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.
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.
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.
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!