Are you a yogi, or aspire to be one? Buying the right pair of yoga shoes can help you to increase your flexibility and balance. Whether you’ve been doing yoga for ten years or ten seconds, the shoes can help you hold a tough pose longer. Exceed your perceived limitations by grounding yourself during your asanas.
Mats and studio floors can be slippery – especially during a hot yoga session. The sticky sole of your yoga shoes or socks help prevent your feet from sliding around a slick surface. You’ll be able to spread your toes and grip the floor.
Some of the footwear available is in a minimalist design. Although you won’t actually be barefoot, you’ll feel pretty close to it. There are several different styles to choose from. This guide will help you find the right ones if minimalist shoes are your jam.
Distributing your weight properly is crucial for many yoga movements. Yoga shoes and socks can help you find your balance to do so. Some yoga practitioners prefer a lightweight sock, which is more like being barefoot. Others may be more partial to a shoe or sandal. Either one can provide the flexibility necessary as you move through your poses.
Options are available for both men and women. Water shoes and socks tend to come in unisex sizing. There are definitely more selections for women to choose from, but men have choices too.
Top Yoga Shoes Comparison Chart
|Product||Material||Type||Price||Where to Buy?|
|Sanuk Women’s Yoga Sling 2||Textile||Sandal||$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Qing Yoga Socks for Women Non Skid Socks with Grips||Cotton, Polypropylene, Titanium, Spandex||Socks||$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Vibram Women’s VI-S Fitness and Yoga Shoe||Textile||Toe shoes||$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Barerun Barefoot Quick Dry Water Sports Shoes for Swim Beach Pool Surf Yoga Women Men||Polyester||Water shoes||$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Muezna Men’s Non-Slip Yoga Socks||Cotton & Spandex||Socks||$||Check Price on Amazon|
|YogaAddict Yoga, Pilates, Barre, Dance, Full Toe Socks with Grips||Socks||$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Yoga Paws Travel Yoga Mat (Elite – Full Set) – Padded Yoga Gloves and Yoga Socks||Socks||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Hylaea Yoga Socks for Women with Grip & Non Slip Toeless Half Toe Socks||Cotton, Spandex, Silica Gel||Socks||$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Great Soles Tabbed Grip Socks for Men||Cotton||Socks||$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Shashi Star Glitter Mesh Non-slip Sock, Ergonomic, Comfort Socks||Mesh||Socks||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|FitKicks Maritime Collective – Active Lifestyle Footwear||Synthetic||Toe shoes||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|L-Run Unisex Water Shoes Barefoot Skin shoes for Run Dive Surf Swim Beach Yoga||Polyester||Water shoes||$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Jiasuqi Womens and Mens Summer Outdoor Water Shoes Aqua Socks for Beach Swim Surf Yoga||Polyester/Spandex||Water shoes||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
Yoga Shoes Buyer’s Guide
Whatever yoga footwear suits your practice, we’ve got tips on finding the right version for you. You’ll find it increases your flexibility, and ability to maintain your poses and balance. Wearing a yoga shoe or sock is especially good for anyone who tends to sweat a lot during practice.
In addition, those who have difficulty with their balance might find having a solid base really improves their yoga ability.
Shoes and socks help you grip the floor, even when you’re sweaty. The stretchy uppers are flexible, to move with you into whichever pose you’re in at the moment.
What is a yoga shoe?
When practicing yoga, many people need the comfort or support of footwear, rather than going barefoot. Styles vary among the different types of shoes, but they all have very thin soles that are flexible. The material on the top breathes and wicks moisture, which is important to keep you comfortable and properly aligned.
You can find the “toe shoe” design which wraps your toes individually. This style allows you to spread your toes out on the floor more easily. Buyers with toe or foot issues like bunions sometimes find the toe shoes accommodate their feet better. These shoes are usually closer to the minimalist style than the other designs.
And of course some people prefer socks, which can be stretchier and warmer than the shoes. Socks come with sticky soles too, usually in the form of a pattern of dots.
In addition to toe shoes and socks, you’ll also find sandals and water shoes. Which one is best for you depends on a number of factors. What kind of yoga do you practice? Some footwear is better than others for hot yoga, for example.
Do you have sessions outdoors, where you may need a sturdier selection? Or are you always in the studio, in which case a sock might do you just fine?
