Is It Safe To Run Barefoot On The Treadmill?

Is It Safe To Run Barefoot On The Treadmill
When it comes to treadmill usage, there are a variety of preferences that people may have. Some may enjoy shorter, HIIT-style workouts, while others prefer long and steady runs. Some may jump on the treadmill while watching a television show, while some may be dialed in on their run with some upbeat music. However, something that is not frequently discussed is the preference of wearing shoes on the treadmill or running barefoot. Some may wonder – is it safe to run barefoot on the treadmill?

Pros Of Barefoot Treadmill Running

For some, there may be a benefit of running on the treadmill without shoes. However, most of the benefit is simply the freedom and personal preference of running barefoot. Running barefoot may also help give the calves a better workout, increase a runner’s focus and balance, and potentially reduce impact. This, of course, is dependent on an individual runner’s skill level and form. While running barefoot may be beneficial for one runner, it may be detrimental for another.

Potential Injuries Of Treadmill Barefoot Running

Running barefoot on the treadmill may cause a variety of unpleasant injuries. These are all important to consider when deciding whether or not to jump on the treadmill without shoes.


The treadmill belt may get hot and cause burning to the bottom of the feet. Additionally, the act of dragging feet on the treadmill belt, whether it be on accident or due to poor running form, may lead to friction burns.

Cuts & Scrapes On Skin Of Foot

The belt on the treadmill may cause blistering, cuts, or scrapes on the bottom of the foot due to its rough surface. Even though the skin on the bottom of the feet is a bit thicker, it is still sensitive since humans are accustomed to wearing shoes.

Stress Fractures

A stress fracture is a small fracture that is related to repeated stress. Runners are already susceptible to stress fractures because of the high impact nature of running, but having improper foot support may further cause damage.


Tendonitis is simply inflammation of a tendon, and can commonly happen in tendons of the feet. Runners may face tendonitis when having improper running form or footwear.

The Importance Of Foot Support

There are many reasons why proper foot support is so important when running, especially on the treadmill. Running, being a high impact exercise, has the potential to cause serious and long-term injury if the proper precautions are not taken to prevent them. Not having proper foot support from a good pair of tennis shoes may lead to issues that one may not even guess. For example, the Podiatry Center states that lack of proper foot support can lead to physiological and emotional concerns, fatigue, blood sugar concerns, and stomach aches or headaches. In addition, improper foot support can lead to pain in other joints in the body. Lack of foot support can lead to hip pain, shoulder pain, or even neck pain. Considering its widespread impact on the body, foot support is certainly something that should be prioritized.

Proper arch and heel support should be taken into consideration when shopping for tennis shoes. Shoes that are too loose, too tight, or do not form to your foot shape have the potential to cause injury. Because of this, it is very important to consult with a specialist to see what kind of shoe you should purchase. Additionally, a specialist may also recommend a gel insert to provide even more support. In addition to having the correct support from the shoes, it is important to consider more obvious injury preventing aspects of the shoe (like having shorter laces to avoid tripping).

Overall, treadmills are designed for a user that is wearing proper footwear. While you can technically run barefoot using a treadmill, it is safer to wear shoes while using a treadmill instead of going barefoot.

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