Barefoot training and minimal shoes have popped up all over the place in the last few years. What’s the deal?
One of the advantages of training on the beach is that I go barefoot all the time. Most clients see me without shoes and ask – should I go barefoot?
Barefoot or not to barefoot, that is the question?!
My usual answer is yes, especially when we are training on the beach in the sand. But I think there is merit to spending time barefoot even if you don’t happen to live near the beach.
And if it’s not feasible to go barefoot, I highly recommend wearing a more minimal shoe.
In today’s video I explain why. Click below to watch.
1) Grounding effect
Toes in the sand. Feet on the grass. Can the simple act of walking barefoot to the earth reduce inflammation, eliminate stress, and help you sleep better?
Some new research seems to think so. You can read the study here. Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons
While this study isn’t conclusive by any stretch and walking barefoot surely isn’t going to fix our health problems overnight, it’s interesting nevertheless. I know I feel better the more time I spend barefoot. Give it a shot and see how you feel.
2) Strong, mobile feet = less injuries
Muscles aren’t very smart. They’re quite dumb actually. And they certainly don’t get confused, as some people like to say. Muscles react to stimulus. And if you don’t stimulate a muscle very often, you’ll lose the ability to use it well.
If you walk around housed up in a protective shoe all day long, those little muscles in your feet will not function properly. This can create all sorts of problems up the body, especially with the knees and hips, but even as far up as the shoulder.
Spend more time outside of a protective shoe to stimulate those muscles and stay injury free.
3) Better feedback from your feet = better movement quality
When you are barefoot or wear a minimal shoe, you get more feedback from the foot. This extra information allows the body to move in a more natural way. The ankle joint is free to move around which leads to better position of the knee and hip joints – allowing the correct muscles to activate and move with better efficiency. All this leads to better performance, whether it’s lifting weights, walking, running, or playing with your kids.
USE CAUTION AND START SLOWLY. Don’t do what I did. I read the book Born to Run and got all inspired and went for a run barefoot on the beach. About a 1/2 mile into the run I strained my left calf and had to hobble back home. Perfect example of why you need to start slowly. My calf muscles weren’t ready for the extra force from running barefoot. However, if I would have opted for a walk or light jog I would have been fine.
Comment below and tell me your favorite spot to go barefoot.