Another factor is personal preference: do you like the look of toe shoes? If not, you’ll want to choose a different style! Water shoes and sandals are often available in an array of colors and designs, which more fashionable yogis might be attracted to.
What to look for in a yoga shoe
As many experienced yogis know, there are a lot of misconceptions about yoga out there in mainstream thought. One of these is that yoga is not a serious workout. While there are more gentle yoga workouts, in many of them you’ll build up a sweat. Some rooms are heated for yoga as well. Hot yoga may refer to just a moderately high temperature, or it might mean the room is over 100 degrees (Bikram).
So your feet are going to sweat! Your yoga shoes should be breathable and have wicking technology. This means no linings that don’t breathe. Shoes with nonporous linings may be cheaper, but you’ll be dealing with some stinky feet at the end of your session.
Likewise, you don’t want a rubber-topped shoe, since rubber locks in heat and moisture. Two things you definitely do not want! Rubber soles are fine, since this material is often very sticky on the floor to prevent you from slipping.
Knit or mesh uppers are popular as they let in a lot of airflow to help cool hot feet. Some yoga shoes double as water shoes (or vice versa!) due to the texture of the mesh. Canvas uppers can also be porous enough to wear for yoga, but most manufacturers rely on polyester.
The soles of your shoes are important too. You don’t want to be sliding on the floor during triangle pose! Nonslip soles in rubber and other materials that let your toes grip the floor will help you work on your asanas. An “XS trek” outsole is designed to provide grip even on wet surfaces.
Non-marking soles are great to have on your yoga shoe. If you will only be working on mats or outside this may not be as important. A non-skid sole, however, is a must.
A shock absorption insole, in polyurethane or like material, helps cushion your foot and ease the difficulty of shifting weight from foot to foot. This is especially important if you do your yoga outside. You won’t feel all the rocks and twigs on your path with a more padded sole. (Though too much padding will make the shoe too heavy.)
A “zero-drop” shoe will provide support, but allow your foot to stay in its natural position. You may have heard of zero-drop running shoes. If you’re a fan, you’ll see a yoga shoe version. Basically there is no heel – the heel is at the same height as the ball of the foot. This provides a lot of stability. Zero-drop is common in minimalist shoes, as they mimic the balance of your bare foot.
Also important to your practice: lightweight shoes! When you’re practicing inversions and poses like crow, the last thing you want is to have heavy feet. This is one of the reasons why you don’t want to wear your regular shoes into the studio.
Besides the fact that regular gym shoes probably lack the kind of grip you need in the studio, all the cushioning and padding you want in a gym shoe only overloads your feet. Having too much weight there only makes these poses more difficult than they already may be for you.
You’re probably aware that your soles and arches need to be supported. But have you thought about your toes as well? They need to spread out and grip the floor, in order for you to have the stability you need to extend your poses. A tight toebox that cramps your feet will make your practice worse, not better.
Choosing a yoga shoe/sock
Since this footwear comes in a variety of styles, one may work better for you than another.
- “Toe shoes” – yoga version, not ballet
You might consider buying these shoes, where each toe has its own little glove or wrapping. Some types of toe shoes leave the tips of your toes bare. That allows you to still feel the connection of your bare toes to the ground. These are normally minimalist shoes, so they’re likely to be zero-drop as well.
If you’re particularly concerned about your toes gripping the floor, or making sure your toes are correctly spread out, a toe shoe might be the right choice for you. Minimalist shoe fans will definitely want to look into them for yoga. Some buyers just like the toe shoe look, though they’re not one of the more fashionable shoes.
They come in a variety of different styles: sandals, sneaker-like options, and socks.
Bare feet aren’t the answer when you feel like you need yoga shoes. Even if you’re not quite ready for the toe shoe adventure yet! Your bare soles are going to be on the floor where you and other people have been sweating. They may not give you the support and traction that you need. Especially in a hot yoga session.
Some yogis feel they have more connection to the ground in a sock, compared to a shoe. The yoga sock is very thin and snug. They’ll help you grip the floor and wick away sweat. A pair that comes up to your ankle will give your whole foot some support.
Socks usually come with little gel sticky dots on the soles, which help them grip. You’ll avoid slipping on the floor. Some of the socks have dots that run all the way from toe to heel. Others have the anti-skid dots just on the sole of the sock.
