As a human race, we began without shoes. Then, we developed more cushioning throughout time. Now, we seem to be trending towards minimalist/barefoot shoes again. For example, at Urban Fitness Studio, we recommend individuals to take off their shoes before entering the studio space. So why do we recommend this and what are the benefits of being barefoot?
Simply put, shoes are the material that separates us from our natural environment. We have horizontal and vertical arches under our feet that support our movement and balance. The reason we have toes is not solely (pun intended) to feel whether or not our shoes are a good fit. According to Dr. McGavin of the BBC, the toes work together with the arches to create a spring effect when walking. Additionally, the toes also work to increase our proprioception – the ability to know where we are in relation to ourselves. Try taking your shoes off, close your eyes, stand on one leg, and touch your hand to your nose. Now, try the same this with your shoes on. You may have noticed that you were less balance once there was something between you and nature.
The American Council on Exercise also endorses exercise to be done barefoot, when permitted. They mention that there are over a hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the foot and they, just like any other part of your body, need activity. Nevertheless, it may be difficult to jump into barefoot training right away! At Urban Fitness Studio, our movement specialists will help you progress your movement to allow for the safest and most natural progression to your personal best.
In conclusion, be mindful of what feels best for you. Your feet might be screaming at you not because you do not have enough support, but because they want natural movement. Also, remember that foot health can impact all of your other joints positioned superiorly.
Come into our studio where we will create an individualized plan to help you achieve your goals and progress you towards your best self.
Fable, Shannon. “What Can I Expect in Popular Group Fitness Classes Like Boot Camp, Barefoot Training and Sports Conditioning?” Boot Camp, Barefoot Training and Sports Conditioning Class | ACE Blog, American Council on Exercise, 25 July 2012, www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/2797/what-can-i-expect-in-popular-group-fitness-classes-like-boot-camp-barefoot-training-and-sports.
McGavin, Dr George. “The Incredible Human Hand and Foot.” BBC News, BBC, 18 Feb. 2014, www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26224631.