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Daniel Mesa

Using An Elliptical Without Shoes: Full Guide

Are you someone who enjoys a good elliptical workout but can’t stand the feeling of being confined in shoes? Or perhaps you just prefer the freedom and flexibility of being barefoot while working out. If so, you may be wondering if it’s safe to use the elliptical machine barefoot.

barefoot elliptical

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of using the elliptical barefoot and provide tips on how to do it safely. Whether you’re a seasoned elliptical user or new to the machine, this article will help you make an informed decision about whether or not to go barefoot on the elliptical.

Can You Go Barefoot On Elliptical?

Yes, it is possible to go barefoot on the elliptical. Some people find it more comfortable and natural to workout barefoot, and there are a few pros to consider when it comes to exercising barefoot on the elliptical:

Improved balance and proprioception

By removing the barrier of running shoes, you can better feel the ground and your body’s position, improving your balance and proprioception (the body’s ability to sense its own movement and work in space).

elliptical training

Enhanced foot and lower leg muscles

Going barefoot on the elliptical can help strengthen the muscles in your feet and lower legs, as they have to work harder to stabilize your body and maintain proper form. In many ways, wearing shoes may be covering up weaknesses you have developed in your feet and akles.

Natural foot movement

When you wear running shoes, your foot is restricted by the shoe’s structure. Going barefoot allows your foot to move more naturally, which can benefit people with foot issues or those recovering from foot injuries.

Odor prevention

When you wear shoes for prolonged periods of exercise, the shoes can begin to harbor bacteria and sweat, which can lead to foot odor. Going barefoot on the elliptical can help prevent this by allowing your feet to breathe and sweat naturally.

Considerations To Take In Mind Before Going Barefoot

Before you dive fully into barefoot fitness, there are some key factors you should be aware of so you can do it properly

Hygiene Concerns

One of the main concerns with going barefoot in a public gym is the risk of exposure to germs and bacteria. Even if you’re diligent about washing your feet, the floors of a public gym may not be as clean as you’d like, and walking barefoot could expose you to a range of bacteria and fungi that can lead to foot infections.

Even if you have the luxury of having an elliptical trainer in your home, you are not out of the clear yet. You are still subject to potential infections through bacteria brought in from pets to other family members. The risk is much smaller since you can properly clean it yourself, but it is still a factor to consider.

Potentially Against Gym Rules

Many commercial gyms have rules about going barefoot in the facility, either for hygiene reasons or to protect their equipment. It’s important to check the gym’s policies before using the elliptical barefoot to avoid any potential issues.

Chance Of Injury

The benefit of workout shoes is that they have lots of traction on the bottom making it harder to slip. If you are doing barefoot workouts, the lack of traction and the presence of sweat can lead to potential slips and falls off the machine.

Therefore, if you exercise barefoot, you must pay close attention to your movements.

foot pain

Foot Pain

Another factor to consider is that without the cushion provided by workout shoes, you could fall victim to foot pain.

For starters, the surface of elliptical machines where your feet make contact is often very rough or bumpy. This can quickly lead to blisters or discomfort.

Suppose you are heavier or perhaps are not used to extended periods of exercise. In that case, you may also begin to experience heel pain or from the amount of weight being supported by your foot with no cushion.

Benefits Of Using An Elliptical: Barefoot Or Not

Whether you decide exercising barefoot on an elliptical trainer is the best choice for you, using an elliptical is one of the best cardiovascular workouts out there:

Cardiovascular workout

The elliptical machine is a great way to get your heart rate up and improve your cardiovascular fitness. It’s low-impact, so it’s easier on your joints than activities like running or jumping.

Full-body workout

Many elliptical machines have moving handles or poles that allow you to work your upper body as well as your lower body. This can help you get a full-body workout in a shorter amount of time.

Variety of intensity levels

Most elliptical machines have adjustable resistance levels, so you can tailor your workout to your fitness level and goals. You can also change the incline or ramp to vary the intensity of your workout.


Ellipticals are efficient machines that allow you to get a good workout in a relatively short amount of time. You can also multitask while using the elliptical, such as by reading or watching TV, to make the most of your time.

Weight loss

As with any cardiovascular exercise, using the elliptical can help you burn calories and potentially lose weight. It’s important to combine regular elliptical workouts with a balanced diet to see the best results.

Low impact

As mentioned earlier, the elliptical is a low-impact activity that puts minimal stress on your joints. This can be especially beneficial for people with joint issues or injuries.


Many people find ellipticals convenient to use because they’re easy to learn and don’t require any special equipment or coordination. You can use an elliptical machine at a gym or at home, making it a convenient option for workouts.

Final Thoughts

While going barefoot on an elliptical can offer some benefits, such as improved balance and proprioception and enhanced foot and lower leg muscles, it’s important to weigh the potential risks as well. Using the elliptical barefoot can increase the risk of injury and expose you to germs and bacteria, especially if you’re using a public machine.

It’s also worth noting that many commercial gyms have rules against going barefoot in the facility, so it’s important to check with the gym’s policies before using the elliptical barefoot. If you’re interested in going barefoot on the elliptical, it may be worth considering using a home machine or working out in a barefoot-friendly environment.

Ultimately, whether or not you choose to go barefoot on the elliptical will depend on your own preferences and risk tolerance.


Is it OK to do elliptical without shoes?

It is possible to use an elliptical machine without shoes, but it’s important to consider the potential risks and benefits before doing so.

Going barefoot on the elliptical can improve balance and proprioception and enhance foot and lower leg muscles, but it can also increase the risk of injury and expose you to germs and bacteria, especially if you’re using a public machine. It’s also worth noting that many commercial gyms have rules against going barefoot in the facility.

Does elliptical put pressure on foot?

The elliptical machine can put some pressure on the feet, especially if you’re using the machine for high-impact workouts or at a high resistance level. Wearing shoes can help protect your feet and reduce the risk of injury. If you do decide to use the elliptical barefoot, it’s important to maintain good form and listen to your body to avoid overuse injuries.

Should you lift your heels on the elliptical?

As for lifting your heels on the elliptical, it’s generally recommended to keep your feet flat on the pedals to maintain proper form and avoid injury.

However, some elliptical machines have incline or ramp settings that allow you to adjust the angle of the pedals, which can change the muscle groups being targeted. In these cases, it’s important to follow the instructions provided by the machine and use caution to avoid overexertion or injury.