Bare feet for strength training?

Hi all, first time poster here.

Is it better to do the strength workouts in bare feet, ie not in shoes that may provide some pronation support?

I’m 47 and have realized that in the past 20 years or so, I have started to pronate so I am looking for any opportunity possible to help correct this.

Thanks in advance,


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@mweatherill Personally I prefer shoes but I think you could do the workouts either way.

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Pronation is a natural movement of the foot that occurs during foot landing while running or walking, “pronation” doesn’t need corrected.

Its better to be barefoot as much as possible that’s how our bodies evolved. Training barefoot will mean your feet and all the muscles that control them will get a workout as well. But as with any new type of training take it easy and build up the volume and intensity graudally if you are not used to going barefoot.

Personally it makes me wince watching the instructors in the strength and mobility videos doing their workouts in stiff soled shoe. There’s a reason Yogis practise barefoot isn’t there @abicarver ?


I do the strength sessions barefoot. Usually do a yoga session right before or after - all on the same mat.


you can also get shoes with a wide toe-bed (so that they can spread) and with a flat bendy sole. this way you can strengthen your feet while not havign to go barefoot in the gym.

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I do them barefoot…
It makes the balance exercises a bit harder and single leg squats require concentration so that my high foot arches don’t collapse.

Not sure if it is better or not, I am usually barefoot at home, so just don’t want to go out on shoes just for the workout :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


Inov-8 had some gym shoes just like what you describe !!

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I do strength training barefoot.
I could not image clipping in with bare feet. :slight_smile:


if you work in bare feet, your body will strengthen around that and your ankles/feet will be better for it. This won’t necessarily change the geometry of your feet, etc. but it might stop some bad ‘behaviours’. Working barefoot along with thinking about the position of the foot/ankle will usually adjust how your body positions itself by default (proprioception is the term, if I spelt it correctly, that is how your body knows where each bit of it is, which is how you can touch your nose without looking).

During a conversation with my physical therapist, we were discussing strength training specifically for lower body. She asked me if I was doing them barefoot and I said yes. She then advised me to start wearing shoes. I don’t remember the exact reason why other than she had a patient who had done a lot of damage to her feet by not wearing shoes during this kind of workout. I’ve learned to trust her advice personally but do not know the science on this.

Yes, I agree. There are many benefits to practicing yoga and strength training barefoot—for strength, balance, proprioception and posture. It’s a shame more gyms don’t allow it for safety reasons.

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my understandign is there’s a bunch of evidence that being barefoot is good for the strength and mobility of your feet, but there’s of course going to be caveats. like, if you go running with barefoot-style shoes and try to run just as far/long as you do with cushioned sneakers (before your feet have strengthened), you’re probably going to have a bad time. Similarly there may be some folks who can overdo it and break something down. Similar to the question, is running bad for your knees? Answer is of course not, unless for some reason it is. Sounds paradoxical but makes sense when you think about it.