Or, you can try a shoe that looks a bit like a sandal. These tend to be more fashionable, even as they provide the antiskid surface and flexibility that you’re looking for. They are generally available in a wider variety of colors and patterns than some of the other yoga shoe styles mentioned in the guide. They may also tempt you to wear your yoga shoe outside, since they look so good on your foot.
Normally you’ll see them with some sort of wrapping or straps at the ankle, to ensure the shoe stays on through your session.
- Water shoes
Finally, water shoes may be the right answer for you. They are usually designed for water sports, hence the name. They have nonskid soles to prevent the wearer from slipping on underwater rocks or other slippery surfaces. In order to dry quickly, the uppers are generally made of breathable fabric mesh or knit.
You can wear them just for your yoga practice, especially if you like to have sessions near the water. However, they’re also good in the studio. And if you’re a beach lover, you’ll only need to buy one shoe to cover your activities, both in the water and in the studio.
Uppers made from polyester and/or polyamide will be best for closed shoes like water shoes. A polyamide is a yarn like nylon, though it can also be wool or silk if it’s natural. These materials are water resistant and help to wick away sweat.
They’ll also move with you, providing the necessary flexibility. Another upside to these materials is that they’re readily dyed, so water shoes usually come in a variety of colors and patterns. You can definitely find a shoe that kicks up your yoga practice a bit!
The soles of a yoga shoe can be rubber, neoprene, or some other non-skid material. They should be thin and flexible, again, to move with you. We’re not talking thick-soled, cushy motion-control shoes you buy for running! Yoga shoes should be as close to barefoot as you can get, with some protection and slip prevention.
Yoga socks are usually made from a cotton and spandex blend. Sometimes other materials are included as well, for antibacterial protection, for example. The percentage of spandex varies, but is used to help the sock fit snugly and keep its shape.
The gripping dots on the bottom of a yoga sock are typically made of silicone. Those who will be using a wall during their practice may find the anti-skid dots that run from toe to heel a better choice than those where the pattern only covers the sole. Having dots on the toes also helps with plank pose.
Many yoga shoes come in sizes like small, medium, and large, not necessarily in numbered sizes. In other words, you’re not going to get a custom fit with these. They are often on the small side, so women with a larger foot size often opt for a men’s version, which fits them better.
The shoe (or sock) should fit snugly without being too tight. You don’t want a loose set of yoga footwear, or materials that bunch up at the heels or toes. That will not provide you with the stability and anti-slip features that you’re looking for.
Of course, they shouldn’t be so snug that they’re cutting off your circulation! Unlike some other types of shoes, the sizing isn’t particularly inconsistent for most brands. If the manufacturer runs small, then the buyers find they’re small. We’ve noted in the product descriptions whether they run true to size or not. Yogis with wide or larger feet may have a bit more difficulty finding a good shoe that fits them, but there are some options in the guide for them too.
Caring for your yoga footwear
Whichever type you choose, they’ll last longer when you don’t throw them in the washer. Many shoes have removable inserts that you can add to the washing machine with the rest of your yoga clothes. But leave the shoes outside it.
They can be handwashed with some gentle soap, if you want to make them last by avoiding the washer. The soles and uppers are generally fine, but sometimes the glue used in the shoes loses its power in the washing machine.
Once they’re washed, you guessed it – don’t throw them in the dryer either. Just let them dry naturally. If you’re still breaking them in, you can wear them while they’re slightly damp to stretch them a bit.
The anti-skid dots on yoga socks need a bit of TLC to help them last longer. Wash them inside out, with cold water and not a lot of soap. You can put them in the washer, but a hot water cycle will wear them out faster.
Like the shoes, socks should be air dried and not tossed in the dryer. Several brands provide a mesh bag that you can put your socks in so they don’t get lost in the rest of the wash. Otherwise, you can use a lingerie bag to keep them together.
These shoes are intended only for your mat, or in the water in the case of water shoes. Technically, they shouldn’t go to the grocery store, or into the car to pick up the kids, or out to the mailbox at the end of the driveway. People often do wear them for chores or errands, but they will wear out faster.
Thin, flexible soles that are great for yoga poses get torn up by cement and other surfaces you find outside the studio. They’re also not very supportive, which will make your feet hurt after you’re in them too long. Lightweight mesh uppers also can be ripped by the environment and will not protect your feet as much as a regular shoe.
