If you’ve been working out at home more often lately, there’s one question that may have crossed your mind at some point: Do you need to wear shoes while working out indoors? After all, the trainers in YouTube workout videos do.

So do I need to wear shoes indoors?
As Dr. Ashley Lee of Northern Illinois Foot and Ankle Specialists, tells FabFitFun, it is “absolutely” necessary.

“Since COVID-19, I have seen an increase in exercise-related foot and ankle pain and injuries,” Lee says. “Not only are people increasing their outdoor activity (while the weather lasts), people are also doing their once in-person exercise classes online. For those taking their workouts indoors, one common factor I’m seeing is not wearing shoes during their workouts.”

What are the risks of working out barefoot?
It may not seem like a huge deal to work out barefoot, especially if you’ve been doing it already. But as a board-certified family doctor, Dr. Elizabeth Lee Micelle, tells FabFitFun, there are risks to be aware of. For instance, there’s a chance of slipping on smooth surfaces such as wood or carpet, both of which are not designed for exercise.

“A simple exercise like lunging or squat-thrusts could send you into an overextended split by mistake,” Micelle says. “The movements of flexion, extension, inversion, eversion, jumps, and pivots of your foot and ankle could also be compromised if you don’t have a shoe to support the quick changes in direction. In addition, any activity that puts too much pressure on your heel or arch may send too much pressure through the foot since there is no shock absorbency, which you would typically find in your athletic shoes.”

According to Lee, working out shoeless indoors just once can lead to plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, metatarsalgia (inflammation in the ball of your foot), and even foot and ankle sprains. So it’s definitely a good idea to put some shoes on.

Are there any workouts that don’t require shoes?
Of course, you don’t need to wear shoes for exercises that don’t typically require them like low impact yoga, pilates, floor abdominal workouts, and martial arts. But shoes should be worn for all other workouts from cardio to strength training.

With so much going on already, the last thing you want to do is add a foot injury to the list. It may be tough to get into a habit of putting shoes on before your workout, but try your best to do so.  You’ll be grateful that you did.

As always, consult your doctor with any questions or concerns.

xx, The FabFitFun Team