I prefer to use well cushioned trail-running shoes for everyday hiking. They used to have drop between 5-10mm. Could you please help me how much mm drop should I need for a long (over 15mi / 25km) hike to minimize the fatigue and pain?
Recommending an amount of drop is kind of like recommending the best color for something; there's a lot of personal preference and usage to consider. Fortunately, there are lots of shoes of all drops that are very cushioned.
Actually, if you're going to be increasing your mileage, you may want to make sure your current shoes' padding is holding up. An old rule of thumb is that if your lower back is getting very tight or hurting, get new shoes.
However, I can recommend that if you change the level of drop in your shoes, to transition to it slowly. Transitioning to zero-drop shoes worked well for me because I had already been going barefoot or wearing shoes that had a very slight drop for a year or more. In fact, when I drag out an old pair of shoes with significant drop, I feel it in my lower back and knees.
Going barefoot at home is a low-risk way to start moving toward zero-drop. I started spending more time barefoot because I noticed that my sciatica disappeared when I wasn't wearing shoes. I nabbed a pair of 'barefoot' shoes on sale to try outside and in public and it just worked for me. I'd like to believe the shoe industry is making more flat shoes just for me, but I think I'll have to live with the terrible realization that I just fit the trend.
Actual hiking is the only real way to transition, though, to whatever shoe type. I don't have a lot of rocks and roots in the house.
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