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"zeroed out" shoes

Just wanted to see what experience others have had with having shoe repair shops cut running shoes down to be zero drop. I started getting my shoes zeroed out at the suggestion of Runner's Corner in Orem, UT to take my shoes to Village Shoemaker, also in Orem. I run either in VFF Bikilas for road runs or in zeroed out trail running shoes for trail running.

It took some trial and error to figure out what works for me. I learned that Brooks Cascadias have a big cushioning gel pod in the heel, and when the heel wedge got sliced out, I ended up with a lower heel than forefoot. I always hurt when wearing them and took them back to get a slim wedge put back in so they would be truly zero drop. My current favorites are La Sportiva Fireblades. Since they don't have too big a heel to begin with, it's not as much of a change to the shoe structure to bring the heel down by 10mm. I ran Rim to Rim to Rim of the Grand Canyon a couple months ago in the zeroed Fireblades and had no issues except for my cramped toes due to the somewhat goofy pointed toe shape. If La Sportiva would continue in the minimalist direction (remember the Slingshots that Krupicka used to whittle down?) and also make their shoes foot-shaped, they would have a killer trail shoe.


Answers and Replies


Hey, so I've been seriously considering taking my Saucony Kinvaras to the local cobbler and having the last 4mm taken off. I love the Kinvaras, but my running in the Evo 2s and walking all the time in the Vibrams is causing any heel lift to bother me. Plus my College XC and Track coach hates the Vibrams and Evos and will probably kick me off the team if he found out I was wearing them/training in them. This works for the off season, but in season (which is coming up in the next week), I fear I will be in trouble and possibly in the injury danger zone only training in normal Kinvaras. This won't be a problem in a few months when the Altra Instinct comes out, but right now I need something else.

How confident are you in the effectiveness of altering shoes like this in this manner? I am afraid of doing this and inadvertently causing my feet to be forced into a structure that wasn't meant to be tampered with, possibly leading to injury.

Keep in mind I run 85-105 miles per week, with a high percentage on roads, have 3 very difficult workouts per week and run twice a day almost everyday. So any small problem with the shoe will become apparent very fast.


I recently moved out of state and can't go to the same cobbler I used to, and I admit I've been procrastinating taking any shoes to anyone else because I don't know how good of a job they'll do. There is always a risk with zeroing out shoes that they won't turn out how you want, but on the other hand I've successfully zeroed a pair of shoes myself with a hacksaw, glue, and clamps (they work great although they're not pretty).

Probably the most important thing is having shoes that are appropriate for zeroing. Ideally the midsole should be solid foam with no cutout under the heel or any device in the midsole, like Nike air soles or Mizuno waves. If I remember right, Kinvaras don't have anything like that. You might ask a Saucony dealer if there's anything in the midsole just to confirm that.

I think most cobblers haven't dealt with zeroing out shoes much, if at all, but with the tools they have it's not very hard. I would go to someone that has a good reputation and that will be willing to do additional work on them if they don't turn out right the first time. They can always cut out more, and they can always add in an extra slim wedge of neoprene, so if it doesn't work perfectly the first time, it's possible to fix it. The place I got all of mine zeroed out at charged $20 a pair. Good luck!


Thank you for posting! I had my epiphany last night about trying to zero out my old running shoes out of curiosity and so I had a pair that I could run in snow, etc from time to time.

I currently run in VFF classics and have since bought a pair of Bikila's. The shoes I thought about trying to zero out are my old Asics GT-2000 series. Any tips or pointers you can offer?

I thought about just taking a blade to them but like the hacksaw idea and as far as gluing the sole I just figured I would use hot glue. If it's a wreck, I figure it'd be a fun experiment anyways.

  • kw


I have a couple pair of Asics that I've had zeroed out, including a pair of GT-1110s. They worked out ok but they have some issues. There is a chunk of EVA cut out under the heel, but they cut high enough that they don't sag in the middle. That's something to be careful of. I thought the gel would be in the way, but they just cut right through the middle of it, not really a problem. The elephant in the room here is there is just too much structure built into the sole of these shoes. The dual density sole, the plastic arch dealie, the gel, and just plain too much sole. Even after zeroing I still never use these because they aren't fun to wear - too much there. I wish I had gotten the whole sole cut off and a new thin flat sole put on. That can be done too but I haven't done it yet. Maybe an Altra person or a Runners Corner person can chip in on that.

That said, if you have an old pair to experiment on, it's kinda fun to try out home-zeroing. It's hard to keep your hacksaw going straight through the EVA foam but if you're patient it might work. About the hot glue - it won't last too long, but if you head to a shoe repair store, they'll have Barge or another flexible shoe glue that will hold well. Spread that stuff on liberally, and then clamp it together.

Here's another approach if you don't care about having a rubber sole:


I zeroed out my Zoot Ultra Speeds myself. It was super easy and they are FANTASTIC now.

Zoots have a carbon torsion plate that gets removed when you cut the heel down which helps a lot with flexibility. The sole is all EVA so I used a super sharp serrated bread knife after making markings with a sharpie on the sides as guidelines.


cool. I haven't been into road running much lately so I haven't done much with road shoes. Looks like the ultra speeds have a simpler sole than most zoots I've seen. Those would end up being wicked light! My wife has a few pair of older unzeroed zoot race shoes (ones that wouldn't really be zero-able) and will only race in them.

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