Working Out in Bare Feet

Updated on October 13, 2010
S.C. asks from Bowling Green, OH
19 answers

My tennis shoes suck. I've been working out at home (30 Day Shred) and after my workout, my feet HURT. Like so bad I can barely walk. My shoes are old, so I'm sure that's the problem. I did the workout the other day in my bare feet and wow! what a difference! I could do the whole thing and even walk after! My husband says that I'm going to damage something by working out in my bare feet. We have carpeted floors that are actually really soft and cushy. I want to buy new shoes, but we just don't have the extra money right now (and I have no idea what to even get. This is the first time I've ever really worked out) Is it ok to do the workout in my bare feet? Or am I going to damage feet?

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone! I should have said that I very rarely wear shoes at all. I hate wearing shoes. :) I would go everywhere bare foot if I could. My feet rarely hurt from walking bare foot, but if I wear shoes they hurt like crazy for days! As soon as we have it in the budget, I'll go to a good shoe store and get a good pair of shoes!

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answers from Minneapolis on

About 10 years ago, I was walking with flip flops on, so no arch support. The next morning I got out of bed and wasn't able to walk on my feet. I was in so much pain. The only thing that gave me any relief was to walk on my tip toes. I went to the dr. that day and was told I had Plantar Faciatias, she knew right away with the pain I was in and asked if I had been wearing shoes without proper support. I'll never walk without good shoes (or workout :) ever again. The pain was horribly excruciating!

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answers from Cincinnati on

I found a nice pair of shoes at Meijer this past winter, they are Nike and they were $29. I use them for only working out. I also mostly walk around the house with no shoes but I do try to exercise with shoes. Oh and I bought a thin pair of socks for $3, I can't remember if it was Wal-mart or Meijer but I am not a think sock person, only when it is snowing and 10 degrees outside do I get the think socks out. But I also looked at walmart and did not like what they had. You can always try them and see what you think and then you will know what to budget for.

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answers from Detroit on

I got Planters Fasciitis from working out without shoes on the carpet. It struck me July in 2009 and I still have the pain. I don't suggest working out in your bare feet. Invest in a good pair of shoes meant for exercise!

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answers from Provo on

have you heard of the gorrilla feet? I don't know their real names, but they look like the feet of a gorrilla. Ruber soles and then a cloth top to hold them on. The say it's better for you to go bare foot because you step better in them or something like that. So those gorrilla feet assimulate barefeet. Anywho, I'm not sure where i'm going with gorrilla feet. I just hear it is better to go barefoot. Try googling it and i'm sure there is information out there on it.

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answers from Provo on

i don't know the answer to that but i encourage you to buy new shoes. consider it a necessity. find $45 in your budget somehow, like cut down on eating out for a month or two. supportive shoes can make a world of difference! there is no need for your feet to hurt after working out. and it affects your whole day. oh and my neighbor ran a marathon "quite comfortably" in gorilla feet kind of shoes.

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answers from Boston on

I don't think you have the footing or the support to work out in bare feet. I know shoes are expensive but the key is to go to a good, independently owned and run store. We go to a running/sports store where they actually watch you walk down the sidewalk, they look at your old shoes to see how they've worn down, etc. They have a treadmill you can walk on while they watch your feet - they look at your stride, whether you have pronation, and so on. You cannot get this if you go to a sporting goods store in the mall - the sales staff are not experienced. My son and husband are runners, but I am not. The store knows that I am looking for shoes for working out, for walking, for cross training (doing multiple tasks) and that's how they fit me.

I think you need arch support and something to keep you from slipping. It's more than just cushioning. You will get more out of your workout if you If you go to a good store, you'll get the help you need. Tell them you are on a budget - sometimes they will discount things, believe it or not. The shoes will LAST you too. I wouldn't skimp here - I'd buy clothes at the consignment shop and splurge on good shoes. You can wind up with knee and hip problems, back aches, and more.

And toss the old ones - put them in the Goodwill bin somewhere. It may not just be that they are old - they are not properly fitted to you.

If you can't find a store on your own, call the local high school track coach or the head of phys ed, and ask where the kids buy shoes. Our local store gives 10% off to the athletes, and my husband and I got the same discount that our son gets.

