Is Running Barefoot On Treadmill Bad?

Is running barefoot on treadmill good for your feet? There’s a lot of conflicting information about whether it is ok to run barefoot on a treadmill or not. Some people believe that running barefoot on a treadmill is good, while others argue that it is hazardous. The reality, in all honesty, lies somewhere in the middle. 

Go through the following investigated articles to find out whether running barefoot on a treadmill good or bad.

  • Running without shoes allows your feet to feel more natural than running in a shoe. This improves stability and balance, as well as reducing the risk of injury.                                                                                                                                                                                                
  • If you want to lose weight, running barefoot can assist because it makes muscles work harder. Running barefoot on a treadmill  might be beneficial to your feet because it provides natural feedback from the ground.                                                                          
  • If you have weak ankles, running in shoes may aggravate them. This is especially true if you aren’t used to wearing Vibrams Five Fingers or other minimalist footwear.                                                                                                                                                                              
  • You can lose your balance and tumble because of a slick patch on the treadmill. That is why running on a treadmill without shoes can be beneficial.                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
  • Running barefoot also improves proprioception, which is sometimes hampered by long periods of wearing thick, cushioned running shoes. The sense of where our body is in space is referred to as proprioception.                                                                                      
  • If you’re on a treadmill and your feet slip, running barefoot will provide you with greater feedback so you don’t repeat the mistake. For the same reason, you can wear shoes with less traction.                                                                                                  
  • Because barefoot runners tend to run lighter, they have better posture, which helps prevent overuse injury from overstriding.

If you wish to run barefoot on a treadmill, be aware of the surface and acquire some regular training in before to ensure that your proprioception is as sharp as possible.

Disadvantages of Running Barefoot on a Treadmill

Potential Injuries

On the treadmill, running barefoot might result in a number of painful injuries. All of these factors must be taken into account when selecting whether or not to use the treadmill without shoes.

  • Burns: The treadmill belt may become heated, causing burns on the bottoms of the feet. Friction burns can also be caused by dragging feet on the treadmill belt, which can happen by mistake or due to poor running form.
  • Stress Fractures: A stress fracture is a minor break that occurs as a result of repeated stress. Because of the high impact nature of running, runners are already at risk for stress fractures, but incorrect foot support can exacerbate the problem.
  • Tendonitis: It is inflammation or irritation of a tendon — the thick fibrous cords that attach muscle to bone. This condition causes pain and commonly happen in tendons of the feet due to improper running form or footwear. The sudden injury due to the chance of slipping when running barefoot on a treadmill is another cause of tendonitis.
  • Slipping, Cuts & Scrapes on Skin of Foot: When running on a treadmill’s moving belt, this can generate friction and cause blisters. Running barefoot on a treadmill is also likely to cause wounds, or scrapes on the bottom of the foot due to its rough surface. Despite the fact that the skin on the bottom of the feet (plantar surface) is thicker, it is nevertheless sensitive because people are used to wearing shoes. 

Hygienic Factor

There are other drawbacks as well, that inexperienced barefoot runners may not be thinking of. These include things like hygiene, which is especially important in a public gym. Running barefoot might lead to the transmission of bacterial or fungal illnesses.

Researchers Opinion on Running Barefoot on Treadmill

The researchers are divided on the question of running barefoot on a treadmill. Some argue that there is no barefoot running benefits over regular running shoes, while others argue that it has.

Because shoes were designed for specific reasons, there are conflicting views on whether they should be worn at all times – particularly if you’re doing something like jogging.

Some individuals believe that jogging barefoot on a treadmill is not recommended because of the potential injuries as well as less hygienic.

Others claim that it is beneficial to runners’ form; even if you are wearing socks, friction can cause abrasions or blisters.

According to a research published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, “barefoot runners had shorter stride length, shorter ground contact time, and longer stride frequency” than their shoe-wearing counterparts which helps to strengthen muscles.

Furthermore, according to US federal statistics, running with shoes puts you at least twice as likely to get harmed as jogging barefoot. Treadmills, among other sports equipment, are the leading source of injury in the United States.

Final Thoughts

Running barefoot on a treadmill has its benefits and drawbacks. It’s beneficial because it improves balance, coordination, posture, and foot muscle strength. However, if you have any pre-existing injuries or diseases, such as arthritis, you should avoid running without shoes because your foot impact forces will increase by around 50%. Running barefoot can put you at greater risk for pulled calf muscles, Achilles tendinitis and stress fractures in the foot. Diabetics, who are prone to less sensation in their feet, should avoid barefoot running because they may not be able to detect a foot injury.

Anyone who wants to start running barefoot on a treadmill should start cautiously and allow their bodies to adjust. Also, it’s probably best to discuss the idea with your doctor first.

In general, I find that the risks of barefoot running outweigh the benefits and recommend to wear shoes while using a treadmill instead of running barefoot.


Is It Bad To Run In Socks?

Wearing socks when running on a treadmill is not recommended since they will slide up and get stuck in your belt. So, there is a chance of an injury. Wearing the wrong kind of socks can also result in foot sores, corns, as well as various other hygiene issues.

It is preferable to use socks with shoes during running on a treadmill. 

Can You Wear Hiking Boots On A Treadmill?

Hiking boots are not suitable for treadmill running. They can be too heavy and will wear out your belt over time! You should instead run in sneakers or other light shoes.

Does Running Barefoot on a Treadmill Strengthen Feet?

It certainly does! Running barefoot strengthens the muscles in your feet and calves. It also aids in the strengthening of all other running-related muscular groups, such as the hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes.

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