Are you thinking about working out in your bare feet?
There is tons of #fitspo on Instagram and other social media sites these days showcasing the latest trend in exercise and exercising barefoot is the latest. There’s also loads of videos of peeps working out without socks and shoes, some of which are safe (think yoga and Pilates) and others that might be questionable (H.I.I.T. cardio for one).
The question remains, are bare feet workouts safe?
Let’s burst the bubble right out of the gates. Bare feet workouts. Not safe, girlie.
The problem with exercising barefoot is that you can get hurt.
I’m all for following the trends i.e. barre, soul cycle or Zumba, if it gets you up off your tush and into the gym.
But working out without shoes on is just a bad idea, plan and simple.
Now I get that there are some peeps who think it enables them to “get in touch with Mother Earth” or that they weren’t created to wear shoes; that it de-evolves them or that wearing shoes doesn’t allow your foot to “strengthen correctly”.
I mean it’s one thing if we grew up running around in bare feet. And I don’t just mean during the summer, while in your backyard or at the beach.
I mean all the time. Winter, summer, fall and spring. No shoes. Bare feet. In North America.
With snow. And rain. And sleet…heck you get where I am going with this, riiiiight?
But for most of us, we’ve gone 20-30 years wearing shoes. So to suddenly think this is a good idea to run around barefoot (or wearing those finger-toes socks) in your gym (whether at home or a real gym)…no. No. Nope. Nadda.
Well for one, most gyms don’t allow it. Secondly, it’s incredibly unhygienic. Do you know how many germs there are in a gym, on the equipment, on the floor. Millions upon millions of microscopic bugs that are mean and nasty.
Thirdly, this is a clear-cut path to plantar fasciitis (a form of tendinitis). It’s extremely painful and takes a long time to heal. Been there, done that, paid the $300 for the special insoles. Which I never use anymore. #lesigh
Hmmmm, I should dig those out now that I’m thinking about it. 😉
The fourth reason working out in your bare feet is not a good plan is you could get Achilles tendinitis, bone spurs, all kinds of ailments. All because your body has not adapted to exercising barefoot.
You also need to consider the damage you could do to your knees, your back, and your hips. Proper shoes are vital, espesh if you are like me and like to exercise intensely.
It’s not just your feet you have to consider. Your entire anatomy needs the support from a proper training shoe.
Now if you grew up in South Africa and from childhood, always, always ran around barefoot (like the amazing Olympic runner, Abebe Bikila) then your body will have adapted to working out without shoes (systemic adaptation response).
But if all of a sudden you decide you like those little finger-sock-shoes and you think they look cool, chances are, you’re going to get hurt. One of the greatest fears a fitness gal has…is an injury and sitting out a few days or week. Am I right?
Countless gals who follow me on Instagram are currently injured, fighting their way back into the gym. One gal has a back injury. Another has recently had surgery. And yet a third twisted her knee.
So why take chances working out in your bare feet just to keep up with the latest trends, or because you think it’s better for your soul. Working out period is good for your soul. Having to skip workouts due to injury from wearing flashy sock-shoes is not.
Invest in a decent pair of kicks, the absolute best you can afford. Shop around. Make sure you are trying them on, and have the sales associate ensure they are the correct ones for the sport you will be doing.
Personally I have about 6 pair of runners. I have lower profile ones for glute days, medium profile ones for non-glute days and high profile ones for cardio. My foot shape requires more support in my shoes to support my hips and back in my cardio workouts than what I need for a glute workout. I mix it up and maybe you should, too.
Now, the one time you can ask yourself, “should I workout with bare feet” is during yoga and/or Pilates. Then yes, it is preferable not to wear shoes.
Usually a yoga studio floor is designed for bare feet (with your yoga mat for grip). And if you are stretching it out at home, then be sure your surface is slip-free.
I hope this sheds some light on the whole barefoot/non-barefoot question surrounding your workouts. I always tend to advise using your common sense when it comes to fads and new trends.
Pilates/yoga/stretching = yes to bare feet.
Any other type of workout = no to bare feet.
Your feet are not your hands, they are not meant to grab and hold things. Your feet are not weakened from wearing runners, in fact they can help to strengthen and protect your feet.
Finger-sock-shoes (like these) are awesome-cool-looking, but not actually a “running shoe”. Protect your feet, and the rest of your body by wearing a properly fitted shoe. Your body will thank you.
Feel free to leave your opinion in the comments below! I’d love to hear your thoughts.