Person working out barefoot on wood floor with a red X drawn over it.Many of my patients started working out at home during the peak of Covid. Maybe you're still doing so. As a result, you may be wondering if it's OK to work out barefoot or in stocking feet.

The answer is, it depends. If you've been Zooming into a yoga or Pilates class you're fine. These forms of exercise are low impact.

But recently patients have been coming in with foot pain as a result of doing higher-impact workouts at home while barefoot. Heel pain, Achilles tendonitis, and other foot problems can result when additional pressure is added to the plantar fascia--the thick band of tissue that originates at the heel, travels across the arches, and inserts into the base of the toes.

When you go barefoot your feet don't have the support they need to withstand the higher pressure placed on them.

How to Protect Your Feet When Doing High-Impact Exercise At Home

  • Wear athletic shoes designed for that exercise.
  • Be sure you're shoes aren't showing signs of wear. If they are, buy new ones.
  • Replace your athletic shoes every 500 miles.
  • Your shoes should only bend at the toes, not in the middle, be hard to wring out like a rag, and have a firm heel counter.

To learn more about buying supportive shoes, view this video on how to test your shoes.

Dr. Rion Berg
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A podiatrist in North Seattle treating families for over 40 years.
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