Last Updated: June 15th, 2022
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There are a lot of running shoes available on the market that has a medium heel-to-toe drop. Most running shoe companies manufacture them. If you try to find 5mm heel drop running shoes, it becomes a bit tedious.
This category is dominated by Hoka One One and you will get a variety of shoes that has a 5mm drop.
If you are short on time and don’t want to spend it reading this whole article, you can blindly go with Hoka Clifton 8.
This is one of the shoes that are at the top of the list and in my mind.
Most of the popular shoe companies like Brooks, New Balance, Nike, Mizuno, and Salomon don’t manufacture a running shoe that has a 5mm drop.
Asics and Adidas do manufacture them, but with the overwhelming number of models that they have, it is tedious to find such a shoe.
Now being said, we know that you don’t have that kind of time to go through the overwhelming choices that are there.
So, we have come up with a list of the 10 best 5mm drop running shoes that will narrow down the search for you.
We have included shoes for every type of runner like overpronation, underpronation, neutral, road, and trail runners. Hopefully, you will find your match.
10 Best 5mm Drop Running Shoes
1. Hoka Clifton 8
2. Hoka Mach 4
3. Hoka Rincon 3
4. ASICS Magic Speed
5. ASICS GlideRide 2
6. Hoka Challenger ATR 6
7. Hoka Carbon X3
8. ON Cloudflash
9. Topo Athletic ULTRAFLY 3
10. Topo Athletic ULTRAVENTURE 2
Table of Contents
Best 5mm Drop Running Shoes
Best 5mm Heel Drop Running Shoes (Detailed Review)
The first running shoe that we have in the 5mm heel drop category is Hoka Clifton 8. If you are not living under the rock, then you must have heard about Clifton.
Also, if you are a long-term runner, you may also have used one. Nonetheless, Clifton is one of the best running shoes in the market and tops our 5mm heel drop chart.
Clifton comes from the house of Hoka and is a very well-cushioned running shoe. It has excellent forefoot and rearfoot cushioning which comes from CMEVA or compression-molded EVA.
The heel stack of Hoka Clifton is 37mm and the forefoot is 32mm which is equal to 37mm-32mm=5mm heel-to-toe drop.
Although having a lowish drop, Clifton has a huge amount of cushioning which is evident from its high heel and forefoot stack.
Apart from excellent cushioning, Clifton is a good-looking and stylish shoe. With the incorporation of the extended pull tab and a contrasting color of the collar, its appeal has increased further.
The running platform is also very stable and it will do an excellent job at shock absorption in landing on forefoot or midfoot.
It comes with a beveled heel, however, that is not used in the calculation of the heel-to-toe drop of Clifton. This would have reduced the drop further.
This is not used because, to measure the height of the heel and the forefoot, you will have to place the shoe on a flat surface and measure the heel height and the forefoot height from that surface.
- Good fit and style.
- No breaking-in period is needed.
- Available in two widths, regular and wide.
- Excellent for foot issues like metatarsalgia and bunions.
- Not good for long toes.
Hoka Mach is an everyday running shoe and comes with responsive PROFLY cushioning. It is shock-absorbing and snappy and is excellent for racing.
This is a very lightweight shoe with a weight of around 7.2oz. Hoka Mach 4 also has a very close cousin called Hoka Mach Supersonic. It has very similar features to that of Hoka Mach.
The only difference that I found is the slight difference in weight and the additional pull tab ribbon that is not present in Hoka Mach.
From the cushioning level perspective, both are equivalent, and here is why…
The kind of cushioning that they use is the same PROFLY and the heel-to-toe drop and both stack heights are the same.
I’m digressing…let’s get back to Hoka Mach 4.
Hoka Mach 4 has a heel stack of 35mm and the forefoot stack of 30mm. So the heel-to-toe offset of Hoka Mach is 5mm, which is the same as Clifton as mentioned above.
However, the level of cushioning of Hoka Mach is slightly less than Hoka Clifton which is evident from the stack height and the kind of cushioning materials used in both types of shoes.
The PROFLY material is slightly stiffer and more responsive and is great for day-to-day running and races.
This kind of drop makes it an ideal choice for runners who run on forefoot or midfoot.
Stylewise Hoka Mach looks great and is very stylish. The anatomical Achilles construction provides you with excellent Achilles support and is great for preventing blisters.
- Good for everyday running, and races.
- Very responsive.
- Early-stage meta-rocker.
- Good for sesamoiditis.
- Not available in a wider fit.
Related: Hoka Mach Vs Arahi: Which Hoka Should You Choose?
