Heel-to-toe drop: meaning and measurement

In a shoe, the “heel-to-toe drop” (HTTD), also called “heel-drop” or simply “drop”, is nothing but the difference between the heel and the fore foot height. Some people measure these values without including the insole, but I like more the approach that includes it (there is always an insole, so why forget about it? Moreover, some insoles have differentiated thickness from heel to fore foot).

Figure 1 shows the location of the outsole (usually the only part in contact with the ground, provides grip), the midsole (usually located between outsole and insole, provides cushioning) and the insole (also called insert, provides a small amount of cushioning and sometimes supports the arch of the foot).

Figure 1 Outsole, midsole and insole in a running shoe.

Typical values of HTTD can be classified (here you can find a list of some shoes I measured) as follows:

  • 0 to 4 mm – usually found in racing flats, “zero-drop” or minimalist shoes, generally low cushioned
  • 4 to 8 mm – usually found in racing flats or “low-drop” shoes, generally low cushioned, sometimes mid cushioned
  • 8 to 12 mm – current standard for fast training/long distance racing shoes, generally mid cushioned, sometimes highly cushioned
  • 12 mm or more – a common value for normal jogging/running shoes, generally high cushioned.

Measuring the HTTD is quite a simple procedure and can be done in many different ways. Here I will show you my method, that I found being very accurate and reproducible. Only a caliper and a reference frame are needed to complete the measurement.
As showed in Figure 2, after building an L-shaped reference frame, the first operation is to set the caliper to zero.

Figure 2 Setting the caliper to zero.
The first measure to take is the heel pack height (outsole+midsole+insole), as shown in Figure 3. The measurement point is exactly in the lowest area where usually the heel is.
Figure 3 Measuring the heel pack height.
The second and last measure involves the fore foot zone. During this operation you want to be sure that the outsole is touching the reference plane (normally running shoes have a quite strong curvature in this zone). Normally the measurement point is under the metatarsal area, at the centre of the foot.


Figure 4 Measuring the fore foot pack height.
The difference between the first (heel pack) and the second (fore foot pack) measure is the HTTD. Typical results are listed here.

Here you can find a list of my running-related posts. Now shut down the notebook and have a run!
Science and Training:

2013 Track & Field season

Chronicle of a Steeplechase year

As said in last year’s end-of-season post2012 was my first season 10 years after quitting races. This year I kept on smashing my records (it’s so easy, when you start again from scratch), even if an Achilles tendinopathy tried to stop me. 

Taken from the athlete profile section, here’s a review of my improvements:

Outdoor progression of main events.

Some targets were achieved, some others just approached. I really wanted to run sub 10:10.00 in the steeplechase event, but maybe I forced too much in the first part of the season. I am very proud, though, of my improvements in longer distances.
Definitely the most important point is that I finally found a great team here in Berlin and I can say I picked up the right pace to start the winter season in a proper way. Carsten, Sebbi, Micha, Merlin…they were all very kind in relieving my forced stop. Not to mention, then, the great support I always had from mum, dad, Katrina and all the friends in Conegliano (Pie, Mattia and Gbo in a special way).

Over the water pit in one of the last races.
Last, but not least, the irreplaceable help from my technical partners has been again crucial. Brooks Running Italy and “himaxx” (Center for Altitude Training, Berlin) continue to follow my journey strongly. Thank you!
As usual, I tried to condense all the emotions, motivations and regrets in a single, short video. Nothing is better than direct experience to understand what lies under a whirling Track and Field year. But the images and the music itself are quite appropriate for trying to understand. 
So, again, welcome to my world. Enjoy and…keep on training!

A nice gift from Brooks Running Italy

Brooks Running Italy recently wrote a beautiful article about me. In the next lines a translation from the original piece. Thanks Brooks!

March 12th, 2013 
The large Brooks family is not only full of well-known athletes. A lot of young and passionate guys revitalise the “Run Happy” philosophy…
This is the case for Alessandro Santuz, born in Conegliano (TV – Italy), a great running enthusiast that have been training since he was 11.
After a short break to finish his studies in Aerospace Engineering at University of Padua, in 2011 he started again to run in the 3000 m steeplechase event. A discipline requiring a lot of willpower and hard workouts.
He currently lives in Germany and trains with a group of athletes led by the two-time Olympian in the 1500 m event Carsten Schlangen.
Alessandro grinds lots of kilometres, around 400 each month, and told us that Brooks shoes and apparel are his  ideal companions: “Now I have cumulated about 1300 km with different models of shoes and clothing, and I was surprised by the excellent quality of materials and exceptional attention to detail…that said, I won’t ever leave Brooks!”. Those were his exact words.
Alessandro writes a very interesting blog about his activities and sports experiences!


24th Lauf im Britzer Garten: a good pre-season test.

With the 24th Lauf im Britzer Garten (official website) the “summer” season has started. In the frame of the beautiful Britzer park in Berlin, 500 runners were at the start of the 10 km main competition.
With a time of 0:34:45 I classified 10th, running my 10 km PB (and my 5000 m PB too, as a split!). This is a very good news for the following races, all the training I’m doing with my wonderful group is definitely paying off!
Below a couple of pictures and the final classification. Here the GPS-track.

A quite crowded start!

For the first 3 km this was my group.

Feeling strong around 4th km.

A beautiful view of one of the bridges.

Final meters!

This is sport.

So happy!
Engler, Jonas
LG Süd Berlin
Bubel, Niels
Die Laufpartner
Krannich, Christian
LAC Berlin
Wienecke, Jonas
Tus Neukölln Tri.
Matysik, Nico
LAC Berlin
Landmann, Marc
LAC Berlin
Rodewohl, Christoph
LAC Berlin
Schwark, Ludwig
LAC Berlin
Dumann, Axel
OSC Berlin
Santuz, Alessandro
LG Nord Berlin

The official results of the 24th Lauf im Britzer Garten.

Tough Guy: the safest most dangerous event in the world

Some of you surely remember my post about the Red Bull 400 or the Sant’Antoni’s Night Trail, that both show my inclination to strange races. But what you are going to see in this video posted by Brooks Running Germany YouTube channel, is somewhat over the normal conception of “tough race”. The “Tough Guy” is claimed by its organisers to be “the safest most dangerous event in the world”. You won’t find it hard to believe after the first seconds of the following clip.

The course map says it all, with a section named “Killing Fields” and another called “Bracken Maze Tortures”! My favourite part would certainly be the “Brasher-Disley Steeplechase” (you can have an overview at the minute 1:52), even if I’m not so sure that all that mud is going to help the fun…

Many congratulations to Knut Höhler (Brooks Running Team) for the Hattrick!

2012 Track & Field season

Chronicle of a Steeplechase year

2012 was my first season 10 years after quitting races. Step by step I increased mileage, training sessions, commitment. In complete harmony my family, my girlfriend, my friends and my training mates started and kept on supporting me. It was a special season, that can hardly be synthesized by a short clip. I anyhow tried to and the following images are my biggest thank you to those people who continuously follow my running journey.
Every ceiling, when reached, becomes a floor […]” (Aldous Huxley)
Thanks to mum, dad and Katrina (always the main sponsors and fundamental moral supporters), Mattia (it’s a pleasure to search for the scientific explanations of facts), Pie (2013 will be definitely great, you’re destroying the right obstacles), Gbo (where should I go without your accurate technical hints?), the whole Cone-Project (more than an idea…a way of life!), Batman (talking with you is always a motivation injection!), Mark (more than a simple technical partner), and every single person that helped me or I helped during hundreds of training sessions.
Enjoy and…keep on training! (LINK for German viewers).