And your yoga footwear shouldn’t live in your gym bag, either. They need a cool dry place in your home. Added bonus: taking them out cuts down on the smell in your bag!
Best Yoga Shoes Reviews
In reviewing these products, we considered only those with an average review of four stars or above, and at least 100 reviews. Fewer reviews don’t always give you an accurate measure of how buyers actually felt about the shoe. We also reviewed the different types of yoga shoes, including water shoes and toe shoes and socks.
Some of the items we cover are for men, some for women, and some are unisex. Because the shoes tend to run small overall, women with a larger shoe size often find better options in men’s footwear.
Sanuk Women’s Yoga Sling 2
These shoes are in a sandal style, with an ankle wrap so they don’t fell off your feet. The footbed is made from padded yoga mat material which is very comfortable. They’ve got a rubber sponge outsole. Buyers with plantar fasciitis were very happy with them, and many used the shoes off the mat as well. There are a lot of colors and patterns on the cloth wrap to choose from. The price range runs from very reasonable to moderate.
A few buyers noticed that it runs a little big. People with feet that tend to sweat thought the shoes really helped them with that issue. Some did complain about the smell after a while (Sanuk says they can be thrown in the washer using cold water to clean them.)
- Many colors and patterns to choose from on the straps
- The footbed is comfortable and cushiony
- These shoes can run slightly large
- After some time, the shoes absorb foot odor
Qing Yoga Socks for Women Non Skid Socks with Grips
Very reasonably priced, these yoga socks are available in a limited number of sizes. They’re made from combed cotton, polypropylene, titanium, and spandex. This blend includes antibacterial material to help avoid bad foot odor.
The non-skid pattern on the soles prevent you from sliding around the studio floor. They’re sold in sets of three or six, as well as in individual pairs.
Straps help keep the Qing socks on. The non-skid gripper dots stay on pretty well, even after multiple washings. Most buyers found they were snug enough, but some found they were a bit loose and allowed some slippage. Others noticed that the color bled with the black pairs.
- Their sturdy non-skid surfacing doesn’t wash out easily
- Straps keep them securely on the feet
- Colors, especially with the black socks, may bleed
- These socks slipped around on the feet of several of the buyers
Vibram Women’s VI-S Fitness and Yoga Shoe
With a higher price range than most of the other shoes in this guide, these toe shoes come in a handful of colors. They have a sandal-like heel and straps, but each toe has its own place to go. Minimalist style with zero drop, they also have a rubber outsole. Their straps help keep the shoe on your foot, so they’re not sliding around during your poses.
Purchasers who are already Vibram fans love this shoe. Some buyers had difficulty finding their correct size, but were happy with the fit once they found it. These are not water shoes! Reviewers who bought the darker colors found that the “toe shoe” aspect wasn’t as obvious, so they can be worn for venues that require a closed-toe shoe.
- The toe shoes make feet feel good
- Especially comfortable for toe shoes
- Finding the right size can be difficult
Barerun Barefoot Quick Dry Water Sports Shoes for Swim Beach Pool Surf Yoga Women Men
These unisex shoes come in a variety of colors, with polyester knit uppers. The rubber sole is thick to avoid rocks when you’re at the beach. The grip on the outsole is good for slippery surfaces, and buyers liked this feature.
This shoe has the removable sole that you can toss in the washing machine. Barerun prices them very reasonably. They dry quickly, and are very lightweight, so they are good both for water sports and for the yoga studio.
Many buyers noticed that the insoles do tend to slip around while wearing. A few had issues with the shoes ripping after only one or two uses.
- Water shoes are comfortable and lightweight
- They dry quickly
- Their soles are very sticky and prevent sliding
- Some buyers did not get much use out of them as they wore out too quickly
- The inner soles may slide around inside the shoe
Muezna Men’s Non-Slip Yoga Socks
Priced very reasonably, these socks are made from combed cotton and spandex. They come in packs of three in a few colors. Their nonskid surface is made from silicone gel grip dots. Men appreciated that these socks don’t look too feminine, so they can be worn in public without worry.
Buyers praised the grippiness of the Muezna socks. You don’t have to worry about falling out of your tree pose! Those with sweaty feet found these a good purchase. Some yogis with larger feet felt these can be too snug. Several thought the gel grips washed off too easily when tossed in the washer.
