Is Running Barefoot on Treadmill Good?

Running Barefoot on Treadmill: Barefoot Running is trendy. But we unearthed a study that casts doubt on its usefulness in at least one area. Read here where this is the case.

For years, the trend in jogging has been towards walking barefoot. It should not only be healthier but also more efficient in training. The lower weight on the feet means that less energy is used when jogging.

Credit – Vicloopz

Running barefoot on treadmill

Running barefoot on treadmill is more beneficial than doing it with sports shoes. A study has revealedOpens in a new tab. this carried out by scientists from the universities of Virginia and Colorado.

This study reveals that the rotational force generated on the knees and hips when training on a treadmill is more aggressive when wearing sports shoes than when running barefoot or with socks, thereby reducing the risk of suffering injuries suffered by regular runners.

In Addition – Read my article “The Best Treadmill Under $2000″ by clicking here.

Is Running barefoot on treadmill efficient?

So far, Now, however, a study that was carried out in 2012 is directed about it. This states that Running barefoot should be more strenuous and efficient than walking in light shoes.

In Addition – The following article contains information about “Walking vs RunningOpens in a new tab.“; you may find it useful.

What experienced runners prefer?

What experienced runners prefer

More and more experienced runners prefer to run barefoot. Because training without shoes is not only beneficial for the foot and shin muscles but according to the latest studies, is also said to be easier on the joints than running with shoes.

Researchers at the University of Virginia recently discovered that walking barefoot is particularly easy on the hip and knee joints. On the treadmill, they measured higher loads in these areas when the experienced subjects wore running shoes than when they ran barefoot on the treadmill.

Another study could now influence the opinion on barefoot jogging again: In the article ” Metabolic Cost of Running Barefoot versus Shod: Is Lighter Better?Opens in a new tab. US researchers presented results on the energy efficiency of running.

Based on the hypothesis that weight on their feet would lead to higher energy expenditure, they put 12 experienced runners on a treadmill and had them run first barefoot, then with increasingly heavy shoes. They measured the oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide emissions during the training sessions with the different foot loads.

While runners, as expected, used more oxygen and emitted more carbon dioxide with heavier shoes than with lighter shoes, there was a surprising finding in the study: the difference in energy expenditure between running barefoot and running in light running shoes was almost non-existent.

So, although the test subjects were used to walking barefoot, the additional weight of the light shoe did not cause them any additional effort. Researchers speculate that this could be due to the shoe’s cushioning, which offsets the additional energy expenditure caused by the shoe’s weight.

However, the study was insufficient for a more detailed investigation of the cause; with 12 subjects and only one type of shoe tested, it can hardly be considered representative.

In Addition – The following article may be of interest to you: “Can You Go Barefoot on Elliptical?“.

Running or walking in light running shoes

The finding that running barefoot is more strenuous than running in light running shoes should therefore be taken with a pinch of salt. First, the study should be repeated on different surfaces, with different shoes and more test subjects, before the individual athlete should draw conclusions in his training sessions.

Individual constitution and inclination are still more important than results from studies. However, what has been proven again is that particularly light running shoes are more efficient and should definitely be used, especially in competitions. 

Running barefoot VS with light shoes

Running barefoot VS with light shoes

To carry out the research, the kinetic force acting on the lower joints of a control group made up of 68 active people was monitored in two different stages: the first, using semi-curved sports shoes with hydraulic damping; and the second, Running without shoes, with bare feet.

The results were conclusive since the rotation force increased by 36% in knee flexion and 38% in the internal rotation when the athletes trained with weightlifting shoes.

How to do workout barefoot on treadmill?

For a beginner barefoot on the treadmill, you should start with very short distances. The intensity for muscles and eyes is much higher when running barefoot than with conventional running shoes.

What are the Benefits of Running barefoot on treadmill?

Finding a moment to walk without shoes is challenging for those living in the city. However, the habit of not doing it makes us miss out on small occasions.

1. Develop balance  

When we wear shoes, the muscles in our feet don’t have to worry about maintaining balance—walking barefoot forces our feet to adapt to the ground, improving the organization of loads and stresses when walking.

2. Helps release emotions

Acupuncture or reflexology suggests that the most important nerve endings are in the soles of the feet. Starting from this part of our body, we can unlock unrecognized emotions.

3. Reduces headache

Walking barefoot on a cold surface improves blood circulationOpens in a new tab.. It is used as a therapy to reduce stress and release thoughts.

4. Increase your energy

Exposing your feet to nature renews your energy and gets you recharged.

5. Improves sleep

Walking relaxes us, releases tension, and improves our sleep. Those released emotions will serve to achieve a deeper and more restful sleep.

What are the disadvantages of barefoot on treadmill?

🡆 Running barefoot on a treadmill will quickly result in blisters.
🡆 If the treadmill deck becomes too hot, the bottom of your feet may burn.
🡆 It is not as satisfying as running barefoot on the ground.


Although the scientists agreed that sports shoes are designed to reduce the impact on the heel and to control foot pronation, they point to the need to rethink their design to adapt it to the needs of runners and thus prolong health and reduce wear of your joints.

Rose Patterson

Rose Patterson has a BS in Biology/Pre-Medical Sciences as well as an MS in Public Health with a Nutrition specialization. She is a Group Fitness Instructor and a certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist. More about me.....

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