Why do we dance barefoot?


Bare Feet =

Happy Feet.

Our feet are designed to function as platforms for movement. In order to absorb the stresses of standing and moving, they need to be pliable, resilient and strong. Boxed in by shoes, their circulation is restricted, and the mobility of the joints between the 27 bones in each foot is impeded. The muscles weaken over time.

Moving without shoes, strengthens your feet and ankles, increases your circulation, flexibility, and dexterity, decreases foot cramping, gets rid of calluses, perhaps even heightens your arches.  

Over time, always being in workout shoes weakens the feet. If you’re a long time aerobics student, or runner, you may hesitate to take off your shoes. The myth still exists that you are never supposed to workout unprotected. Be skeptical as you try a different way.

While in the beginning you may develop blisters, look at that as a gentle cue from your body that you may be sliding your feet instead of purposefully placing them with intention. Working out and dancing barefoot gives your feet a chance to breathe, to stretch and become more flexible.

That, in turn, affects everything else you’re able to do.


In Nia we purposefully place our feet with each step rather than simply throwing weight on them. It’s been documented that jogging and jumping, even with shoes on, still send three times your body weight crunching down through your shins to your feet and can break down your musculoskeletal system. 

Lateral support from shoes is not needed because we don’t throw weight onto the outside edges of the feet and never rotate on a weight-bearing foot. No padding or special sprung floors are necessary in Nia because we knead and massage the feet instead of pounding them.