General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Stack height, for shoes Rss Feed  
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2011-03-11 11:43 AM

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Wylie, TX
Subject: Stack height, for shoes

It looks as though my favorite running store (runningwarehouse.com) has taken a lead from cycling on the stack height term and started measuring and publishing forefoot & heel stack height values for shoes. They define stack height as the distance from the bottom of the sole to the bottom of the insole (ie measure without an insole).

 

Interestingly, I've noticed:

  • From the 5.4oz Nike Streak XC flat (18mm) to the LunarFly (19mm) to their Cadallac Vomero (20mm), there is minimal forefoot thickness difference. I'd expect these numbers to be about the same for a flat, lightweight trainer, & cadallac from most of the major manufacturers.
  • Most road racing flats are far from flat and usually fall in the 9-10mm heel/toe drop range.
  • The forefoot of the Merrell "barefoot" shoe (12mm) is more than half of the Vomero and only 2mm lower than the Free 3.0.

Their database of shoes listed with stack is still limited, but I'd expect them to be converting their lines over time. It appears to me, they've done some of their racing flats and the Nike lineup.



2011-03-11 11:53 AM
in reply to: #3393850

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Subject: RE: Stack height, for shoes
What is the importance of stack height? Just bought some new road shoes and noticed they put some emphasis on this measure but I didn't understand why.
2011-03-11 12:14 PM
in reply to: #3393865

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Champion
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Subject: RE: Stack height, for shoes

There are two important things to glean from these numbers:

* The number by itself is a measure of "ground feel" which becomes important to those wanting more of a "minimal" shoe -- barefoot purists want to feel the ground on a microscopic level. More material means less ground feel.

* The difference between these numbers (forefoot and heel) is what is known as "heel drop". There's a move in the industry (also driven by the barefoot movement) towards less heel drop. The Merrell Barefoot line has zero heel drop, even though the thickness is... (I've heard 10mm). The New Balance Minimus line has 4mm heel drop. Altra (when they finally make it to market) will have zero heel drop, but only one of their models would be considered "minimalist".

One thing that people changing shoe models often never consider is a change in heel drop, and how that affects the calves and achilles tendon.

Also, the taller a shoe is (meaning larger stack number), the less stable it will be. That's just physics. Often the stability features built into a shoe are there to compensate for the large stack-induced instability.



Edited by briderdt 2011-03-11 12:20 PM
2011-03-11 1:35 PM
in reply to: #3393896

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Subject: RE: Stack height, for shoes
Thanks....very helpful
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General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Stack height, for shoes Rss Feed