Gyms banning barefoot running

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A fitness fad is moving from the trails to the treadmills and gym owners aren’t happy about it.

Barefoot running has caught on over the last couple of years with enthusiasts ditching shoes for a more natural workout.

Now, fitness chains are banning bare feet from their equipment.

The Wall Street Journal says they’re blaming it on health concerns as well as complaints from other gym members who are grossed out by sweaty feet on the tracks and treadmills.


  • feetofstrength

    Bare feet pose no more of a risk than bare hands. As for people being grossed out by sweaty feet, maybe they wouldn't be so grossed out if they gave their own feet some air and light from time to time. There's nothing more disgusting that an inside of a shoe when it comes to bacteria and stench.

    "Blaming" is the right word here, because there is no rational basis for banning bare feet in gyms — not unless gyms are going to start requiring gloves and steel-toed boots, because bare hands carry more germs than bare feet and your average running shoe is not going to offer much protection if a weight falls on it. Maybe the gyms should consider educating their foot-phobic patrons rather than preventing people from exercising their feet along with the rest of their bodies.

  • tbeer

    Ignorance is the issue. If they don't want me, that's fine. I'll take my money elseware. I do not provide footware suggetions, nor am I interested in receiving them.

  • rhondaleebaby69

    Bare feet carry all sorts of bacteria and fungi. I can't believe we have to tell people to not walk around barefoot in public.

  • D. Grant

    It's tough to believe that gyms would be foolish enough to drive away customers by insisting on the use of footwear. Bare feet are no more unhygienic than soles of sneakers. To queasy customers, I say "Suck it up and get used to it". Barefoot running and other forms of exercise are here to stay.

  • Jim

    Barefoot Gymnastics, Karate, yoga and swimming but no walking or running ? Then wah are all the others I just mentioned OK?

  • The DK

    For people worried about "health codes" How many people here are licking the treadmill with their tongue while they walk? Props to the person that mentioned gymnastics, karate, yoga & swimming. Sad, but I know people who refuse to do these exercises because they are fearful of bare feet. I'd recommend checking out to learn more about the lack of "health claims" people have about others' feet.

  • Amanduh

    It's pretty disgusting to have people's sweat dripping. How can be ban exposed armpits and hair. We need hairnets for when people drip sweat on the floor. Also, we need gloves since more germs come from hands than anything else.

  • Sylvia

    I would be so grossed out if someone tried to run on the treadmill barefoot. Shoes are expected anytime in public (i wish gloves were too) anyway if someone wants to run barefoot they should do it at home on their personal treadmill.

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