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answers from Erie on

personally, i think you are fine in your bare feet. marathon runners train in bare feet. I think it would help you to be more concious of how you are placing your feet and less likely to twist or sprain something.

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answers from Houston on
There are some who believe it is best to run barefoot and athletic shoes cause more damage and injuries!

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answers from Augusta on

I've never head you can damage your feet working out barefooted.
I know some fitness classes do their workouts barefooted. It's prob actually better for your feet.
Benefits of Exercising Barefoot

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answers from Boise on

You should do bare feet or shoes where u can spread your toes out and feel barefoot in them. Arch supports keep your arch weak.



answers from Indianapolis on

Actually, they are finding that it's better to be barefoot! We weren't made to have things on our feet. They even make special shoes so you have the benefits of being barefoot but they are protected from anything you might step on or kick:

Barefoot away!!



answers from Cleveland on

Hi S.,
I'm an ISSA certified personal trainer. I am also familiar with the workout you are doing (good one!!). While I myself prefer shoes aside from dropping a weight on your toes or banging them into something you probably won't do any damage to your feet. You are right though, your old shoes are broken down & ready for the trash. Keep in mind you can get some darn good shoes on the cheap. I rarely spend more than $35 and I go through a pair about every 2-3 month...I live in them!!!
D. R



answers from Boston on

It depends on the state of your ankles and knees and whether your legs are the same length. My hips hurt if I walk without shoes which is caused by one leg 1/4" shorter than the other, which in turn makes my knee and ankle on that side hurt too. So a very supportive shoe with one insole works for me. I go to either Bob's store or Olymnpia Sports and buy the shoes on sale, which are usually last year's models, for about $40. New ones are about $120 and for me the latest color and little window to see the gel is just not worth the extra money. Good for you to start working out, if you feel fine without shoes you probably are just fine. I saw a guy running yesterday (in Boston area where is was very warm at 60+ degrees) in bare feet over pavement!!! I think bare feet on soft carpet is just fine.



answers from Milwaukee on

I would wear shoes. In the long run with possible ankle sprains and broken toes will cost you more than a new pair of shoes. The only things I do w/o shoes is kickboxing and riding the stationary bike.



answers from Minneapolis on

I've been training in Karate at least two times a week for three years. We never wear shoes!

Pay attention to what your feet are telling you. Pain is an indication of a problem, and you're right that bad shoes are likely your problem. I have had occasional pain in my feet because I run and don't always replace my running shoes soon enough. As soon as you can afford to, go shoe shopping at a store that can answer any questions you have about workout shoes. A decent, not overly expensive, pair of shoes should last a long time if you only wear them for workouts.



answers from Colorado Springs on

Years ago I ended up with shin splints from working out in bare feet. But if bare feet feel better than your tennis shoes, new shoes are definitely in order.

I wear athletic shoes that don't cost an arm and a leg - they're mid-priced, quality shoes. It's still a big expenditure in my budget, but it has saved me in doctor's visits so perhaps I break even!

Is there a runners' store in your area? You might go in, explain your situation, and tell them you're looking for good shoes that won't break your bank account. They will be able to show you what works for your activity as well as for the particular way you stand and move. The advantage of a "real" store in this circumstance over an online site like Zappos (which carries good athletic shoes) is this information you need the salesperson to give you.

And don't forget to get good socks. There - I've blown your whole budget.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Personally I would get "something" even if it's not a new pair of $100 shoes. Your feet need arch support. If you've ever had PF you'll never doubt that again! Just go to Target and get something inexpensive...



answers from Scranton on

My husband is a personal trainner and tells me not to work out in bare feet because it can damage the ankles. I waould love to workout in bare feet but he says NO!



answers from Cleveland on

I work with a personal trainer 2x per week, since March of this year. We frequently change it up - by not wearing tennis shoes. Your muscles get a different work-out; and actually we find that some of the exercises are easier becuase we have a better feel. The trainer even has shoes that are like those toe-socks they made years ago. Looks funny, but i wanted to give you an example to show that working out in your bare feet is ok.

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