Now that barefoot running is catching on outdoors, should it be allowed indoors?

It’s a question almost all gyms are asking today, as more people join the barefoot running movement. For example: In the past four years, The Barefoot Runners Society says its membership has more than tripled.

The problem is that some barefoot runners don’t like being outdoors when the weather’s too wet or cold. Or, they don’t want to risk running in places where there might be dangerous debris on the ground, like glass. But most health clubs and gyms forbid going barefoot indoors.

For some, it’s a liability issue – because if you drop a weight on your toe, for example, your injuries may be more severe if you’re not wearing shoes. There are also health concerns because exposing bare feet to gym equipment can raise your risk of spreading infections – including anything from athlete’s foot and plantar warts, to superbugs like MRSA. 

Believe it or not, experts say those health issues are non-existent in cultures that routinely go barefoot. 

But that doesn’t stop most shoe-wearers from cringing when they see someone’s bare, sweaty feet on the treadmill! Which is why gyms have strict policies requiring shoes to be worn at all times.

One obvious solution is wearing those “toe shoe” things – which fit over the feet like gloves. But many barefoot runners say they’re just not the same as being bare!

So, what do you think? Is it time for gyms to change their tune, and allow people to run barefoot indoors? Or does the thought of bare feet on a stair-master give you the creeps? Weigh in at