Like the previous two, Hoka Rincon is also a neutral running shoe. It comes with a balanced cushioning as per Hoka.
However, when I tried it on, it feels more like plush cushioning, and you won’t be feeling the unevenness of the roads.
Being a balanced cushioned shoe, it provides you with good responsiveness. Hoka Rincon is good for running longer distances and will keep you comfortable.
Unlike Hoka Mach, Rincon has high abrasive rubber pasted on the high wear and tear areas. This ensures that Rincon has an excellent grip on the roads and will last you for a long time.
Now coming back to the drop of this shoe, Hoka Rincon like all the previous Hoka running shoes on this list, has a drop of 5mm.
Hoka Rincon has a heel stack of 33mm and a forefoot stack of 28mm, the difference of which comes as 5mm.
Although Rincon and Clifton belong to the same category of shoes with neutral pronation and balanced cushioning, the cushioning level of Clifton is slightly higher than that of Rincon.
This is very evident from the stack height difference between these two shoes, however, when you wear these shoes, you will be very comfortable.
Also, having a slightly lesser stack height makes Rincon a bit more responsive which is not there in Clifton and you will feel the slight dampening of the energy return when you wear Clifton.
So, although both the shoes have the same drop with respect to heel-to-toe, the experience that you will get out of these two shoes is very different.
- Good for a marathon.
- Prevents blisters.
- Stylish but traditional.
- The tongue feels thin.
- The fitting is a bit snug.
Related: Why Do Hokas Hurt Your Feet? (All models explained)
This is the first ASICS running shoe on our list that has a 5mm drop. As mentioned earlier, ASICS is one of the few companies that manufacture a 5mm drop shoe.
With Hoka the predominant drop is 5mm, however, with ASICS, you will get a wide range of drops starting from a low drop, followed by mid-drop and even the high drop running shoes.
However, each of these categories has excellent running shoes and will provide you with a great running experience.
ASICS Magic Speed is no different. It is a comfortable running shoe that is great for long-distance running as well.
This is one of the few shoes that are under $100 and has a carbon fiber plate in them. With a mix of FLYTEFOAM, Carbon Fiber Plate, and GUIDESOLE, this is one of the most efficient shoes around.
However, since this is on this list, it also has a drop of 5mm.
The heel stack of ASICS Magic Speed is 34mm and the forefoot stack is 29mm. The difference between the two is 5mm. In other words, the heel-to-toe offset of ASICS Magic Speed is 5mm.
This is a very efficient running shoe, however, looks-wise it is not at all traditional. It is very stylish to look at and will definitely make you stand out in a crowd.
Also, this is a very lightweight shoe that is great for longer distances where every extra gram matters.
- Pocket friendly with carbon fiber plate.
- Sizing seems to be an issue.
- Loosening of laces will be required to slip it on.
ASICS GlideRide 2 is the second and last Asics running shoe on this list. It is a max cushioned running shoe and is excellent for long-distance running.
The side profile of Asics GlideRide looks very similar to that of Asics Magic Speed, however, the technologies that it uses are completely different.
One thing of GlideRide is very similar to Hoka other than the drop is that it also uses a rocker midsole.
This makes your running feel more effortless and you can run longer with less tiredness.
The primary midsole material of this shoe is the FlyteFoam. However, to make this shoe more bouncy it comes with an additional layer of FlyteFoam Propel. This makes the shoe feel more energetic and is very responsive.
Despite being max-cushioned the drop of this shoe is 5mm. The heel stack of Asics GlideRide 2 is 40mm and the forefoot stack is 35mm.
This is the most cushioned running shoe in this 5mm heel drop running shoes list. This is a fact shoe and has a different appeal than the rest of the running shoes on this list.
Although max cushioned, it doesn’t look as bulky as a Hoka shoe. On the contrary, it looks sleek and stylish and has a strikingly different design.
It comes with a comfortable in-shoe experience with a well-padded collar. The tongue is definitely more padded than Asics Magic Speed and will keep you comfortable.
Like most running shoes, Asics GlideRide also has adopted a flat lace design. It is made from polyester and will remain tied throughout your running session.
It is one of the most comfortable shoes in the 5mm heel drop category.
- Shock absorbing.
- Great for uptempo runs.
- Maximal cushioning.
- Not good for anything else other than running.
Hoka Challenger ATR 6 is a trail running shoe that can be used on the roads as well. It is good for any kind of trail and for roads that are not too smooth.
