just no structure to the shoe at all. It's marketed as a racing flat, but I would call it the best minimalist shoe I've ever worn. It feels pretty moccasin-like to me, and I could run in it all day. I might get another pair to wear in upcoming half and full marathons. I think it would be pretty funny to run a long race like that in those crazy little shoes.
  • @DonL

    1/ The insole is just as thin, but has a slight pattern on the bottom against slippage.
    2/ The upper is more breathable. It's a bit coarse, but on the inside near the toes they've added some soft material. This coarse material is also at the bottom of the shoe when you remove the sockliner, so I think it's not as barefoot friendly as the original Go Bionic. I hope it's more water resistant than the original material, but I haven't run in them in wet conditions yet (got 50km in the prana's and 550km in the original Go Bionics)

    So all in all not a big difference. For me the biggest change is that I have the original in size 11 and the prana's in 11.5 (and for less than $40 from Amazon). I still use them both, although the originals are a bit tight now (my feet have grown) and the sole got deformed a bit after I dried them once on a heater...
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