Proper Footwear

What shoes should you wear for working out? In my own fitness journey, I’ve worn them all – from Nike free runs, Asics with orthotics, to Vivos. Depending on the activity, I generally recommend wearing minimalist shoes or even toe shoes. If possible, I usually train without shoes on (when it comes to strength training.) 

 

Here are some reasons why I wear minimalist shoes or go shoeless: 

 

  • The arches and muscles in your feet need to be used! If you wear chunky shoes or orthotics, you’re not actually using those muscles. These are only temporary fixes. Eventually you’ll have muscle atrophy in your feet.

  • No one has perfect arches or gaits (movement patterns), but if you can’t actually feel the floor with your feet, there’s no way you can fix your arches or walking/running patterns. These imbalances can then move up the kinetic chain. For example, if your arches collapse then you may feel pain in your shins and calves, and it eventually may move up to the knees or hips. 

  • Certain shoes are too narrow in the toe box, squeezing your feet too tightly. Your toes need room to be splayed out. The purpose of your big toe is to push onto the ground, and your toes are meant to displace force when you are walking or running. By having minimalist shoes, you have more space in the toe box.

  • Being able to push off with your big toe and displacing force with your toes, helps prevent bunions and can help relieve pain associated with bunions. Over time, it may even cure the bunions you have. Bunions form when you are not pushing off with your big toe. Your body adapts by creating a bunion that acts as a big toe. This, however, ends up causing pain and dysfunctional movement patterns. 

  • By actually feeling the ground with your feet, this can help with balance. You’re using your arches, muscles, and toes to help you stabilize. You will also be and feel more grounded. 

  • Wearing minimalist shoes or going barefoot takes time to get used to. If you are new to this, I suggest starting slow and spending as much time as you comfortably can. Once there’s discomfort, give your feet a break. 

 

Give minimalist shoes a try! Or on your next lifting session, try it without shoes! It may feel awkward at first, but eventually you’ll understand why so many people exercise without shoes. You’ll be able to feel the ground beneath you and truly stabilize! 

I hope you found this post helpful and informational! I want to give a big shout out to my colleague and good friend Steven Duran who helped with this post! As a massage therapist, he physically works on people and is a big advocate for going barefoot. 

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