If you’ve been interested in zero drop shoes for a while but are put off by the Altra prices, WHITIN zero drop may be for you. Their zero drop wide version comes in at ⅓ of Altra’s cost and has many features you’d typically see in the higher priced brands.
It’s got “some” cushioning, but not too much. And has plenty of room in the toe box for toe splay.
But a word of warning. You have to make compromises. There are reasons why these shoes are so cheap, and you have to be ok with overlooking these downfalls to make WHITIN’s work.
Also, do not get confused with the models. There are many Amazon listings for the WHITIN shoes, and they all sound the same, so here’s the men’s version I’m reviewing. I’m super sorry, but I couldn’t find the women’s version!
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Weight Mens US9: 8.8oz/ 250g
Stack Height: ~15mm + 3mm insole
Sizing: True to size
Cheap • Wide toe box • Light cushioning
Weird sole flare • Outsole Durability
Zero Drop Wide
I’ll take you through the shoe’s fit, feel, and durability in this review. And help you work out if the WHITIN Zero Drop shoes are for you or where to look next if they’re not.
The name of the model doesn’t lie! The toe box is wide! And I like it.
I’d almost say they’d copied the fit from the Altra Torin 7. Wide toe box with a fitted midfoot. But whatever they’ve done, they know our market well.
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For narrow and average-width feet, stick true to your size. Sizing is tricky with WHITIN. Numbers are quoted in US sizes but built on EU sizing. That means you’ll see options like “US8, US8.5, US9.5, US10”, and you’ll notice no US9. That’s all because of the confusing EU-to-US-sizing conversion. Most of us can forget about that and stick true to size. And if you have a wider-than-average midfoot, you could go a half size up.
The heel has a little structure, but it’s soft enough not to cause rubbing. Personally, I don’t like to see plastic structures in the heel. It stiffens the area, which can sometimes cause rubbing and affects how the shoe locks down your foot. But this plastic isn’t too stiff, so I don’t expect any of you to have issues with it.
The toe box is plenty wide enough, and I love it! Super toe splayers rejoice! Your toes will have plenty of room. And WHITIN even managed this without causing any sloppy feeling in the toe box. There’s also a bit more room above the toes when compared to most Altra’s, but for some, they could still be a bit snug. For me, it was fine because the upper material was soft and pliable.
This is where the WHITIN’s start to fail.
Don’t get me wrong; they feel “ok.” BUT…..
A certain amount of R&D is lacking in the midsole/outsole design that could make the performance 10x better. And I can only assume this is a consequence of budget shoes.
The sole flares to the outside of the forefoot. Whether this will be a problem for you depends on your running gait. As a forefoot runner, this feels unnatural to me. The sole extends out significantly, meaning the first point of contact is earlier than is natural during the foot strike, which causes my foot to roll in early. Because of this, the shoe is a complete no-go for me.
The sole could still work for you if you’re a heel or midfoot striker. The heel doesn’t seem to have a massive flare like the forefoot, so the movement should feel natural to those runners. A midfoot strike may work, but it all depends on how far forward you land on the shoe. This is a fundamental flaw of the shoe design that is likely a reflection of the price.
The midsole is soft and will pack down quickly. I believe the midsole is a simple EVA like we’re used to seeing in Altra’s. It’s a material I prefer because you know what to expect. It will pack down in the early miles, but the shoe will go on for some time once that occurs. Just don’t expect much “bounce.”
A semi-flexible 15mm midsole means it’s not barefoot but similar to Altra offerings. I’d like to see more flex, but with a midsole cushion this high, it’s impossible. Others mention that the shoes soften over time, so stick with them if you think they’re stiff at first.
WHITIN zero drop
To answer the durability question, I had to do some research.
The build quality seemed as good as the big brands, and the features like a reinforced forefoot area make them seem like they’ll go the distance.
But the outsole is questionable, and the midsole will for sure flatten out pretty quickly.
The outsole is thin and will wear out quickly. In fact, the outsole will be the weakest part of the shoe. I’ve read comments mentioning they wore through the rubber in less than 150 miles and some within 2 months. Again, I feel this is expected for the price point. But that doesn’t make me feel any better.
Don’t expect that “new” shoe feeling for long. The softer EVA compound that I believe is used in this shoe will permanently compress in no time. That’s fine if you don’t expect your shoes to feel new and bouncy for the whole lifetime of the shoe.
The upper, while thin, is reinforced in all the right areas. I’m impressed with the upper design. With overlays in the heel and forefoot, I don’t imagine many people wearing a hole in the material.
I could nitpick at the rest of the materials used, but considering the outsole will wear so quickly, you’ll never get to the point of wearing out the rest of the shoe.
While there is a fundamental flaw in the geometry of the sole of the shoe, it could still work for some heel or midfoot strikers.
If you’re price-conscious or just looking to try zero drop, the WHITIN zero drop wide shoe could be a good stepping stone.
It’s as if Altra made a cheap lower-stack alternative to the Torin 7.
Now, I believe the Torin is 2x as durable, but it still makes the WHITIN cheaper. But not by much.
I prefer buying from a brand that’s in this market to build a solid, reliable brand —not just to sell cheap alternatives. The goals of the companies are different, which leads to vastly different end products.
But in the end, money matters, and if that’s your concern, WHITIN could help you dip your tow into the zero drop scene.
WHITIN zero drop