Should I workout with my shoes on or off?Tom Welbourne
As you gear up for your next workout session, you might wonder whether you should wear shoes or go barefoot. While some fitness enthusiasts prefer exercising with shoes on, others believe going barefoot is better. In this blog, we’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of both options so that you can make an informed decision.
The Pros of Wearing Shoes During Workouts
Provides Support and Stability
Wearing shoes during workouts can provide support and stability to your feet and ankles, especially if you’re engaging in activities that involve jumping, running, or lifting weights. Shoes with proper arch support and cushioning can help distribute your body weight evenly, reduce joint pressure, and prevent injuries. Get yourself an Adidas 35 percent off voucher to buy yourself the best workout shoes out there.
Protects Your Feet from Injuries
Wearing shoes during workouts can also protect your feet from injuries caused by stepping on sharp objects, slipping, or twisting your ankles. Shoes with sturdy soles and good traction can offer grip on various surfaces, such as gym floors, concrete pavements, or grass fields. Additionally, shoes with reinforced toes and heels can shield your feet from impacts and abrasions.
Offers Traction and Grip
Wearing rubber or synthetic shoes can offer traction and grip during workouts, especially if you’re doing exercises involving lateral movements, such as lunges or side shuffles. Shoes with textured outsoles can prevent slipping and sliding and help you maintain balance and control.
The Cons Of Wearing Shoes During Workouts
Can Restrict Natural Movement
Wearing shoes during workouts can limit the natural movement of your feet and toes, affecting your balance, flexibility, and agility. Shoes with tight or narrow toe boxes can compress your toes and reduce their range of motion, leading to discomfort and stiffness. Shoes with high heels or thick soles can alter your posture and gait, putting more stress on your knees, hips, and lower back.
May Contribute To Foot Problems
Wearing shoes during workouts for prolonged periods can contribute to foot problems, such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, or hammer toes. Shoes with inadequate arch support or cushioning can cause inflammation and strain on the plantar fascia, the tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. Shoes with tight or pointy toe boxes can cause joint pressure and lead to deformities or calluses.
The Pros Of Working Out Barefoot
Improves Balance And Flexibility
Working out barefoot can improve your balance and flexibility by allowing your feet to move freely and adapt to different surfaces and positions. Going barefoot can activate the small muscles in your feet and ankles, improving their strength, coordination, and proprioception. Additionally, working out barefoot can increase your range of motion and joint mobility, enhancing your performance and reducing your risk of injury.
Strengthens The Feet And Ankles
Working out barefoot can also strengthen your feet and ankles by engaging the intrinsic muscles that are often neglected when wearing shoes. The increased demand for these muscles can improve their strength and flexibility, enhancing your athletic performance and reducing the risk of foot and ankle injuries.
Enhances Sensory Feedback
Working out barefoot can enhance your sensory feedback, which refers to the information your body receives from your environment through your nerves and senses. When you remove your shoes, your feet can sense the texture, temperature, and pressure of the ground, providing you with more information about your movements and posture. This feedback can help you adjust your technique and form, leading to better results and fewer injuries.
The Cons Of Working Out Barefoot
Increases Risk Of Injury
Working out barefoot can also increase the risk of injury, especially if you’re not used to it or if you’re exercising on hard or uneven surfaces. Going barefoot can expose your feet to sharp objects, bacteria, and fungi, which can cause cuts, infections, or allergies. Additionally, working out without proper support and cushioning can strain your feet, ankles, and knees, leading to overuse injuries and chronic pain.
Exposes Feet To Germs And Bacteria
Working out barefoot can expose your feet to germs and bacteria, which can cause infections, such as athlete’s foot or toenail fungus. Gyms, locker rooms, and public areas are often breeding grounds for these organisms, and going barefoot can increase your risk of contamination. To prevent infections, it’s essential to keep your feet clean and dry, wear flip-flops or sandals in communal areas, and avoid sharing shoes or socks with others.
Tips For Choosing The Right Shoes For Workouts
If you decide to wear shoes during workouts, here are some tips for choosing the right pair:
- Look for shoes with proper arch support and cushioning that fit your foot shape and size.
- Choose shoes with sturdy soles and good traction that can grip various surfaces and prevent slips and falls.
- Select shoes with breathable materials that can wick away moisture and control odours.
- Avoid shoes with high heels or thick soles that can alter your posture and gait and cause discomfort or pain.
- Replace your shoes regularly, depending on your activity level and wear and tear.
Whether you choose to work out with shoes on or off depends on your personal preferences, fitness goals, and health conditions. Both options have pros and cons, and it’s crucial to consider them carefully before deciding. If you decide to wear shoes, choose ones that fit well, provide support and stability, and suit your workout style. If you opt to go barefoot, start slowly, on a soft and even surface and pay attention to your form and safety. Listen to your body and enjoy your workouts!