Ideal Footwear for Tall People: Zero Drop and Barefoot Minimalist 5

Have you ever noticed just how much footwear increase your overall height? Large sizes and boots in particular commonly add nearly two inches. There are a variety of explanations why this is done. I think the most likely among these is that people generally wan’t to be taller.

Conventional footwear artificially increase tall person's height

But what if you’re already tall enough? What if an extra couple inches suddenly means you have to duck to get through a doorway? Or precious legroom in your car is stolen? Or you find yourself slouching even more when socializing? These kinds of ergonomic issues can gradually lead to injury over time. I should also add that higher heel height increases tall people’s already elevated risk of ankle sprains.

I’m 6’7″, and while I appreciate being tall, I most certainly don’t wish to be artificially taller. It is for this reason I’m grateful for the whole minimalist trend currently underway, a roots rival of our unshod evolution. Both “zero drop” and “barefoot” shoes are a part of this. Zero drop means that the heel of the foot is at the same height as the ball. Minimalist barefoot shoes take this even further by having a very small “stack height” (total material thickness under the foot). Inadvertently, these happen to be great for tall people who don’t want to be made artificially taller.

Non Zero Drop VS Zero Drop Shoes and Boots

I’ve taken a particular liking to Altra’s Lone Peak 4.0 Mid Rise boots. The stack height is under an inch (a bit more for the largest sizes) which is quite uncommon for a boot with such a substantial tread. If I had been willing to forgo the substantial tread, I might have tried a more minimalist boot such as Lem’s Shoes Boulder Boots given their stack height is closer to only half an inch. I also have Altra’s Lone Peak 4.5 trail shoe, which I also like. But the stack height, which is the same as the boot, isn’t that unusual relative to other shoes out there. Beyond stack height, I also really appreciate Altra’s wide toe boxes and light weight designs.

Zero Drop Shoes for Tall People

As far as other brands that specialize in zero drop shoes, a couple options are Xero Shoes and Topo. And a minimalist barefoot shoe brand to consider is Vivobarefoot. All of these brands carry men’s size 15. If anyone out there knows of any other brands doing large sizes of zero drop or barefoot minimalist shoes, particularly sizes larger than 15, please tell in the comments, as we all know tall people tend to have big feet!

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5 thoughts on “Ideal Footwear for Tall People: Zero Drop and Barefoot Minimalist

  • Jerry

    I love my xeroshoes! I have the prio and the thinnest sandal option and they both fit great, I’ve even gone hiking in the sandals which was nice!

  • BigPete

    Interesting this. I’m 6’10” and quite like boots with a slight heel as I find they give me more support. I even wear Beatle boots with a cuban heel. I think you will find that most footwear does not actully add 2″. Even the biggest, like Timberland and the higher Nike & Adidas. It’s the mirror of the logic about heels that indeed measure 3″…and you end up about just under 2″ taller. It’s to do with posture and stance.

    And there’s another funny aspect to this. Guys who are taller than average tend to generally imho want to be taller. Specially if they see another guy towering them. It is a weird thing this – I am not talking about guys like myself or say 6’8″. But I had one experience recently where a 6’5″ mate actually admitted to adding a bit of height in my presence one night when we were out.

  • incitatus

    Depending on the brand, I wear 14 or 15US and 47-49EUR. While hiking boots and athletic shoes represent a different animal and I haven’t had much difficulty finding a wide variety of options in my size range, I struggled for years to find more fashionable (to say nothing of “dress”) shoes larger than 13US. At present, my favorite daily shoes are Atoms and Allbirds, and a little more obscurely, a Spanish brand called Magnanni makes incredibly comfortable dress sneakers in sizes up to 49EUR and possibly even higher. I regularly get compliments on those shoes from normal sized people and would encourage other tall folks to check out Magnanni as well. The Magnanni’s with Bologna style soles start out super soft right from the box and the soles wear down faster than I might like for a shoe this price (300+ USD/pair), but they are incredibly comfortable and they have enough interior volume with the original insoles removed for me to put Superfeet Greens in for best arch support without jamming my toes into the toe box.

    At 6’4″ I’m not as sensitive to being raised up an inch or two by my shoes, but I am sensitive to the clown shoe effect and the elfin look of pointy-tipped shoes my size, which Allbirds, Atoms, and Magnanni all address with style and comfort.