- The soles are very grippy
- Socks are warm and protective
- They may be too snug for men with large feet
- Some found that the dots lose their stickiness after they’ve been washed
YogaAddict Yoga, Pilates, Barre, Dance, Full Toe Socks with Grips
With unisex sizing, these toe socks have gripping capabilities all the way from the heel to the tips of each toe. If you’re using a wall in practice (or do a lot of planks), these could be a great choice for you. In addition, this style of sock encourages the spreading of your toes, which helps when you’re gripping the mat. They are reasonably priced.
Some buyers found they didn’t work for sweaty feet or small toes, as they had a tendency to slip. Most liked the stickiness of the YogaAddict soles. They run small, so those with large feet may have difficulty finding a pair to fit.
- These socks grip the floor (and wall) well
- Toe separation assists with different poses
- They tend to run small, except the toes, which several buyers thought were too long
Yoga Paws Travel Yoga Mat (Elite – Full Set) – Padded Yoga Gloves and Yoga Socks
For a moderate price, not only do you get a pair of socks, but you also get gloves. The sizing is unisex. The tops are breathable, and the bottoms are rubber. Fingers and toes are gently separated by elastic, but they’re both free to spread out onto the ground.
Because the bottoms of the “paws” are made of rubber, you don’t have to worry about losing stickiness. This set can be used on its own, or on a yoga mat/towel to improve grip. They contain neither latex nor silicone, but have some cushioning for wrists and feet. Buyers mentioned how much easier the paws make poses like down dog, especially for anyone with hand and/or wrist issues.
YogaPaws notes they should fit snugly at first, because they’ll stretch out. Some buyers thought they were true to size, though others thought they ran small. Check the sizing chart before ordering. Some reviewers noticed a bad smell when opening them up.
- The paws are very grippy, both hands and feet
- They’re latex free for those who are allergic
- If you travel, no need for a mat – just your paws
- Even with the sizing chart, buyers found it difficult to get the right size
- A few had complaints about the quality
- Most thought they ran quite small
Hylaea Yoga Socks for Women with Grip & Non Slip Toeless Half Toe Socks
They’re available at a very reasonable price. These socks leave half the toe uncovered, so you have a bare toe sensation on the floor. But the toes are separated, with material that is mostly cotton but also has some spandex in it. The Hylaea sock has more spandex than many of the others on this list.
The gel grips are made of silicone. In addition, there are crisscrossing straps at the top of the foot to help keep the sock on, in a quasi-ballet slipper style. You can buy one pair, or a package of socks.
Buyers liked the stickiness of the soles, especially hot yoga devotees. They also praised the look of the socks. Those with wide feet thought they were comfortable. Purchasers with narrow feet noticed they tended to slip at the heel. Some found that the straps were poor quality.
- Women complimented the cute style with the straps
- The soles are very sticky
- These are good for wide feet
- They’re not as good for narrow feet, which tend to slide around in them
- Cute straps tend to break
Great Soles Tabbed Grip Socks for Men
Get heel-to-toe grip with these socks and their silicone gripper dots. The socks are made from a blend of cotton, polyester, and elastane. There’s a heel pad to help support your Achilles tendon, and the heel grip helps the sock stay in place. The moderately priced offerings are in manly colors of black, denim blue, and gray.
Great Soles provides a 90-day return guarantee. The company was started by two yogis, so they have expertise in what’s needed in yoga footwear. As is the case with other vendors, these products tend to run small.
Those washing them inside-out haven’t had a problem with the gripper dots coming off. However, some buyers had issues with the dots coming off after one or two uses.
- The socks are very sticky, even during hot yoga
- A heel pad keeps the sock on without much slipping
- There have been some quality issues with holes in the sock, and gripper dots coming off too quickly
Shashi Star Glitter Mesh Non-slip Sock, Ergonomic, Comfort Socks
With glittery mesh uppers, these fun women’s socks have Coolmax moisture-wicking fabric to keep your feet dry. Their non-skid sole made of gripper dots goes up to the toes. The socks come in several colors and are designed to fit your left and right feet separately. The price is higher than the other socks in the guide.
Washing the Shashi socks in cold water seems to help keep the sparkles and the grip dots intact, although some reviewers thought the sequins and dots came off too easily. Wearers get a lot of compliments with these socks. A few buyers found they run a bit big.
