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Should You Ditch Your Sneakers and Try Barefoot Training?

Updated: May 22

barre class where everyone is barefoot

If you've ever taken one of my fitness classes or trained with me, you may have noticed that I don't wear traditional sneakers. Instead, I've been rocking Vibram FiveFingers since their launch in 2005. These minimalist shoes were designed by Robert Fliri with the goal of "moving around in nature better."

Think of it this way: strong feet are the foundation for a strong body. So why not give them some love?

Dip Your Toes into Barefoot Training

Don't worry, you don't have to ditch your shoes completely. Dr. Splichal suggests easing into it with barefoot walks, simple stretches, or even standing on a golf ball (or her high-tech Naboso Neuroball).

Minimalist shoes like Vibram Five Fingers have brought attention to the importance of foot health, but they are still different from being completely barefoot. Dr. Splichal does not recommend barefoot running as a foot-strengthening exercise but does suggest incorporating barefoot training and other foot-strengthening techniques for both beginner and advanced runners.

When it comes to weightlifting, it's important to consider how much weight you're lifting. According to Dr. Splichal, going barefoot should be fine if you're lifting a percentage of your body weight, but when you're lifting significantly more than you weigh, you may put too much strain on your feet. She suggests starting with warmup sets barefoot and switching to shoes for heavier sets.

It's also important to consider your body weight when it comes to any jumping activities. Impact forces on the feet can range from 1-1.5 times body weight while walking, 3-4 times body weight while running, and 10 times body weight or more for more ballistic activities like jumping or high-velocity landings.

Ultimately, it's up to each individual to determine what works best for them and their body. While some may prefer the comfort and support of shoes, others may find that the stability and efficiency of bare feet are the way to go. If you want to try barefoot training, start slowly and see how it feels.

To learn more, check out this interview with Dr. Splichal where she discusses all that you need to know to get started with barefoot training. She also has a great YouTube channel and Instagram (@thefunctionalfootdoc) where you can learn even more about foot health and foot strengthening exercises.

I also recommend Naboso products like the Neuroball and Training Mat. Use my code LAMB for a sweet discount.

So, are you ready to unleash your feet's full potential?

bare feet standing on a Naboso training mat




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