Running barefoot: is it healthy?

Barfuß laufen: Ist das gesund?

Everyone has walked barefoot and knows the feeling. Whether in the apartment or in the garden in warm weather. But without shoes out of the house. Nobody does, right? Is that even healthy? Is it good for you or your children to walk barefoot on public roads?

We also asked ourselves this question and dealt with this topic. In the following article we have summarized and answered the most important questions about barefoot walking.

the essentials in brief

  • Shoes? You use them every day, even though it's normal and healthy to go barefoot from time to time. Walking barefoot strengthens your muscles and immune system.
  • It can also be used to prevent joint pain. Your foot automatically adapts to the different surfaces when walking barefoot.
  • There is also something natural about walking barefoot. In the foot you have up to 1,700 nerve endings. Walking barefoot increases your feeling and perception while walking.

Running barefoot: What you should know

In the following, we want to answer the most important questions about walking barefoot. To give you a more detailed and deeper insight into the topic.

What does walking barefoot do?

Taking off your shoes is healthy. Just walk around barefoot. Walking barefoot is healthy for strengthening your muscles, your immune system and is said to help counteract athlete's foot and nail fungus .

In addition, it ensures a more conscious locomotion and uprightness. All of these properties could only be achieved by regularly walking barefoot. (3)

Why should walking barefoot be healthy?

Feet often long for freedom. Shoes and socks can also be detrimental to feet. In shoes that are too tight or wrong, your feet don't always have the "freedom" they need, which is why walking barefoot is considered healthy and many people think it's healthy.

Going barefoot could also boost your immune system. This is the greatest positive quality and thus shows that it can only be healthy. If you want to start walking barefoot, there are a few things you should keep in mind. In the further course of the article you will find the appropriate question and answer.

What are the exact advantages and disadvantages of walking barefoot?

Whether you decide against or for barefoot running is of course up to you. There are advantages and disadvantages in all subject areas. In the following we have created an overview of the advantages and disadvantages to give you a clear impression.

  • Plantarflexed position at the floor market
  • More precise perception
  • Strengthening of the muscles
  • Conscious movement
  • Counteracting nail and athlete's foot
  • Upright posture
  • Increased mileage
  • Increased risk of injury
  • Walking barefoot does not reduce injuries (eg in the joints) than with shoes
  • higher energy consumption
  • Strain on the tendons and muscles (initially)
  • (3)

    Should children go barefoot?

    Just like adults, walking barefoot should also be healthy for children. When walking barefoot, your feet use their muscles to compensate for small bumps, which is why this strengthens and trains the foot muscles and contributes to the correct toe position. (4)

    Children aged 6-10 should regularly walk barefoot, as this helps to develop physical ability.

    Walking barefoot also helps with motor skills. Children aged 6-10 in particular should regularly engage in physical activity without shoes as this can be beneficial in developing their jumping and balance skills. (5)

    Child touches his toe

    The most positive feature for children: When walking barefoot, their feet use their muscles to compensate for small bumps, which is why this strengthens and trains the foot muscles and contributes to the correct toe position. (Image source: unsplash/Gabby Orcutt)

    Walking barefoot can also help brain development. Because there are many nerves in the foot, walking barefoot can help develop a healthy nervous system. (6)

    When & how should you go barefoot?

    Stop wearing shoes from one day to the next? No, you shouldn't completely switch to barefoot running that quickly. At first, you should only walk barefoot for a few hours, and initially on ground that is not too hard or grainy. If you subject your feet to high levels of exertion too quickly without shoes, you could risk overuse injuries. That's why you should gradually start walking barefoot. (8th)

    In addition, you should always pay close attention to the ground at the beginning, as injuries can occur again and again on public ground due to sharp stones, broken glass or even nails. When walking barefoot, you should also pay attention to your stature. This means always make sure that your chest and head are upright when you run. Always relax yourself or your feet if you feel that it is too painful or your feet need relief . (4)

    Can the immune system be strengthened by walking barefoot?

    Walking barefoot should not only strengthen the muscles in your feet, but also help your immune system to benefit from it. Walking without shoes on different surfaces (damp ground, puddles, cold ground) is intended to prevent infections and stimulate the immune system. However, it is very important to dry or warm your feet immediately after walking on cold or damp ground. It is precisely this process / change that is beneficial for your health. (7)


    Last but not least, we can say that everyone knows walking barefoot and it does no harm. On the contrary, they strengthen your muscles and in some cases your immune system.

    Especially people who want to protect their joints and burst their feet and give them air to breathe should think about whether walking barefoot would be something for you. As mentioned in the article, it should be noted that you start slowly and gradually increase.


    1. Thompson M, Seegmiller J, McGowan CP. Impact Accelerations of Barefoot and Shod Running. Int J Sports Med. 2016 May;37(5):364-8. doi: 10.1055/s-0035-1569344. Epub 2016 Feb 2. PMID: 26837933. Source
    2. Murphy K, Curry EJ, Matzkin EG. Barefoot running: does it prevent injuries? Sports Med. 2013 Nov;43(11):1131-8. doi: 10.1007/s40279-013-0093-2. PMID: 23990440. Source
    3. Walking barefoot is so healthy, Germany initiative for healthy eating and more exercise, access April 4th, 2021 Source
    4. Why walking barefoot is good for you, July 1st, 2020 Source
    5. Zech A, Venter R, de Villiers JE, Sehner S, Wegscheider K, Hollander K. Motor Skills of Children and Adolescents Are Influenced by Growing up Barefoot or Shod. front pediatrician 2018 Apr 25;6:115. doi: 10.3389/fped.2018.00115. PMID: 29922637; PMCID: PMC5996942. Source
    6. Why is walking barefoot so healthy for your child?, Benita Wintermantel, May 16, 2018 Source
    7. That's why walking barefoot is so healthy, 07/22/2020 Source
    8. Dieter BP, Schoenfeld BJ, Aragon AA. The data do not seem to support a benefit to BCAA supplementation during periods of caloric restriction. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2016 May 11;13:21. doi: 10.1186/s12970-016-0128-9. PMID: 27175106; PMCID: PMC4865017. Source
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