Don’t walk barefoot on your treadmill desk, even if you love to go around your home barefoot.
Walking barefoot on a treadmill desk is not a good idea.
In fact, there’s really no logical reason to walk barefoot on a treadmill desk.
You may have read that barefoot running has some benefits. Though the verdict on this is still a bit foggy, there are studies that show running barefoot for some of your runs may be worthwhile.
A Harvard University study (Leiberman et al) endorses barefoot running outdoors.
So one might gather that jogging around without shoes means that it’s safe, even beneficial, to walk without shoes on a treadmill desk.
Modern-day hunter-gatherers, who go just about everywhere barefoot, walk on mostly natural surfaces (think soft earth).
However. the tread belt of any kind of treadmill is a very unnatural surface.
- It’s not earth.
- It’s made in a factory.
- It doesn’t give.
- It’s hard.
- This can hurt your feet over time.
In fact, if you were to try walking, even very slowly, on your treadmill desk in your bare feet, it should start getting uncomfortable within minutes.
The benefits of barefoot running or walking on earth do not carry over to a machine’s tread surface.
I have a treadmill desk. I’ve used it while my feet were in socks with “booties” over them, and even THEN, just 10 minutes of doing this for the first time became uncomfortable. The only reason I did it was because I was too lazy to put on shoes.
Walking barefoot on a tread surface can lead to repetitive stress injuries including strain of the toes; it’s happened to me while wearing the sock-bootie combo.
Wear what’s comfortable. There’s no reported health or fitness advantage to going barefoot on a treadmill desk.
There’s also no science (so far, anyways) that supports the idea that wearing comfortable and supportive walking shoes while on a treadmill will cause harm.
I suppose it’s just a matter of time before someone comes up with a treadmill desk with a cushion-like belt.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.