Do You Need To Wear Shoes When Working Out At Home?

When working out in the comfort of your own home, you might assume that wearing shoes — like wearing a shirt or pants when no one is around — is optional. But while it's true that most at-home workouts can be done sans footwear, there are a few things to keep in mind.

If you're strength training, in particular if you have an at-home setup that allows you to lift heavier weights, you may want to be wearing the sneakers that you would typically wear when lifting at the gym rather than going barefoot. That's because for many exercises, like squats, they're easier to do when your heel is slightly lifted — which most sneakers will do for you (via Cnet).

On the other hand, adapting slowly to weight lifting while barefoot could be better for your foot strength over time. "If you lift barefoot, the sensory feedback you'll get from having your feet in direct contact with the floor can enhance your 'proprioception,' or your awareness of your body in space," Trevor Thieme, CSCS, told PopSugar. "That can translate into better balance, coordination, stability, and movement mechanics."

When can I skip wearing shoes?

For workouts that would typically not require shoes anyway — think Pilates, yoga, or barre — you can obviously take off your shoes without any problem. Going barefoot in a yoga class actually allows you to have better stability, and a stronger connection with the ground. Wearing socks, or wearing socks and shoes, can impede your ability to get fully into poses or to easily move between them. If your feet get cold or you just prefer socks, look for yoga-specific ones that have rubber grips on the bottom for fewer issues with sliding (via Exhale Yoga).

But some types of workouts like high intensity interval training (HIIT) are more of a personal judgment call, though where you're doing your workout makes a big difference. If you're on a softer surface, like a carpeted floor, barefoot should be fine, as long as you're comfortable. But if you're exercising in the unfinished basement or garage on cement, you may want to slip on some sneakers for the more explosive movements like jumping jacks and burpees. "I think it's important to find a sneaker that provides a moderate amount of cushion and support without feeling bulky or like you're wearing clown shoes," Lindsey Clayton, a trainer at Barry's Bootcamp, told Women's Health.