One highly debated training topic is squatting with or without shoes. People have different opinions on this subject because everyone has footwear and squat form preferences. Many athletes, coaches, and lifters are seen squatting without shoes, while others incline toward squatting with footwear.
Squatting is an exercise that focuses on strengthening your lower body and core muscles. Every individual has different squat mechanics; thus, the decision of squats without shoes or squats with shoes is totally up to you. However, it would be better if you give it a try because squatting barefoot has long-term benefits for you and enhances your mobility when doing squats.
This article will discuss the benefits of squats without shoes and the reasoning behind them. Furthermore, we will give our professional opinion on squat barefoot vs. shoes.
- What is Barefoot Squatting?
- Why Do People Squat Without Shoes?
- Is It Better To Squat Without Shoes?
- Final Thoughts
What is Barefoot Squatting?
The term barefoot squatting means, as it sounds, squatting without any lifting shoes. When you do squats without shoes, it is necessary to wear socks for your hygiene, especially when the gym is not clean.
Our feet are structured in a way that naturally provides intense contact and grip with the floor, helping many people attain a better squat form.
Moreover, squatting without shoes is an excellent option if you have poor-quality training shoes, as it may cause complications.
Why Do People Squat Without Shoes?
There are different explanations for why people squat without shoes. Some may like it because barefoot squats are more natural since they are uncomfortable wearing lifting shoes. In contrast, others may feel that squats without shoes provide unrestricted mobility.
Let’s look at the list of reasons why people workout barefoot.
1. Improves balance
Balance is one of the most vital aspects of squatting. When doing squats with shoes, it is difficult to maintain a good balance since it numbs your sensors, and there is no direct connection between your feet and the ground, increasing the risk of injury.
Hence, going barefoot when squatting is helpful as it allows your toes to improve grip and adjust accordingly.
2. No Mobility Limitations
Doing squats with shoe limits your ankle mobility and the motion of your foot bones, while barefoot squatting provides you with a full range of ankle motion. As a result, you can squat to your full potential.
Furthermore, when you squat without shoes or with shoes, it’s crucial to flatten your feet on the ground. It will highlight your inherent limited ankle range and help you improve ankle dorsiflexion. Eventually, barefoot squatting will help you squat more profoundly and better.
3. Enhances Awareness and Neuromuscular Connection
When people squat without shoes, their feet touch the ground directly. It enhances their awareness and helps them sense where the feet are carrying more weight, if the squat is perfectly balanced, and if something is going wrong.
Such awareness is vital to attain the correct squat posture to strengthen your core and lower body in minimum time. It also helps you identify your mistakes and adjust accordingly. Barefoot squatting alerts your brain to adapt to necessary changes and, thus, prevents any bodily injuries as well.
4. Strengthens Feet
The feet and ankles are the essential parts of your body since they are the foundation of the body as they carry all of your body weight. Improving the strength of ankles and feet also benefits you in other workouts.
Weightlifting shoes with extra cushioning and fancy details may have less stability and have you compensate with fragile toes, ankles, and arches that often lead to sprains, shin splits, and knee pain.
5. Supports Arch
Your foot arch is critical to maintaining a healthy foot. However, when you wear shoes for more extended periods, the arch doesn’t do its job correctly and creates numerous issues for your foot health.
Therefore, barefoot squatting assists you in reaching your fitness goals while enhancing the stability and support of your arch.
6. Improves Technique and Grip
Many bodybuilders and trainers squat without shoes because barefoot squatting improves your squat techniques as you can quickly push through the heels. It minimizes the force on your knees and much faster strengthens your glutes, hamstring, and calves.
In addition, doing squats without shoes allows you to create a broader and tenser foundation while allowing you to spread out your feet quickly.
7. More Convenient
When it comes to daylong strenuous squatting and training, gym-goers like to bring only the essentials of gym gear in a small bag. Hence, if you like to squat without shoes, you will not have to pack the shoes in your bag without carrying any heavy loads on the way back.
8. Saves Money
The last reason why people prefer to squat without shoes is that it saves you money because good-quality lifting shoes are heavily overpriced.
Is It Better To Squat Without Shoes?
Now that you know why people choose to squat without shoes, let’s discuss the frequently asked question, is it better to squat without shoes?
From the above discussion, it is crystal clear that barefoot squatting has multiple benefits for both your physical health and training performance. You attain a more stable squatting posture and get aware of your mobility limitations while making progress in improving them.
If you squat without shoes or with shoes, there is nothing wrong with both ways because the final decision boils down to the lifters’ choice.
However, before you choose to go barefoot squatting, read the following reasons why you SHOULD NOT squat without shoes in the gym:
The most common reason why people squat with shoes is for hygiene purposes. Gyms are not the cleanest places, so most do not allow visitors to be barefoot.
Risk of Injury
Shoes provide your feet support and protection, so not wearing shoes when squatting can cause serious injuries.
Lower Back Pain
Barefoot squatting changes your squatting technique in one way or another. People tend to lean forward, which induces lower back pain.
If you have switched to barefoot squatting recently, it may cause you an ache in the feet. However, it is more common in individuals that lift heavy weights.
Whether you should squat without shoes or with shoes relies upon many different factors and your personal preference.
Individuals with ankle mobility issues are suggested to wear weightlifting shoes when squatting as they benefit them. Other people with no intricacies can squat without shoes as they offer enhanced grip on the floor.