- The socks are cute and fun to wear
- They’re comfortable
- Higher price point than most of the other socks in the guide
- Some buyers had the gripper dots lost stickiness too fast, even before a wash
FitKicks Maritime Collective – Active Lifestyle Footwear
These foldable women’s shoes come in a handful of fun colors and patterns. The toe guard is reinforced to prevent excessive wear, and the rubber sole is nonslip and nonmarking. Perfect for asanas on a boat! The uppers are synthetic, and dry quickly. They’re reasonably priced. There’s no arch support, but they’re padded enough to be comfortable.
Most buyers liked the versatility of the FitKicks shoe, but some had issues with the shoes falling apart or ripping after one or two uses. Others had problems with the top of the toe guard being too tight, or the stitching of the guard chafing at first use. Many found they run a bit small, so women with large feet may not find a size that fits. The opening is fine for those with narrow to average ankles, but may not be comfortable for those with larger ankles.
- They come with a nonslip, nonmarking sole
- Uppers are breathable and dry fast
- Comfortable sole
- Quality in these shoes is a bit questionable
- Not for those with larger feet/ankles
L-Run Unisex Water Shoes Barefoot Skin shoes for Run Dive Surf Swim Beach Yoga
With plenty of patterns and hues to choose from, these water shoes will make your yoga experience very colorful. The rubber soles are nonslip, and the knit upper made of polyester is breathable. There’s a pull tab at the heel to make getting in out of these shoes easy, even when they’re wet. The price point is very reasonable.
They’re flexible, so you can fold them up easily (once they’re dry) and toss them in your bag. There’s a toe guard to protect your tootsies and wear points on the shoe. The soles are very sticky, and many found the L-Run water shoe very comfortable.
Buyers often found they needed to size down, or size up. The inner sole tends to slide around. Some had issues with the quality.
- They dry quickly
- With their flexibility, they fold up well
- Inconsistent sizing makes it hard to find the right fit
- The quality can be spotty
Jiasuqi Womens and Mens Summer Outdoor Water Shoes Aqua Socks for Beach Swim Surf Yoga
Very reasonably priced, these water shoes are available in a multitude of colors and patterns. The upper is made of polyester, with a bit of spandex for stretch. The soles are anti-skid rubber. They’re very light weight and have a pull tab at the heel for easy on/off, even when wet. The neck design is smooth, to prevent chafing. The sole has some padding to it.
Buyers found them very comfortable, and those with wide feet were happy with the Jiasuqi water shoe. The insole tends to slip around inside the shoe. Those who used them for climbing wet rocks found the soles appropriately grippy. Other purchasers found that the material started to wear out pretty quickly.
- There are plenty of colors and designs to choose from
- Yogis with wider feet may like this shoe
- The shoe quality can be iffy
- Insoles tend to slide around inside the shoe
Conclusion And Final Yoga Shoes Recommendations
No matter what kind of yoga shoe or sock you prefer, we have a highly-rated one for you. All the footwear in our guide help you grip the mat, and some may even help you balance on the ground outside as well. Flexible uppers will make sure that your footwear bends and flexes with you.
Because all these choices weigh very little, you can feel free to kick up your feet without worrying about heavy shoes dragging you down.
The prices range from very reasonable to moderate, so you don’t need to spend a lot of money to find a pair you like, either. Depending on your practice, you might consider buying both a sock and a shoe.
Many of these brands run small, so check your sizing on the chart when one is provided.
Do you like water shoes, or are you a water sport person in addition to being a yogi? Try the Barerun, L-Run, or Jiasuqi brands. These come in all different colors and patterns too, so you’ll have a little fun on your feet. All three are unisex or come in both men’s and women’s sizes, so this may be a good option for men who don’t want a sock.
Also in unisex sizing is the YogaAddict full toe sock and YogaPaws. Some men advised that the YogaPaws are good for men with larger feet.
Men can also look into the Muezna socks, if their feet are on the smaller side. Great Soles men’s socks may also be a bit snug.
Women who want a sandal look should go with the (very popular) Sanuk version, which comes in a large variety of colors and patterns to jazz up your practice. The Fitkicks option resembles a water shoe in appearance.
Toe shoes more your thing? Go for the Vibram footwear. If you prefer a toe sock, Hylaea will fit your needs. Want socks but not toe socks? Qing and Shashi socks have you covered.
Those with wide feet may want to check out the Hylaea socks and Jiasuqi water shoe. Buyers who need nonmarking soles will want the Fitkicks shoe.
Hot yoga your style? Look at the Hylaea sock (for women) and the Great Soles sock (for men). Tendency for sweaty feet? Try Sanuk for women or Muezna brand for men.
If you want to look a little stylish in the studio, you have some options. All the water shoes (Barerun, L-Run, Jiasuqi) have interesting patterns that provide a bit of flair. The Sanuk sandals are more fashion forward than the other shoe options (and are also available in fun colors and prints). The Shashi socks don’t come in a wide variety of colors but the sparkly mesh upper is fun.
FAQs About Yoga Shoes
Why do yoga socks come with those little dots on the soles?
In order to work as yoga footwear, the shoe (or sock) must be sticky enough so you’re not sliding around on your mat, or floor. With a shoe, that grippy sole can often be made of rubber.
But socks don’t have outsoles, and sock material by itself is usually pretty slippery on a bare floor or sweaty mat. So yoga socks have gel dots, often made from silicone, on the bottom of the sock.
These dots provide the grip that the sock needs to keep you in place. Some socks have dots that run all the way from toes to heel, which may be helpful to you in a wall or plank pose. Other socks may only have the gripper dots on the soles, which is fine for many yogis.
What’s the difference between a yoga sock and a yoga shoe?
A yoga sock is normally a cotton knit with some kind of polyester fiber for shaping and ventilating. They have bottoms with gel grippers, usually in the form of dots, to help you maintain your poses.
Most of these are designed for indoor practice, and several are sold in packs of two or three. Most socks give you more of a barefoot feel than shoes do.
The shoes have a breathable upper, often knit and often polyester. There’s a rubber outsole (or similar material) for grip. They can be worn outside, and some are designed to do so, especially the water shoe style. They’re a bit sturdier and more durable than a sock.
Which is better, a yoga sock or a yoga shoe?
Whether to sock or shoe is up to you! Both will help steady you so you can work on your poses without worrying about slipping or falling. Both come in toe separated versions and whole foot styles. Both will protect you hygiene-wise from a rented mat or studio floor.
The socks will normally be lighter than the shoes. This is important to those of you who like to practice inversions or other poses, such as crow, where having almost nothing on your feet is really helpful. Many buyers commented on how warm their socks were, so if you’re someone whose feet get cold easily, you might prefer the sock.
Reviewers have had varying success with preventing the gripper gel dots from coming out in the wash or from losing their stickiness. So socks may not be appropriate for someone who wants more durable footwear.
The shoes come in several versions, like sandals and water shoes, and tend to be sturdier than the socks. There’s normally not a problem with the rubber outsole coming off, so they stay sticky over time.
Some people just prefer a bit more of a barrier between them and the floor, so the shoe works better for them. Anyone who does yoga outside, or who plans to wear their yoga shoes to the pool or beach, will likely find the shoes are better than socks for these purposes.
Can I wear yoga shoes to hot yoga?
Absolutely! In fact, they’re especially good for hot yoga because they’ll help you grip a sweaty mat better than your bare feet. Some yoga shoes are better than others for Bikram yoga, and this is pretty clear from online reviews. Many of the yoga shoes are fine for the more moderately heated studios.
Can I wear my yoga shoes outside?
Yes, although they will wear out faster if you do. They’re not designed for walking around in the street as their intended purpose is usually a gym or studio. They have little or no support, so you would probably find they hurt your feet if you wear them for a long period of time.
On the other hand, some yogis like to get their practice in outside. Others may combine yoga with rock climbing or swimming, and shoes are good to have in these conditions. The water shoe style is designed more for the outdoors than some of the other selections.
Are yoga shoes suitable for the office?
Despite the fact that some reviewers have worn them to work, you would need an extremely casual office environment to do this. Or if you work for a gym or studio, yoga shoes or socks would be perfectly appropriate! Otherwise, no.
The shoes will wear out faster if they’re worn all day in an office environment. As noted above, they don’t provide support, so it’s likely that you wouldn’t want to wear them to the office even if you could.
