Footwear for Yoga or How to Dress the Feet for Yoga Class

woman in red tank top and black leggings doing yoga

Yoga practice is traditionally done barefoot. Theoretically the feet center the body. The spread toes and heel form a triangle platform grounding the body. The toes stretch long and the foot broadens as a base or platform for the body. Some studios may insist on bare feet but most are tolerant of different needs.

Socks and footgear can protect the soles of the feet and provide a barrier between the wet sweaty floor and bacteria or athletes foot. Other reasons for wearing special yoga socks or shoes in yoga might be:

  • practicing outdoors
  • working without a good sticky mat
  • foot injuries
  • wounds, blisters or sores on the feet
  • to avoid slipping and aid balance
  • warm feet are less likely to cramp during exercise

Footwear for yoga is described below.

Yoga Socks are the Most Common Footwear for Yoga Practice

There are three basic kinds of yoga socks. All have some sort of gripping material on the sole of the sock to prevent slipping. One type of yoga sock has the toes free and extends to the mid foot similar to a dance sock. The other yoga sock is glove-like with the tips of the toes unbound. Each toe is otherwise encased in its own sleeve up to the last joint or toenail. The last type is a glove with the entire foot in a sock and each toe completely covered in an enclosed sock-like a glove.

The amount of constriction varies between toes for each sock so be sure and try a pair before buying in bulk. The socks may shrink especially if they are cotton. People who have particularly thick toes may enjoy the type of yoga sock that goes to mid foot only. Each of the above can be found as anklets, footies only, or up the calf depending on need and desire.

Variations on the above are firmer socks seemingly like a flexible wet suit with toes for feet. Regular gym socks can be worn for seated floor work or during savasana to keep the feet warm but don’t prevent slipping and shouldn’t be used otherwise.

Foot Thongs or Sandals for Yoga Wear

The toes should be able to curl under the feet and to flex and spread during movement. Foot thongs, a concept borrowed from modern dance, protect the ball of the foot while allowing toe freedom. Usually straps hold it to the foot by the heel and between the first and second toe. The partial sole has gripping material. Many yoga foot thongs or sandals can be purchased online. Check out dance sites for yoga options such as half sole lyrica, foot mittens and foot paws. Flexible gymnastic shoes may also serve the same purpose. Always try them on first to make sure the fit is foot-tight, flexible and light.

Yoga Shoes

Nike, Adidas and other sport brands have created a shoe for yoga, again partially borrowed or shared with dance. Nike has a “cross trainer yoga dance shoe” giving an idea of a shoe for all markets. Adidas has a slip-on leather upper shoe for the same purposes. Similarly, Puma has a shoe that can be worn to and from the yoga studio as well as during yoga class, thus offering another advantage. Here are our top 5 yoga shoes on Amazon.

Some yoga footwear uses the name “yoga” but is for everyday relaxation or movement and not meant for yoga practice itself. The footwear may help spread and separate the toes but isn’t otherwise exercising equipment.