Is barefoot running beneficial or not?
It’s a common question among all beginners. Some experts suggest that running barefoot is advantageous, but several others state that it’s harmful.
Well, we will discover the truth here.
Minimalistic or barefoot running is becoming an attraction nowadays. Fitness enthusiasts are trying to connect with nature.
You can also go for it, especially if you want to feel the freedom. Your feet are made for walking or running without any protection.
Humans are following this pattern for thousands of years without any trouble.
Barefoot running is widely preferred in Africa. Do you know the first marathon runner?
Pheidippides. He ran barefoot.
What’s more? There is a society of barefoot runners in the USA, which comprises more than 1 500 members.
If you are not in a mood to walk or run barefoot, then there is minimalistic footwear available that prevents any injuries due to moving tread belt.
Benefits of Running Barefoot on Treadmill
As we discussed, barefoot running techniques are becoming very popular among individuals who want to achieve higher fitness levels.
You might not believe it, but the practice is seeing an endless list of new users.
And it’s the primary reason why there are multiple sites built to support this action.
- You achieve better balance while running barefoot. Do you know why? Because your feet muscles remain completely awaken to work according to your new movements.
- Your calf muscles get a top-class workout. Apart from that, your Achilles tendon gets some stretching and exercise because there are no shoes to help with heel impacts or strikes.
- As barefoot running stretches your lower tendons, it makes minor impacts on your joints. In other words, running barefoot is beneficial for your knees and other lower body joints.
- Your balance will improve. While running without any footwear, the small muscles in your legs are activated, which results in better coordination and balance.
- It gives a feeling that you are connected to the environment. After running barefoot for some time, you will learn how to spread our toes and foot. So, your position becomes solid and supportive for all your movements.
Disadvantages of Running Barefoot on a Treadmill
You cannot run barefoot on any surface because stones, glasses and similar debris might injure your legs.
So, you might need to look down frequently to make sure there are no such items ahead in the running track.
Plus, you cannot run on ice. Otherwise, your body will start freezing within few minutes. Running barefoot on a treadmill is different.
Still, you will face some negative impacts of this practice initially.
We are used to walking or running while wearing shoes.
It’s the reason why the skin underneath our feet is comparatively soft.
So, you might need to deal with some blisters that will slowly turn into calluses. Therefore, it’s recommended that you practice walking without any footwears and then start running.
Barefoot running techniques is a shock for your feet in the initial days.
Hence, your leg muscles will feel exhausted, especially the Achilles tendon. Such actions might lead to strain in the calf or Achilles tendon.
Why Would You Run Barefoot on Treadmill?
Let’s watch what Robert Weeks (A Martial artist & Personal trainer) says about running barefoot.
Tips For Running Barefoot On a Treadmill
As we discussed, there are no benefits of running barefoot when you are outdoors.
But, a treadmill is safe for such an activity.
However, it would help if you make some changes to your running style.
Keep in mind that running barefoot should not cause any discomfort. Consult a doctor if you experience pain.
Modify your running motion. Land on your forefoot when you are running barefoot.
Running up and down on a tread belt might cause friction and blisters.
Take short steps and try to keep the foot strikes under your centre of gravity. Give your toes enough space by running behind your usual position.
Keep your feet away from the moving sides and ends of the tread belt.
You should avoid barefoot running if you have diabetes or you feel a minor sensation in your feet. Otherwise, you might not be able to detect an injury.
Are there any risks while running barefoot on a treadmill?
Running barefoot on a treadmill has several risks because of its moving belt. Running without any protection leads to soreness in the legs. Apart from that, barefoot treadmill blisters are also possible if you are not careful enough.
How to prevent treadmill injuries when running barefoot?
When you are running without wearing a pair of shoes, make sure you take short strides and land gently on your feet. Start slow and do not engage incline in the initial days. Plus, it would help if you stay away from the sides and ends of the moving tread belt. If you experience pain and discomfort while running, stop immediately and consult a doctor.
Can I walk barefoot on a treadmill?
Yes, you can walk on a treadmill without wearing a pair of shoes. But, your walking style should be slow and steady. Keep your feet away from the moving edges. Take breaks between the walking session because the tread belt tends to heat up after spinning continuously for a while.
Can I run on a treadmill with socks?
Yes, you can run on a treadmill with socks, but with the same attention and care as if you are barefoot. You have to be extra careful because the socks might reduce your grips. Plus, there are chances that the socks can get caught in the tread belt. So, you can run on a treadmill with your socks on, but you have to cautious.
Do you have to wear shoes on a treadmill?
See, it’s not necessary to wear shoes on a treadmill. But, footwear protects your legs from abrasions and blisters. Walking or running on a treadmill is different from running outdoors because instead of you going forward over the track, the tread belt rotates. So, wearing a cushioned sports shoes will keep you away from discomfort and pain.
Running barefoot might prepare your legs for the outdoor tracks.
But, it does not train you to deal with the sensation as the tread belt is flat.
So, you may not feel any benefits that you can enjoy while running outside.
Instead, you could get friction burns and similar injuries because the track is moving automatically.
The injuries while running barefoot is common, but it has not stopped fitness enthusiasts to shed their shoes before stepping on a treadmill.
So, you can run barefoot on a treadmill. But, it’s better to try minimalistic footwear instead.