Can You Exercise Barefoot?

Over the past decade, a lot of people have decided to go barefoot permanently. For some, that might seem a bit extreme; even though letting yourself go barefoot can actually be really good for your feet, trying to walk into public places (like gyms) without shoes can be a little tricky. But when you're at home and decide to do a workout, should you wear shoes or should you go barefoot?

It really depends on the type of exercise you plan on doing and where you plan to do it. If you live in a big city, for example, it's not safe to go walking or running through the streets without some kind of protection for your feet, but if you live in the country or by the beach, going barefoot on a jog is a lot easier and safer.

An important question to ask yourself when you're trying to decide whether going barefoot would be safe is, are there going to be weights or other heavy objects involved? No matter how graceful you are, all it takes is one time to drop a lightweight dumbbell on your exposed toes for you to wish you'd chosen shoes instead. Even WITH shoes, you might break a toe, but you might break two or three without shoes. If weights are involved in your workout, going barefoot probably isn't worth the risk.

A few exercises that are probably best done barefoot include yoga, pilates, and tai chi. These workouts are low impact and put you at a low risk for injury. Not only will you be able to improve your balance and flexibility, but you'll also help the bones, joints, and muscles in your feet grow stronger.

Keep in mind that even in "safe" environments, going barefoot always poses a slight risk. You could step on something sharp or gross, stub a toe, scrape the skin of your foot, or even be bitten by bugs and snakes (yikes!). Use discretion when trying to decide to wear shoes or go barefoot while you exercise, but even when you're not exercising, try to give your feet some time to breathe. There really are a lot of benefits of going barefoot, even if you're just walking around your house.