Walking barefoot on a treadmill – the benefits

Some runners now tout the benefits of walking barefoot on a treadmill - but is this safe, and is this recommended? Running on a treadmill is a great way to burn calories, boost your physical endurance, and get in a great workout, all from the comfort of your own home or gym.

can I walk on treadmill barefoot

While some might consider running or walking on a treadmill to be a monotonous activity, there are lots of ways you can diversify your workout to give yourself more of a challenge.

In this blog, we’re going to go over the benefits – and downsides – to walking barefoot on a treadmill, so you can experiment with this exercise method as you see fit. Let’s take a look!

Can I walk barefoot on a treadmill?

Yes! Some runners and treadmill users enjoy walking barefoot on a treadmill when they’re looking for a relaxing, low-key workout. While there’s no rule against walking barefoot on a treadmill, you’ll still need to take precautions to ensure that your feet and joints are protected.

However, please do note that we wouldn’t recommend walking barefoot on a communal treadmill in a public gym. Gyms are notorious when it comes to the accumulation of bacteria and dirt – a communal treadmill can actually contain up to 74 times more bacteria than a toilet tap! 

That being said, walking barefoot on a treadmill at home can be a great way to get more out of your workout. A barefoot walk is going to challenge your body by connecting your brain to the movements and strides you’re making throughout the full length of your workout; you’ll be more in-tune with your body, as you’ll need to monitor your pace to ensure you’re not putting any excess strain on your joints. In short, walking barefoot on a treadmill is an exercise in listening to your own body above all else.

What are the benefits of walking barefoot on the treadmill?

From improved physical awareness to more control over your movements, here are just some of the benefits of walking with bare feet on a treadmill:

Increased strength

Without a pair of sneakers cushioning your movements, your legs are going to be more engaged in your workout. This can lead to improved muscle tone, quicker results, and an overall enhanced fitness level after several months.

Improve blood flow

Walking barefoot on a treadmill is also beneficial in helping improve your blood flow to your muscles, making it easier and quicker for them to recover after harder workouts. While walking on the treadmill isn’t exactly a high-intensity workout, it’ll still help you on the way to achieving your fitness goals.


If you own your own treadmill or home gym, walking barefoot on a treadmill is going to be better for your machine than running wearing your usual outdoor exercise shoes. When you wear outdoor sneakers on a treadmill, you’re potentially transferring lots of dirt, grime, and mud from outside, which can end up contributing to the disintegration of your machine’s running belt over time.

As previously mentioned, walking barefoot on a public treadmill is not recommended. You don’t know how many other people might be using the machine in their bare feet, and you could make yourself susceptible to developing athlete’s foot or verrucas if you train barefoot.

What are the downsides of walking barefoot on the treadmill?

Like any exercise method, walking barefoot on a treadmill comes with its own set of risks and disadvantages. Here are just some of the downsides of a barefoot treadmill walk:

Injury risk

Walking barefoot on a treadmill can increase your risk of injury, as you may not realise just how much unnecessary pressure you’re putting on your feet and joints. If you’re overweight and looking to shed some lbs, we’d recommend walking wearing sneakers for the first few months of your training, as walking barefoot can end up straining your muscles and delaying your fitness journey.

Slip risk

Don’t forget that there’s also a fall risk associated with walking barefoot on a treadmill. This is because your feet are naturally going to sweat while working out, and the treadmill belt underneath your feet can get hot, which only adds to that ‘sweaty feet’ feeling. Having sweaty feet can increase your risk of slipping, and this means that you could end up injuring yourself if you don’t take precautions during your session.

Chafing risk

Another problem you might face when walking barefoot on a treadmill is chafing and blisters on the soles of your feet. Depending on your pace, your feet might end up chafing against the treadmills’ rubber belt, and having blisters can put your fitness regime on hold for days or even weeks at a time.

One way you can try to minimise this risk is by wearing no-slip socks while walking on a treadmill. You’ll enjoy the feeling of being shoe-less, but you’ll offer your feet more protection and grip, minimising your chances of falling, blisters, and sore feet.

Can I run barefoot on a treadmill?

While walking barefoot can be a great way to enhance your leg tone and fully engage your muscles, we wouldn’t recommend running barefoot on a treadmill. This is because running puts a lot of pressure on your joints and knees, and your sneakers are there to absorb the shock from your movements, rather than letting your feet take the hit unprotected.

Running on a treadmill in bare feet can increase your risk of injuries, such as achilles tendinitis, pulled muscles in your calves, and stress fractures. If you enjoy the feeling of working out while barefoot, it’s best to opt for low-impact workouts (such as toning) or walking.

You can even strength train barefoot if you’re lifting weights that correspond to your fitness capacities – it’s all about what works best for you.

Key takeaways

Overall, walking barefoot on a treadmill can be beneficial, but it isn’t without its disadvantages. If you’re a beginner in treadmill workouts, we’d recommend starting out by wearing sneakers, and proceed to low-impact barefoot workouts when your body is habituated to using a treadmill.


I’m Chloe – a body confidence writer here at House of Peach! I help women to feel fabulous in the body they’re in and feel amazing in gym wear – regardless of their body shape and type. Unleash Your Peach.

Top Articles

House of Peach ® is a trading name of Invictafit LTD © 2020
Office Address: 113, Kestrel House, Knightrider St, Maidstone ME15 6LU
Contact Email: support@houseofpeach.com

Website by StudioEightNine and SEO by Kent freelancer Tangible Digital