Climbing is a sport that involves the muscles of the feet, from the toe to the heel. A growing number of climbers are attempting barefoot climbing, even though the majority still engage in this sport while wearing shoes. This calls into question the advantages of barefoot climbing and the dangers to your foot health.
What is barefoot climbing?
Sports without shoes are a relatively new phenomenon in Western nations. It is interesting to note that this is a benefit for some activities. This is especially true for climbing because a foot’s skin naturally sticks to a wall quite well. Additionally, the toes can extend further and do their “grip” work on the rock or wall, somewhat like a hand, enabling you to grasp some holds more securely. Barefoot climbing appears to increase performance and bring more satisfaction thanks to better control, more intense sensations, and improved mobility. However, how about foot health?
The effects of barefoot climbing on the feet
Climbing walls without shoes has both advantages and disadvantages for the health of the feet. On the plus side, enjoying this sport barefoot stimulates blood flow while also increasing ankle mobility and the number of nerve endings in the foot’s arch. Due to the fact that every bit of skin comes into contact with the surface at some point, you are also able to use many more muscles than when you are wearing shoes. Climbing barefoot is a great way to avoid the various foot problems that wearing shoes can cause, such as ingrown toenails, deformities, tendon lesions, calluses, etc.
However, there are drawbacks as well. The shoes do offer some protection, despite the fact that this type of climbing is good for the health of the feet. Wearing shoes will help prevent many injuries, such as those caused by falls, rubbing against sharp or particularly cold or hot surfaces, and other risks.
Warm up before climbing barefoot
A solid warm-up is necessary to keep your feet as healthy as possible and prevent injury. Start by gently massaging your feet from heel to toe with your thumbs before you begin climbing. Start with light pressure, gradually build it up, and avoid applying too much strain. Next, slowly turn your ankles in one direction, then the other. Point your foot forward, then backward. Finally, start your climbing session with a relatively easy route to finish warming up your feet and lower limbs.
Some people should avoid climbing barefoot
It is important to understand that only some enjoy barefoot climbing. In fact, it is preferable to protect your feet by wearing shoes if you have a sore, blister, wart, or other injuries because climbing barefoot could exacerbate your condition. Before you begin climbing, it is best to check your feet and, if necessary, seek advice from a podiatrist in order to be safe.
Climbing barefoot and maintaining good foot health
Climbing without shoes offers maximum pleasure and sensation while having many positive effects on foot health. However, barefoot climbing also carries some risks. It is crucial to warm up before practice, assess the surface, and ensure that your feet are in a suitable condition. If you are unsure, schedule a visit with a podiatrist via the FootNetwork website to determine whether this style of climbing is appropriate for you and to get specialized guidance.