This is the the barefoot blog. My entire training centers around barefoot training, firstly, because I’m into it and, secondly, the majority of the classes we have at Set and Flow are barefoot classes. First, I will hit you with my own subjective experience, then if you are super excited for science I’ll lay that out as well. My favorite analogy to illustrate the difference between working out barefoot as opposed to wearing shoes would be the difference between wearing gloves working out and not wearing gloves. Imaging putting on a pair of winter gloves and then going to go to pull-ups, push-ups, or swing kettle bells, etc. You would probably notice that you can’t feel what you are doing as much, can’t use your phalanges as well and overall just lack a connection to what you are doing. If that is true for the hands, wouldn’t that same concept extend to the feet? Harvard Professor Daniel Lieberman’s research has shown that barefoot runners, who tend to land on their fore-front, generate less shock impact than runners in sports shoes who land heel first. Bio mechanically speaking, when the heel strikes first it generates more impact because your body comes to a dead stop, like someone hitting you in the heel repeatedly. Barefoot runners who trained with a forefoot strike and landed more toward the front of the foot converted the energy into rotational energy.
Sounds like super nerdy shit, right? Although, kidding, because if you are reading this you are probably all about it. My own experience when I train barefoot throughout cardio, bodyweight drills, yoga etc. I feel like I have a more kinesthetic connection of how my body moves through space. I’m able to manipulate my legs and as a result, my upper body, easier because I’m aware of how much pressure I need to use in order to move. I know exactly or close to exactly how much force and tension I need to balance and increase speed. With shoes that could never happen, not for what I’m looking for when I train, which at this point in my career is more awareness of body and mind. It goes to say yogis and dancers know the benefit and increased proproception you have when practicing barefoot, but that can extend beyond the yoga class.
Lastly, you want to make sure you have a training space that supports barefoot movement culture. Here’s to shamelessly plugging Set and Flow Yoga. When we created this studio we did exactly that; we used rubberized Mondo flooring that is antimicrobial and antibacterial, as well as, because it has a little spring which is perfect for barefoot training. Furthermore, because all of our classes use yoga mats, it trains the student to maintain an athletic platform if you will. The classes we offer in the barefoot genre are the Barefoot Bootcamp class, Hot Pilates, TRX, Kettlebells, Battleropes, all the yoga classes and all of our special event classes. If you want to experience the benefits of barefoot training, please leave a comment below. Peace!