Squatting Barefoot Vs Shoes – What You Need to Know
The benefits of squatting regularly as part of your daily exercise or WOD routine are well documented. Benefits of squatting include enhanced core strength, leg strength, and more.
There’s been so much research into squatting that it’s hard to find questions that haven’t been answered. Squatting barefoot Vs shoes might not be something you’ve considered before, but you’d be surprised at how much debate there is around the topic.
This guide will break down the debate around squatting barefoot Vs with shoes, why you should square barefoot or with shoes, and more common questions.
Squatting Barefoot Vs Shoes – A Complete Guide
When answering questions about squatting barefoot vs shoes, it’s important to understand why there might be a difference. To do this, we need to understand how squatting works.
When you squat, you’re putting the pressure of your body weight onto your lower body. The muscles that take the most force of this are your thighs and quads. However, the soles of your feet also have increased pressure.
Effective foot placement is a big part of squats. When you’re starting it’s probably not a factor to consider, as you’re worried about other things such as your core and your overall posture.
But the position of your feet during a squat can affect your comfort and the effectiveness of your squat. Facing your feet outwards is recommended for a bigger squat for example. On the other hand, facing your feet forward will put more mobility into the squat.
So where does squatting Shoeless Vs squatting with shoes come in? Squatting with shoes is probably the most common way to squat. This is just for convenience more than anything.
If you’re doing squats as a warm-up, it doesn’t make sense to take off your shoes then put them back on right after. And if you’re squatting in the gym, taking your shoes off and standing barefoot on a public floor will get you some weird looks.
However, there are key benefits to squatting shoeless that people have begun to discover.
Squatting Shoeless – What You Should Know?
Squatting shoeless first became popular as the lesser of two evils. There are a lot of reasons why wearing the wrong shoes when doing foot heavy exercises can cause a lot of damage to your legs. They don’t give you the support or the grip you need.
It might sound counterproductive to take shoes off entirely when squatting, just to remove the risks of bad shoes. But no shoes are indeed better than a bad pair of shoes when doing squats.
When you’re barefoot your feet have a natural grip on the floor thanks to the patterns and grooves of the sole of your feet. This allows them to have some amount of non-slip friction on almost any surface.
Unless you’re squatting on lava, squatting shoeless can also give your body a better connection to your environment. As long as it’s not in a dangerous location, squatting barefoot can do a lot to help build your lower leg muscles and tendons.
What you should know about squatting shoeless though is that it’s not for everyone. If you’ve had a back or leg injury, then squatting with specially made supportive shoes will instead be better.
Is it Good to Squat Barefoot?
Unfortunately, there’s no clear answer to the question of is it good to squat barefoot. There are a lot of benefits to squatting barefoot, but they come with some conditions.
As mentioned, squatting barefoot won’t be ideal if you have an injury that affects your feet, back, knees, or ankles. The most common of these is arthritis.
Because arthritis is a disease that gets worse with age, squatting barefoot going into your later years will cause you a lot of damage and pain. But in general, for older people, there are better exercises than squatting which has a high risk associated with it for those who are at risk already of injury.
The most important factor though, is that squatting is all in the technique. It doesn’t matter how expensive and comfy your workout shoes are. If you’re not squatting right, then there’s no point in squatting.
The Benefits of Squatting Without Shoes
Let’s get into the benefits of squatting without shoes. We’ve mentioned a few already, but let’s go more in-depth.
One benefit of squatting without shoes is that your mind-muscle connection is improved. As silly as it might sound, if you can physically feel the exercise, you’re doing then your brain will associate the action with the muscle you’re building.
Next, barefoot squats will improve your balance. When wearing shoes, your feet of course have more weight to them.
This can throw off your center of gravity and your balance, making it more difficult to keep posture with your squats. When squatting barefoot, your weight is even and you’re less likely to lose your balance by shifting your foot slightly in the wrong direction.
A more pragmatic take on the benefits of squatting without shoes is that it’s cheaper. There’s almost no point in buying a pair of shoes specifically for squatting, and for a lot of exercises, you don’t need the most expensive sneakers.
By not wearing shoes when squatting, your sneakers will also have a longer life. They won’t be worn out from doing squats because you won’t be using them. This means you save money by needing to replace your training shoes less frequently.
Finally, barefoot squats can improve your mobility. This is especially relevant for the mobility in your ankles. Squatting barefoot can lead to greater flexibility in this area of your body, which in turn will make you less likely to injure your ankles.
Squatting Barefoot – Closing Thoughts
In conclusion, there are a lot of benefits to squatting barefoot. As long as you’ve not been subject to injury in your feet or legs before, squatting barefoot is worth trying to determine if it’s a good fit for you.
For more advice on squats including variations, tips, and WODs, keep an eye out for all of the latest updates here.