You just bought a brand-new treadmill, and you can’t wait to plug it in and power it up. But you haven’t had the time to buy yourself a new pair of tennis shoes and you don’t want to walk on your new treadmill with your dirty old tennis shoes
You should not walk on the treadmill barefoot, as this can not only cause damage to your feet but can also end up changing your walking style. The way your body moves when you have athletic shoes on is not the way you should walk on the treadmill while you are barefoot.
No matter what running style you have, you should never be in pain during or after you run on the treadmill. And watch out for blisters and skin scraps.
Can You Walk on a Treadmill Barefoot?
Walking barefoot on the treadmill is not like walking barefoot around your house. When you walk around your home, your feet will travel over many textures, including rugs, carpet, tile, and wood.
You will gradually start and stop as you walk from room to room. You do not speed walk around your house, and if you speed walk, it will not be for a whole interrupted hour.
On the treadmill, the way you move changes. Your speed is faster, and you will perform the same walking motion repeatedly. Plus, the treadmill belt will spin and spin as long as you keep the machine on.
Walking or running on your treadmill is great exercise, but walking barefoot could cause major issues if you are not careful.
Doctors and physical therapists who work in podiatry do not recommend walking barefoot on your treadmill. It is far too easy to injure yourself and there is no real additional benefit.
However, if you are dead set on bare feet, there are some things you must know.
It is possible to run or walk barefoot on the treadmill. But you will have to change your walking style. Technically, another term for walking style is proper foot strike.
In order to change your stance for barefoot walking:
- Your back must be straight – do not lean forward
- Put your shoulders back
- Step with your forefoot first – this change will be the hardest to implement. When you extend your foot forward and step down, land on your forefoot first and then your heel. This is the proper way to strike your foot down on the treadmill and on the floor when barefoot.
When you are not on the treadmill, walk around your house like this. Practice this walking style throughout the day.
One other issue is to know about is treadmill burns. The bare skin on your feet can develop burn injuries if the temperature of the treadmill’s belt rises too high. The friction caused by the belt spinning around the treadmill will heat the belt.
Can I Use the Treadmill While Barefoot If I Have Flat Feet?
No, you cannot run or walk on the treadmill if you have flat feet. Your running style can injure or strain your ankles and knees. Even if you change your running style, it is very easy for a person with flat feet to injure themselves while barefoot running.
Their feet require the extra support from their insoles and special shoes.
If you do not want to run on the treadmill with your regular walking shoes, then we suggest purchasing a new pair of running shoes and keeping them near your treadmill.
Problems With Walking Barefoot on a Treadmill
Some problems may occur whether you change your running style. If you feel any abnormal pains in your hips, knees, or ankles, stop using your treadmill immediately.
Using the treadmill or barefoot is not recommended if you have pre-existing joint issues or low cartilage.
Blisters and chafing might also be a big problem while walking barefoot. They may not be permanent injuries, but blisters on the feet can make it painful to walk.
People who run barefoot usually develop blisters on their forefoot, but heel blisters can happen too. Skidding your bare skin against the treadmill can cause burns on the bottom of your feet.
You may also be working the wrong muscles if you do not change your walking stance as much as you should when walking on the treadmill while barefoot, you can end up using the wrong muscles.
Runners find their hips hurt more when they run barefoot. Their bodies overwork their developed muscles as it tries to compensate for their weaker muscles.
Can I Wear Socks on the Treadmill?
To protect your feet from blisters and chafing, we recommend wearing thick socks to protect your feet.
You will still be susceptible to injury and strain as if you were barefoot, and you will still have to change your running and walking styles.
However, since there is now a barrier between you and the rubber mat, you will not develop blisters and you won’t be as prone to chafing.
We do not recommend using silk or cotton socks while on the treadmill because you will slip and slide.
Where Can You Run Barefoot?
As you read this article, you are probably wondering to yourself why you have to make all these changes in order to run barefoot. Human beings had been running on their bare feet for thousands of years before shoes were invented.
So why do we have to change our running style when we walk barefoot on the treadmill? Well, the human foot is not designed to run on a perfectly flat surface.
Also, you are not used to walking or running barefoot for long periods. When you walk outside, you wear shoes, and the shoes change the way you walk.
Human beings learned to make protective foot wraps when they developed the ability for tools. So, we weren’t always barefoot until someone invented the tennis shoe.
Neanderthals and early humans used foot wrappings to protect their feet from cuts, jagged rocks, and from chafing and blisters. So, you can still walk and run without your tennis shoes but consider wearing some type of wrapping or thick sock.
Conclusion to Running Barefoot on the Treadmill
It is better to wear shoes when walking barefoot on the treadmill. But if you want to walk barefoot, then wear a cover or thick sock to prevent chafing or blisters and change your foot strike position. Also, follow these steps to walk safely on a treadmill if you really want to run barefoot: