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Should You Workout Barefoot?

Over the past few years, many of us have become accustomed to working out in our homes. Although Covid may be responsible for this trend, the fitness industry played along by flooding us with fantastic home workouts that are both effective and fun. Being in the comfort of your own house allows you to worry less about that perfect gym outfit and perhaps wonder if you really need those gym shoes too.

This topic has been a popular discussion amongst our team and our clients in our clinic and gym. We decided to pick the brain of our foot expert, Stacey Eck, to share her thoughts on the topic. Here’s what she said:

The Pros and Cons about Working Out Barefoot


  • Feet positioned naturally (without shoes) can allow the rest of the body to align better. The heel-to-toe drop in a shoe can alter your posture from the ground up. For example, a higher tennis shoe heel can cause your pelvis to tilt forward, creating an inward curve of your lower back and a compensatory elevated chest.

  • Being barefoot improves feedback to your body from the ground up. Our feet are loaded with sensory receptors that give our body and brain a sense of position and balance.

  • When our feet are allowed to spread out naturally, we can better utilize the muscles, which helps to build stronger feet.


  • If your body is used to wearing shoes to workout, going barefoot for your entire workout too quickly can lead to overuse injuries

  • If you are not used to being barefoot, your balance may be compromised and can lead to poor form with weight training, especially if you are moving too quickly.

A Good Place to Start

If you are interested in tossing your shoes to the side, here are two ways to introduce your bare feet to your workouts:

  • Upper body weight lifting

  • A basic lower body weight lifting program that progresses to more dynamic moves as your balance improves and you feel more comfortable being barefoot.

When should you definitely wear shoes?

Although being barefoot has several benefits, there is definitely a time and place for footwear. Here is a list of activities that wearing shoes that are highly recommended:

  • Cardio

  • HIIT training

  • Any jumping activities

  • Repetitive dynamic lower body activities (especially if you are new to them.)

Professional Considerations or Expert Tips

Dr. Stacey Eck offers a few more suggestions when considering the shift from shoes to bare feet. She recommends the following:

  • Move slower with your workout and focus on connecting your mind to your movements. This will help to ensure good form and engage the proper muscles.

  • If you are not used to going barefoot at all, start by going barefoot more around your house, even 5-10 minutes a day, and work up from there. And make sure it is without socks as well!


Close to Manitowoc, WI and looking for even more expert information about your feet? Click HERE to register for our "Foot Freedom" workshop on November 9th! Dr. Stacey Eck will discuss the underlying root cause of common foot syndromes and teach you what it takes to not only relieve your symptoms but restore your natural feet!


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