Barefoot training and running has become incredibly popular not only because research studies and various experts have found that it's better for balance, endurance, and injury prevention but it also improves workout performance and posture.
I first learned about barefoot training in 2007 at an Egoscue Method P3 Workshop (P3 stands for posture, pain, performance). The instructor at our workshop recommended that people go barefoot or wear the Nike Free. I already owned a pair of Inov-8 Trail Running Shoes that are designed to "complement the natural functions of human body biomechanics" (you can feel everything and your foot can move in every direction the way it's supposed to). So the next step for me was to go barefoot.
I don't always train barefoot but I try to most of the time and my balance, mobility, and endurance has improved in a big way especially with exercises like the single leg squat, lateral movement, squat jumps, and all types of core exercises.
My clients who typically wear really rigid (brick like) motion control shoes also seem to like barefoot training better and find that they can perform exercises with much better form when the shoes come off.
I highly recommend you try going barefoot from time to time and here's some quick barefoot exercise tips to help you get started.
1. Ease into barefoot training by only taking shoes off for low impact activities. Increase barefoot training time slowly. After a few weeks you'll be able to go barefoot for your entire workout if you feel like it.
Craig Ballantyne and many other trainers workout in Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars but any shoe that lets you feel the floor and forces your feet and ankles to work hard to keep you balanced will work.
3. Try barefoot exercises on varied terrain. You might find that what doesn't work for you indoors works fine on grass or on sand. More barefoot training info and tips in the videos below.
Got tips or stories about barefoot training? Please share them below.