Is training Barefoot Good? 10 Great Benefits exercising Shoeless!

Oh, how I love training barefoot! And that is because I mainly work out at home so I don’t need to put on some shoes, it takes too much effort… But that is not entirely true: I find myself really preferring exercising barefoot because it feels so good and somehow it brings me a sense of freedom. That is how I’ve come to wonder whether it was actually OK to go barefoot. Are there any real advantages of working out shoeless after all?

To my big surprise, after doing some research on this subject, I’ve discovered how SUPER beneficial barefoot training is! Read on…

Why Should You Train Barefoot?


Our feet are amazing! They are the base of support for our entire body. They have over 100 ligaments and tendons, more than 30 joints, 26 bones, and 29 different muscles working all together to provide support, balance, and mobility. That is why it is important for your feet to be strong to do their job effectively.

Barefoot workouts activate and strengthen all the stabilizing muscles in your feet as well as your calf, glutes, and core muscles.

Furthermore, shoes can place abnormal strain on the neck, spine, and knees which over time can trigger knee or back pain.

Read here the related article “why do muscles shake during a workout? Is it a good thing?”.

Here are 10 SUPER Benefits of Training Barefoot

  • Stronger feet and ankles

Our feet fight to keep us upright. Wearing shoes makes the feet and ankles lazy because they provide a lot of support and stability whereas going barefoot forces the muscles of the foot to work harder.

  • Better training performance

It is evident that stronger feet enhance your overall workout performance. Add to this that doing without shoes not only activates the muscles in your feet but also your calves, glutes, and core.

Plus, the big toe plays an important role in right forward propulsion and shock absorption. That is why it needs to be stable and properly aligned with both the joints and soft tissue that surround it. This demands good joint mobility.

  • Keeps the toes aligned

Being barefoot lets the feet expand freely and more naturally, thus causing the toes to align correctly.

Some studies show how “growing up barefoot influences the development of foot and arch morphology in children and adolescents”

Individuals that have been barefoot almost all their lives (habitually barefoot) seem to have wider feet, as well as fewer foot and toe deformities.

  • Joint flexibility

By forcing the muscles and joints to work harder, skipping your sneakers keeps your joints mobile.

Read here the related article “how to get more flexible: best 6 tips!”

  • Increased proprioception

The bottom of the feet has thousands of nerve endings with highly sensitive receptors called proprioceptors. Barefoot movement not only helps you feel the ground but also sends feedback to your brain about your body position and alignment. Exercising with heavy sneakers blocks floor-foot-brain sensory stimulation which helps us connect to our surroundings. In other words, those signals are essential to having a better understanding of how our body moves in space.

  • Improved balance

Feeling our feet on the floor develops our natural movements and thus helps us find a proper balance.

  • Enhanced stability

The more information about your environment your brain receives from your feet, the more stable and balanced you get.

  • Correct body alignment

Barefooted activities allow for greater control over our feet’s position as they hit the ground. The stability in the ligaments is improved. As a consequence, our knees, hips, and core nicely align.

Read here the related article “16 good posture health benefits that are so important!”.

  • Lowers the risk of physical injuries

Our shoes can be too tight, or too big and it’s never the perfect fit. Any little wrong weight distribution can badly affect your knee joints and spine. Staying barefoot forces the body to align well. The feet gain agility and stability which lowers the risk of injuries such as hip problems, knee, and back pain.

  • Increases our wellbeing

Why do I feel so good when I walk around barefoot? Earthing is this exchange of energy between the earth and our body. Our bare feet connecting to the earth’s surface electrons allow the release of all the stress and fatigue we can accumulate. In return, the earth’s beneficial energy is charged through our feet, increasing our well-being.

Some research shows that earthing or grounding “may be a simple, natural, and yet profoundly effective environmental strategy against chronic stress, ANS dysfunction, inflammation, pain, poor sleep, disturbed HRV, hypercoagulable blood, and many common health disorders, including cardiovascular disease.”

WOW! That’s awesome news!!

What Are The Risks Of Training Barefoot?


Training barefoot doesn’t come without any risks, so it is important to mention them.

  • Twisting your ankle or falling because of imbalance (mainly when you just start out).
  • Stepping on sharp objects.
  • Dropping a dumbbell or other weight gear on your feet.
  • Stepping on something filthy (especially if you exercise outside).

Apart from those obvious drawbacks, you can train barefoot for almost any type of exercise. You just need to make sure that there are no sharp objects on the floor, be super careful and focused when lifting some weight, and be more mindful of your landing when you jump.

Of course, you probably will want to keep your shoes on if you are going for a run on the street or at the gym. You can then warm up barefoot to bring the earth-foot-brain connection and opt for some minimalist shoes.

How To Start Working Out Barefoot?

Like any transition, it is essential to start one step at a time. Don’t skip your sneakers and exercise barefoot right away. Your feet need some time to adapt to the change. Here are some recommendations.

  • Walk around your home, yard, and beach barefoot and feel the different grounds.
  • Do your warm-ups barefoot, rolling your feet with a tennis ball for about 10 minutes.
  • Do some yoga, pilates, or barre workouts that don’t require lifting heavy objects or harsh jumping.
  • Avoid working out on the uneven ground. It increases your chances of getting injured.

Wear some grip socks if, at first, you don’t like the feeling of being barefoot.

Consult with your doctor prior to starting any barefoot exercises when you suffer from diabetes, arthritis or any foot conditions.

Read the related article “12 top barre workout benefits: a good sweat guaranteed!”

Final Thought

When you look at human evolutionary history, standing barefoot is the most natural thing to do. Our bodies, over time, have adapted to wearing shoes. However, it has affected the way we walk, leading to physical problems and foot malformations.

It does make sense that the barefoot lifestyle is best for us. More and more sportspeople, informed of its benefits, are now practicing without shoes.

What about you? Will you now consider training sans sneakers?

Leave your questions and comments below!!

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  1. Remote Vagabond says:

    I love to train barefoot! I have had some foot problems lately where they feel quite tight. I try to do some exercises with a tennis ball daily. The one you described as a warm-up.  I think training barefoot is the best. I do use a gym mat, to make the ground a little bit softer when you’re jumping around. Great article, I think more people should be aware of the benefits of training barefoot. 

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Thank you! Glad you’ve enjoyed reading my article. Yes, I think in your situation, exercising shoeless is the best indeed.

  2. Parameter says:

    I have always trained and exercised my body with sneakers. Never tried it barefoot, but now I will start trying it out. Thank you for highlighting its pro and cons. I never knew it can help me improve my body balance and also correct my overall structure alignment. I must say a very big thank you for bringing this up! 

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Glad you liked my article! Yes, give it a try!

  3. pasindu dimanka says:

    Thank you very much for this valuable detailed post about the benefits of exercising shoeless. In fact, I often exercise without shoes. It is really convenient for me. But I didn’t know it would be so beneficial. Also, thank you very much for the video you have attached. Keep posting like this. I definitely share this.

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Thank you for sharing my article and so glad you’ve enjoyed it so much! Me neither I was not aware of how good working out barefoot is! You may be interested in reading about the health benefits of barre fitness for men here Why is barre fitness so good for men?

  4. Fras says:

    I often try to do my home workouts barefoot, as I like the feeling of openness on my feet. I have seen videos of people going on walks or running without shoes, but I can’t see myself doing that because it hurts my feet too much. After practicing for some time, does the pain go away or do you just get used to it?

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      I think you will get used to it! When I was a kid, my cousins in southern Italy used to run bare feet on rocky country roads!! I couldn’t but they could because they got used to it, especially their feet. Thank you for your comment! You may be interested in reading Why is barre fitness so good for men?

  5. Anusuya says:

    It is a wonderful piece of content, that the world can benefit from.

    The research and common sense of a barefoot walk that allows the exchange of energy with the earth is compelling. 

    If you live in city, you can harm yourself with sharp objects like nails or broken glass.

    I lived decades of my life in a village where I enjoyed barefoot walking and running. In cities, you can never be assured of a safe area in a park just to walk barefoot. On my own lawn, there are weed sprays and it makes me think twice to be barefooted.

    I agree completely with your post and with the benefits of going barefoot. 

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Yes, I understand the problem with walking barefoot in cities or in a garden full of weed spray! I am glad you like my article and thank you for your comment. You may be interested in reading Balneotherapy cures: why do the French love them so much?

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