It can be even more miserable if you don’t take care of your feet properly. Many people opt to go barefoot on the beach, such as Bruce Bair, a member of L.A. Frontrunners and an occasional beach runner. “It’s fun to run barefoot in the sand,” he says. “But start with a short distance. You’ll be using the muscles in your feet and calves more than when wearing shoes, so you might notice some unusual soreness after your run.”
With that said, going barefoot isn’t for everyone. If you’re a competitive runner, stepping the wrong way on a shell or piece of broken glass can take you out of the game for weeks. Plus, Dr. Emily Splichal, DPM — a podiatrist, human movement specialist, and expert in barefoot science and rehabilitation — explains that people with flatter feet or an over-pronated foot may do damage to their feet because of the unstable ground.
If you have these issues, you should consider buying a beach running shoe. But how will you find the perfect fit? "You don't want too bulky of a sneaker or too stiff a sneaker on an unstable surface like the beach," Splichal says. "An injury could be greater in a shoe that's designed to restrict motion. This is because it isn’t allowing subtle movements that could offset an injury. Look for a shoe that conforms to your foot — one that adds support but still allows natural function of foot."
We recommend looking for sneakers with a tighter mesh. This will allow water from the waves to drain from the shoe, but won’t let sand creep in (although a few grains are usually inevitable).
With all this said, Bair notes that if you run on the beach in shoes, they'll almost certainly get dirty, wet, and sandy. So, if you buy a new pair for the occasion, snap a pick before you brave the beach. They won't have that new sneaker shine for long.