It is well cushioned and is great at shock absorption. The cushioning level of the Hoka Challenger ATR is high. It is slightly higher than Clifton which has balanced cushioning.
The midsole of the Hoka Challenger ATR is made from CMEVA or compression-molded EVA which is the same material as Clifton.
Also, the overall cushioning height of both the forefoot and the heels is the same as the Clifton.
Hoka Challenger ATR has a heel-to-toe drop of 5mm. The forefoot stack measures 32mm whereas the heel stack measures 37mm providing an effective drop of 5mm.
This is a shoe that is true to size with arch support of medium to high arches.
The upper has dual-layer mesh that is breathable and comfortable and is built with Unifi REPREVE recycled yarn.
It has a textured TPU toe cap that increases toe protection and saves you from unlikely injuries.
Since this is a trail running shoe, it has sizable lugs on its outsole. The individual lug length is around 4mm and provides reliable traction on the trails.
Like Clifton, Hoka Challenger also comes with an early-stage meta rocker. This helps you with an easier heel-to-toe transition and an overall lesser effort in running.
- Very comfortable.
- Decent-sized lugs for stability on terrains.
- Can work on multiple surfaces.
- Gusseted tongue.
- Lateral stability is less.
This is the last Hoka running shoe on this list, I promise.
Hoka Carbon X 3 is a bit different than the rest of the Hokas that we have listed above. It is the one that has a carbon fiber plate and provides your feet with an additional pep.
To improve the peppiness of this running shoe along with using a carbon fiber plate, Hoka has combined PROFLY with CMEVA. PROFLY being more responsive adds another bit of snappiness to the cushioning.
Since this is in this list obviously the drop of this shoe is 5mm. Now, let’s check the stack height of these shoes…
The heel stack of Hoka Carbon X 3 is 37mm whereas the forefoot stack is around 32mm. This makes the overall heel drop as 5mm.
The level of cushioning of Carbon X 3 is similar to that of Clifton or Challenger ATR. However, the sole of Carbon X feels snappier than both of these shoes.
One of the reasons is, that the composition of the midsole is completely different than that of Clifton or Challenger.
Looks wise, Carbon X has the typical look of Hoka. It looks broad and big and comes with an integrated tongue.
This is great as the tongue will not move around and be uncomfortable. However, this makes one thing a bit problematic…you have to loosen the laces so that you can wear the shoes.
Also, the laces are flat and they remain tied throughout your running session. It comes with an extended pull-tab and this makes wearing this somewhat easier.
This also provides a bit of additional Achilles support and makes your running that much easier.
- Cushy and shock absorbing.
- Excellent responsiveness.
- Good for multi-sport.
- A bit snug.
ON Cloudflash looks more like a cycling shoe than a running shoe. But trust me, this is one of the best running shoes that you will ever run in.
However, ON Cloudflash is meant for shorter distances. If you run 10K or shorter distances, then it is one of the best running shoes out there. However, for longer distances, you may not be as comfortable in them.
This is refined over the years after taking feedback from the elite runners and what you have now is one of the fastest running shoes around.
It comes with two layers of Helion-powered CloudTec which means better cushioning and you will be able to feel the ground better.
Also, it has a carbon fiber-infused Speedboard that will deliver a more responsive ride.
The heel area is lower and has molded padding. This provides you with a more secure fit.
And of course, this has a drop of 5mm with a heel stack of 20mm and a forefoot stack of 15mm. This is the smallest stack height in the entire list of running shoes with 5mm drop or less.
- Good for shorter distances.
- Excellent shock absorption.
- Would have preferred a bit more tongue padding.
Topo Athletic is another brand other than Hoka that has a lot of running shoes that have 5mm drop.
Also, primarily a trail running brand, this is advantageous as there are hardly any 5mm shoes in other brands.
Although there are a lot of options to choose from, we have chosen two of them as including all the models that are available in this category is virtually impossible.
Feel free to do your research if you don’t the one that we have chosen…
The first model that we would like to show you is the Topo Athletic Ultrafly 3.
In this model, Ultrafly is introducing a new type of foam that is lighter and offers you more rebound than EVA. This foam is called Zipfoam.
Due to this foam, Ultrafly has become lighter and more responsive than the previous version…Also, technically this puts you in a position to run longer miles and enjoy more runs.
Ultrafly provides you with some stability with the use of medial posts. However, if you are a runner with severe overpronation, then this may not be the right shoe for you.
This running shoe is a bit heavier than some of the shoes on this list.
