Fitness Blog – Wearing bare feet in the Gym?


Picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger Deadlifting in bare feet.

This is an arguable one because clients aren’t allowed to wear bare feet in most commercial gyms. It is considered ‘unhygienic’, an interesting point because people only get smelly feet after they have enclosed them in shoes and socks all day?

I have related this story before but when I was an International Powerlifting referee I saw several of the World Champions wear dancing pumps. When I asked them as to why they told me that they would rather wear bare feet, but weren’t allowed to in competition, so this was the next best thing. They went on explain it was because they could feel the ground better and felt that with the feet flat, they were in a more advantageous position. They also said that they could grip the ground with their toes, which felt far more secure. Being able to grip the ground also keeps in developing tension throughout the body – another advantage.

I have worn bare feet in exercising for years now when I have exercised at home and have worn Vibrum Five Finger shoes if I have exercised in a gym. If you decide to exercise in bare feet be aware that it takes a little getting used to as you will be used to wearing shoes that have a lot of support. Your feet will protest a little to start, but wean yourself into it because there are many other benefits in addition to the ones already stated.

Wearing shoes all day causes numerous anatomical imbalances and these lead to various repetitive strain injuries. I am not advocating wearing bare feet in all situations because this would be prohibited in certain vocations and would also be a disadvantage in many sports. This being understood, but I do suggest that you wear bare feet every chance you get. If the temperature is too low to do this in the place you live, at least wear loose fitting, light, flat-soled shoes.

You definitely should wear bare feet as much as possible if you have any postural or lower back issues. If you have not been used to this, it is worth working at it as the intrinsic muscles of your feet and your lower legs will start working properly after a while. This will aid you in balancing and concentrating on getting your feet to work normally will have a flow on affect on the body’s structures above them including better postural alignment. The slight cramping you may get to start with will disappear with time, but will pay dividends in the long run.

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