Training - Barefoot vs shoes

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

Training - Barefoot vs shoes

Postby Wuji on Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:46 pm

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I'm a barefoot guy, and I'm pretty minimal when it comes to shoes in the first place. I basically only wear shoes when I need to. Even then, I only wear vibrams or Feiyue. When I train, I started with Tea Kwon Do a long time ago, so training barefoot stuck with me. My teacher basically said he wears shoes because it's traditional. Which, kind of makes sense. I was thinking about it from biological standpoint. If we train barefoot, you're training muscles that don't often get trained or worked. You're also possibly preventing injury. On article I read said that basketball players often wear high top shoes now, that have some ankle support. Though that sense this change, the amount of ankle injuries have actually grown. The article basically stated that high top shoes vs low top shoes cause development around the ankle to happen less, making the ankle weaker and more prone to injury.

I've been thinking that training the feet is more productive. Training the muscles in the feet, the ankles, etc. We aren't generally barefoot out of training, though most shoes are light enough to not make that big of a difference. What do you guys think? What do you train in, and why?
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Re: Training - Barefoot vs shoes

Postby cloudz on Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:36 am

I switched to a more minimalist shoe last year. Living in London what I train in and wear is often dictated by the weather or location. I much prefer bare feet (on grass especially) but it's not always practical or possible. I got myself a pair of inov8 shoes last year. In the past I had a few ankle issues from playing soccer in my younger days. Particularly on my left side I had decreased range of motion and often discomfort which was highlighted when I started Tai chi. I found the more minimal my footwear the more I would feel it, but in my early days I often wore a minimalist training shoe. Over some time though it got much better and I noticed it less and less.. But subsequently over the years though I sort of drifted away from those minimalist shoes I started with and tended to train more in typical chunky trainers. When I returned to the minimal shoes last year I started to feel my left ankles 'tighter range' again. It's definitely helpful as you suggest, and I don't see myself drifting away from this kind of shoe again. Lesson learnt; it only took 15 years! :D
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Re: Training - Barefoot vs shoes

Postby GrahamB on Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:53 am

I think there's a lot to be said for just wearing your normal clothes for training. Obviously that can't apply to arts that require specific clothing, like a gi, but for general 'martial arts' I think it's probably a good idea. I get enough 'barefoot' time on the mats, so I like to wear shoes for Tai Chi.
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Re: Training - Barefoot vs shoes

Postby middleway on Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:22 am

I think there's a lot to be said for just wearing your normal clothes for training. Obviously that can't apply to arts that require specific clothing, like a gi, but for general 'martial arts' I think it's probably a good idea. I get enough 'barefoot' time on the mats, so I like to wear shoes for Tai Chi.


+1

However literally all of my shoes are 'Barefoot / Minimal', from my more formal shoes for the office, to my running, gym or trail shoes, to my normal every day shoes.

Lots of options out there now for people who want to have strong feet. :D

I've been thinking that training the feet is more productive. Training the muscles in the feet, the ankles, etc. We aren't generally barefoot out of training, though most shoes are light enough to not make that big of a difference. What do you guys think? What do you train in, and why?


Worth looking into Nick Curson at SpeedOfSport. or the Marinoviks. They have a big focus on 'foot strength' for athletic performance. In short though, its very important.
Last edited by middleway on Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Training - Barefoot vs shoes

Postby .Q. on Fri Jan 27, 2017 10:47 am

Some styles plow/grind the ground when they step. It'll be hard to train barefoot on anything but mats.
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Re: Training - Barefoot vs shoes

Postby MaartenSFS on Fri Jan 27, 2017 9:10 pm

I started off in TKD [and Sanda] as well, but I now strongly prefer training outside in shoes. It changes things a lot. One could be great barefoot, but suck as soon as shoes are worn - especially with kicks, but even footwork is affected. I spend a lot of time striking and kicking trees in various ways. Shoes give a bit more protection and you will be wearing them if you ever get into a confrontation. Plus, I find that the additional weight helps with strength. I usually buy two pairs of the same shoes. One for life and one for training. Same for winter shoes. Also, by training with shoes on it's a lot less easy to spread around disease like Athlete's Foot. :-\
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Re: Training - Barefoot vs shoes

Postby DeusTrismegistus on Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:34 am

I train barefoot usually. Sometimes in barefoot style shoes or boots. Barefoot is good because you get better ground sensitivity, mobility, and it strengthens the foot and lower leg. Training in shoes conditions you to adapt to different conditions. Some moves you can do barefoot on a mat or carpet would tear you up if you did them with shoes on concrete or uneven ground. Its good to know the difference.
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Re: Training - Barefoot vs shoes

Postby Ian on Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:15 am

middleway wrote:However literally all of my shoes are 'Barefoot / Minimal', from my more formal shoes for the office, to my running, gym or trail shoes, to my normal every day shoes.


You wear 'dressy' Vibrams with your suits, don't you ;D
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Re: Training - Barefoot vs shoes

Postby vadaga on Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:28 am

FWIW I train in shoes most of the time. Usually either flats or boots. I know people who've broken toes while training barefoot and don't want to go that route
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Re: Training - Barefoot vs shoes

Postby Yuen-Ming on Sun Feb 05, 2017 7:18 pm

Wuji wrote:My teacher basically said he wears shoes because it's traditional. Which, kind of makes sense.


Then you need to define "traditional" because it suffices to go back a 100 years and I assure you few people in China were afforded wearing shoes

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Re: Training - Barefoot vs shoes

Postby Taste of Death on Sun Feb 05, 2017 10:06 pm

Training barefoot on grass, dirt, sand, tatami or gym mats saves money. I can run trails for a year in a pair of Feiyues but the pair I use for friction stepping last 3-4 months.
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Re: Training - Barefoot vs shoes

Postby MaartenSFS on Sun Feb 05, 2017 10:31 pm

When I trained Chen Taijiquan for a year and a half, doing the forms four to five hours, six days a week, I went through a pair of shoes every two months.. When I did Xingyiquan six to seven days a week for four to five hours, for three months, I went through a pair and a half.. My shoes were so badly destroyed that my toes were sticking through (because my socks were fucked too!)..These arts hate shoes! My master told me that his Baguazhang training was similar. My training has been brutal at times, but it was worth it.. 8-)
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