Wearing shoes all day every day lets our feet slack off—and over time, they become weak. Kicking them off altogether might be just what you need to recharge your workout.
While you might not ever think of hitting the weight room without lacing up your shoes, going shoeless has a number of benefits for balance, mobility, and coordination. It provides feedback to your nervous system, helps activate your glutes and core and thus improves stability. It also results in improvements for the ankles, knees, hips, and back because of the strengthening of deep muscles that stabilize the foot.
Training in shoes limits your ability to strengthen leg and foot muscles and is counterproductive for those who wish to improve stability and balance. It contributes to foot and ankle dysfunction and inhibits hip and lower torso mechanics.
The theory of barefoot workout is that the closer contact your feet have with the ground, the more connected the rest of your body will feel. This is especially true for the core, which is more activated when you’re walking around without shoes.
When working out barefoot, you have much more core stability. The higher the core stability, the more weight you can lift when training. Almost any balancing act will get a boost when doing it barefoot due to closer contact with the ground that provides stability.
Your feet are covered with proprioceptors—sensors that provide feedback about body position and alignment. Improving this propioception or the feeling that the foot gets while working out is very important and yields better results.
Ditching the sneakers will not only strengthen your feet, but it’ll ultimately help you run faster, jump higher, and lift more weight, too. With wearing shoes, your toes are crammed and can’t splay right. This can mess up your ankles and knees during many exercises, hindering your form and increasing your risk of injury.
After regularly training barefoot, your ability to perform many movements with shoes will improve. The reason for this is that your tendons, ligaments, joints, and surrounding tissues are no longer responsible for absorbing massive amounts of force. This will lead to maximum output for all physical activities since your body now trusts your feet and ankles more.