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Home arrow Fitness arrow Walking arrow 7 Surprising Benefits of Walking Barefoot

7 Surprising Benefits of Walking Barefoot

Written by Isabel Mayfield
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: April 27, 2023
5 min read 1748 Views 0 Comments
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Have you ever heard about the benefits of walking barefoot and wondered if you should try it? We looked at how walking barefoot can improve your health, as well as some of the downsides. Take a look to find out more.

benefits of walking barefoot

We all know that walking regularly can have benefits, but did you know that there are benefits of walking barefoot, too? While you may only choose to walk barefoot when you are indoors, you may be surprised by how it can help you do it more often.

In this article, we’re going to go over some of the benefits of barefoot walking and when you should try it. To find out more, keep reading.

Does Walking Barefoot Have Benefits?

Yes, walking barefoot has some health benefits. Choosing to walk barefoot regularly can help with foot position and the alignment of foot muscles.

It restores our gait, or walking pattern, back to its natural state, supporting the health of the foot and ankle joints, muscles, and bones.

7 Benefits of Walking Barefoot

Walking barefoot actually has many health benefits that you may not have considered. Below, we have summarized 7 of the top benefits that you can get by choosing to walk barefoot regularly. Take a look below to find out more.

#1 Improves sleep quality

Walking barefoot sounds like an odd way to improve sleep quality, but it has to do with a process called earthing. Research suggests that physical contact, like walking barefoot, with the earth can put you into contact with electrons on the earth’s surface.

These electrons help improve sleep quality. It is theorized that as modern life has separated humans from these electrons, sleep quality, among other things, has suffered.

Sleep is imperative for good health, and getting enough can improve your physical as well as your mental health. You could consider going for a daily barefoot walk if you’re struggling with sleep.

#2 Reduces inflammation

Grounding – another way of describing barefoot walking – is known to help the body produce cytokines. These compounds are a part of the inflammatory response and may help reduce chronic inflammation in the body.

Chronic inflammation has been linked to many conditions, including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and type 2 diabetes. As well as choosing to incorporate barefoot walking into your life, other methods of reducing inflammation in the body include trying dieting methods like intermittent fasting and eating anti-inflammatory foods.

#3 Increases antioxidants

While you can get many antioxidants from eating a healthy and varied diet, you can also get antioxidants from the earth. The electrons that come from the earth when walking barefoot may be able to act as a natural antioxidant in the body.

Antioxidants are important in the body. They help reduce the damage caused by free radicals and oxidative stress. This damage has been linked to many chronic conditions and can have an impact on aging, too.

#4 Relieves joints and toes

Walking barefoot has benefits for the musculoskeletal system. By choosing to walk barefoot, you allow your feet to resume their natural position on the floor. While shoes may help to align feet and protect them from rough or wet surfaces, long-term use could cause problems for your walking pattern and the joints in your toes, feet, and ankles.

When toddlers are taught to walk, they do so barefoot to help them use the correct foot positioning for their bodies. As we age, we stop walking barefoot, which can impact our feet and wider musculoskeletal system. Choosing to incorporate barefoot walking could help correct those issues.

#5 Strengthens leg muscles

Some research suggests that walking barefoot could have health benefits for leg strength. The evidence suggests that wearing supportive footwear can reduce your foot muscles’ ability to balance properly. By walking barefoot, your foot needs to balance by itself, building the muscles in your feet and legs.

You can build up leg muscles in other ways, too, including going for daily runs and trying strengthening exercises using weights.

#6 Improves/develops kinesthetic senses

Walking barefoot stimulates the nerves in your feet and has health benefits for the kinesthetic senses. Developing the kinesthetic senses can help children and adults have more awareness of their surroundings and control over their bodies and positively impact the nervous system’s overall health.

#7 Improves walking posture

Because of the way that walking barefoot helps your foot to balance properly, it can lead to health benefits for your walking posture. As with kinesthetic benefits, barefoot walking can stimulate all nerves in your feet, helping them to communicate with the rest of the body, and improving stability, balance, and walking posture.

Better walking posture leads to stability and better foot positioning when it strikes the ground. There is a transition period to walking barefoot, and as such, you may need to correct the way you walk once you remove the shoes. This video looks at the way to make this transition.

What Are the Possible Downsides of Walking Barefoot?

Though there are many benefits of walking barefoot, there are also some drawbacks to this form of alternative and complementary medicine. Take a look below to find out more.

#1 Exposes foot to bacteria

Whether walking or exercising barefoot, you are at risk of exposing your feet to harmful bacteria. This could lead to infections and other issues, especially if you’re walking or exercising barefoot outside.

#2 Possible foot injuries

Other dangers when running or walking to the store barefoot are gravel, glass, and other things that could cause injuries to your feet. Foot injuries could lead to infections and pain.


Is walking barefoot good or bad?

Walking barefoot can be good for the human body. It increases antioxidants and reduces inflammation, but it can also be dangerous. If you choose to walk or exercise barefoot, you may cause injury to your feet.

Will walking barefoot damage your foot?

The human body needs to adjust to walking barefoot again, but after that, you should be okay. You may also need to be aware of glass and other sharp objects to ensure you don’t injure yourself.

Why is it important to walk barefoot?

Walking barefoot can be good for your body as it reconnects you with the earth. Modern life has stopped humans from connecting with the earth in a process called grounding. This process can help with the transference of electrons into the body, which may act as antioxidants, and decrease damage from oxidative stress.

A Word From Our Coach

Walking, barefoot or otherwise, is good for your health. Getting out into nature and getting your heart rate pumping can improve your physical and mental health. If you’re looking for a great way to get more exercise and improve your mood, consider going for a daily walk.

Walking barefoot, like walking with shoes, can help boost the amount of exercise you get, as well as offer other benefits. There is research to suggest that walking barefoot can reduce inflammation, increase antioxidants in the body, help improve walking posture, and develop kinesthetic abilities.

All of these benefits can improve your overall physical health as well as your psychological well-being. However, there are some drawbacks to choosing to walk barefoot. These include the risk of injury and infection, particularly when walking outside.

Though there are benefits to barefoot running and walking, we would suggest only doing it occasionally to preserve the health of your feet and avoid injury.


Barefoot walking is a controversial technique, but it does have some benefits. Remember that if you’re going to try this technique, you need to do so safely to protect the health of your feet and avoid injury.

If you want to learn more about the benefits of walking for weight loss, consider downloading the Walking.Diet app.
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Written by Isabel Mayfield
Isabel Mayfield is a certified yoga instructor with over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. She is passionate about self-improvement and loves to help people improve their sense of self-worth through education and support in meeting their fitness goals.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Isabel Mayfield
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: April 27, 2023
5 min read 1748 Views 0 Comments

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