If you’re already a passenger on the zero-drop bandwagon, the Altra Intuition 1.5 is a running shoe worth looking at, especially if you’re tired of sacrificing the comfort of a well-cushioned shoe for the performance of a barefoot-inspired design. And certainly take note if you’re a lady, since they’re designed specially for women’s feet.
The Intuition 1.5 combines a familiar zero-drop construction with the comfort of a fully-cushioned sole, making every stride easier on your body. I found I could run longer and with less pain while wearing them. Also, they offer pleasant relief from the “thwack, thwack, thwack” sound I’ve come to associate with zero-drop shoes.
If you’re not familiar with zero-drop soles, or so-called “barefoot-inspired” shoe technology, here’s a quick overview. The term refers to the height difference between the toe and the heel of the shoe — in normal shoes, it’s around 10 or 15 mm, but in barefoot-inspired shoes, it’s zero, or very close to it. Also, the toe box in these shoes is wider than what’s found in regular running shoes. Although that causes the shoe to look as though it were designed for Daffy Duck, the wide toe box allows your toes to spread naturally like they do when you walk barefoot, instead of being constricted or forced inward. All of this is meant to move you towards striking the ground with a comfortably widened forefoot, instead of your heel, when you run. Proponents of this approach will tell you it’s more anatomically efficient, and therefore less damaging for your body.