Most of the yoga footwear is available at pretty reasonable prices. Buying a pair of socks or shoes just for yoga is not as much of a financial hardship as adding another type of shoe to the wardrobe might be.
Why are there water shoes on this list?
Water shoes typically have breathable uppers to help them dry quickly, and grippy soles to help wearers from falling or sliding on rocks underneath the water. They’re lightweight too, so buyers can use them for swimming. Even though you may not be doing yoga in water or even near any water, these qualities are necessary for a yoga shoe too.
They also work quite well for those who like to go outdoors for their yoga practice. Some versions have toe guards to prevent your toes from bumping into rocks, which could come in very handy.
Why do the shoes mostly come with polyester uppers?
Because yoga shoes need to be flexible, lightweight, and breathable, polyester is often the best material for the uppers. A polyester knit or mesh has all these features inherent in the fabric.
An all-cotton upper is not good for yoga shoes because cotton holds on to moisture. (This is also why hiking and running socks aren’t 100% cotton either.) If you sweat in your cotton socks, your feet will be wet until you get the socks off!
Also for this reason, the yoga socks combine cotton with another material like spandex or elastane. In addition to helping the socks fit snugly enough, the additional fabric provides some wicking capability.
Do I have to wear toe shoes or toe socks?
Most of the buyers of toe shoes and socks are fans of minimalist shoes. These are designed to mimic being barefoot. Many people now think it’s better to go barefoot, rather than swaddling your tootsies in cushiony shoes. (The jury is still out on the research.)
If you have wide feet, being able to spread your toes instead of squishing them into a narrow toebox might provide some relief.
Some socks are in a half-toe version, so the tips of the toes are free to spread and grip the floor. Many yogis like the feel of being barefoot and think it’s important for the toes to touch the actual ground. Half-toe socks provide more of an opportunity for wearers to do this.
Do yoga shoes have arch support?
No. Yoga shoes are not made to be especially supportive, as their main purpose is to help you avoid slipping and sliding during your asanas. When your toes are spread and gripping the ground, it helps you stabilize your balance, and may assist you in stretching into certain poses.
Yoga footwear is also designed to be lightweight, which is especially helpful when your weight is on your shoulders and wrists. Support and cushioning add heaviness to your feet.
Yoga shoes are also not intended to be worn all day, for the most part. Those who do need to be on their feet all day will usually be better off in a shoe with more cushioning and support.
Why is separating out the toes in yoga shoes/socks so important?
An important element in the practice of yoga is connecting to the ground. Many of the poses involve stabilizing your body in a certain way. Spreading out your toes to grip the ground gives you a broader foundation, which helps you balance better.
Separating out the toes is a feature of minimalist shoes, as noted earlier. Many yogis like to be barefoot, or close to it, when practicing. Minimalist shoes and socks get you pretty close to barefoot while protecting your feet. Toe shoes and socks are more like having your bare feet on the ground.
Why would I want a minimalist yoga shoe?
Many yogis practice barefoot (see bullet point above!) Also, there are a number of people who believe that the shoes we wear today are actually bad for our feet. Therefore, we should either go barefoot, or wear minimalist shoes that are as close to bare feet as possible. This will assist our feet to regain their natural balance and qualities.
Minimalist shoes have a zero drop, where the ball and heel of the feet are on the same plane. That also means little to no cushioning, since adding padding usually changes the angles of the foot depending on where the cushioning goes.
Many minimalist shoes are toe shoes, featuring a wrap for each toe. This is thought to be healthier for the foot, allowing toes to spread and grip in a more natural fashion.
There are good reasons for wearing shoes, even if you want to be as close to barefoot as possible. Whether you’re in a yoga studio or outdoors, there may be germs or bacteria on the ground that you don’t particularly want to have on your feet. If you do yoga outdoors, you may also want a little more protection from rocks and pointy sticks than your bare feet can give you.
In yoga specifically, especially during (but not limited to) hot yoga classes, floors and mats can get very slippery. Our feet, while they may be amazing at what they do, don’t come with non-skid soles. Whether minimalist or not, yoga shoes and socks do. Some people who practice yoga may have balance or stability issues.
Being able to plant your weight solidly and move into poses can be a lot easier when you’re wearing a non-slip shoe or sock. A minimalist shoe will get you pretty close to the benefits of a bare foot, but provide a little extra stability where you need it.