It has a rubber outsole, and is excellent with grip on the roads…yes, this is a road running shoe…
The drop of this running shoe is 5mm as expected. The heel stack is around 30mm and the forefoot stack is around 25mm. The difference between this two comes down to 5mm.
- Good for road running and longer distances.
- Moderate stability.
- Good arch support.
This is the second 5mm drop running shoe that is great for the trails. As mentioned above, Topo Athletic is a brand that specializes in trail running shoes.
Also, this is one of the brands that have a large collection of 5mm drop shoes. We could not include all of them due to the space constraint, however, you can very well do your research here.
Now let’s focus on Topo Athletic ULTRAVENTURE 2.
This is a trail running shoe with a high level of cushioning. This is highly shock absorbing and is great for technical terrains.
This is a neutral running shoe that is formed with a 3-piece of EVA foam. This provides the midsole with just enough rigidity for a more snappy ride.
It comes with a TPU heel counter that provides you with more stability. It locks in the heels and doesn’t let it move around. With this heel counter, you will not face the problem of heel slip.
If you compare this version of ULTRAVENTURE with the previous model, you will find that the number of overlays has reduced. This improves the breathability of this running shoe and makes you more comfortable.
It comes with multi-directional lugs that provide you with excellent traction on a variety of surfaces.
Also, the Vibram XS Tek Outsole is great for better durability and traction.
And obviously, this is a 5mm drop running shoe. The heel stack of this shoe measures 34mm whereas the forefoot stack measures 29mm. So the effective drop of Topo Athletic ULTRAVENTURE is 5mm.
- Great for technical trails.
- Very cushy.
- Multidirectional lugs for excellent traction.
- Not good for runners with bunions.
Is 5mm drop good?
Yes, 5mm is a good drop for a runner who lands on mid or forefoot. However, for a heel striker, a higher drop is preferable.
5mm drop stands on the borderline of low drop and medium drop with characteristics more like that of low drop shoe.
If you are a runner who runs on forefoot or midfoot, this is an ideal drop for you. Your feet have the optimal strength to handle the landing and your shoe also has to cushion in the right place.
However, if you are a heel striker, this may not be a good shoe for you.
Heel strikers are those runners who land on their heels. This causes your calf muscles to extend and stretch a lot more than that of a midfoot or forefoot striker. The same is true for your Achilles region as well.
For such a runner, it is preferable to have a higher heel drop as this will stop the overextending of your calf and Achilles area.
In such cases a drop of 8mm or higher is preferable.
What does 5mm drop mean?
The difference between the heel stack and the forefoot stack is 5mm. This is the meaning of 5mm drop.
Let’s say the heel stack or the heel height of a running shoe is 35mm and the forefoot stack or a forefoot height is 30mm, then the drop or the heel drop of the shoe is 5mm.
Again if the heel height is 20mm and the forefoot height is 15mm, the drop is 5mm.
If the heel height is 40mm and the forefoot height is 35mm, then also, the heel-to-toe offset is 5mm.
Basically, the heel-to-toe offset is independent of the stack height of the heel and forefoot and is merely a difference between the two values.
What is a normal running shoe drop?
Any drop is a normal running shoe drop and the choice will vary on the goal of the runner and the kind of the runner.
Currently, there are running shoes in the market whose drop ranges from 0-15mm, with 0-4mm being the low drop, 5-8mm being the medium drop, and 9-15mm being the high drop.
Each of the shoes is suited for a specific type of runner as mentioned previously.
Runners who have foot injuries or Achilles problem is better off with running shoes with greater than 8mm drop.
Whereas, if you want to strengthen your feet and want a more natural way of running, then go for running shoes with a 0-4mm drop.
A beginner may find a running shoe with a 5-8mm drop more suitable as they start getting accustomed to the way of running.
Related: Running Shoe Heel Drop Chart (Illustrated)
What does mm drop mean in shoes?
The meaning of mm drop in shoes is millimeter. Since the difference between the forefoot and heel stack is so small, it is expressed in millimeters.
In fact, other than the length of a running shoe, all the other values are generally expressed in mm and this is true for heel-to-toe drop as well.
Is 5mm drop running shoe a low drop running shoe?
Technically, a 5mm drop running shoe is a medium drop running shoe and not a low drop running shoe. Practically it is neither a medium drop running shoe nor a low drop running shoe as it is at the border of the two.
As mentioned above, 5mm drop actually belongs to the medium drop category. However, feel-wise, you will not feel much of a difference, between a 4mm and a 5mm drop.
Also, this drop will not feel as high as an 8mm drop. Basically from the drop category perspective, this is right in the grey zone.
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