Yoga is usually practiced barefoot. But, sometimes, that just isn’t feasible, especially if you have flat feet and require arch support. You may also want to check out these insoles and shoe inserts.
Whether you’re using a rental mat and want to avoid potential bacteria and germs (yuck!) or you’re flowing through your vinyasas out in nature without access to a mat, sometimes, good footwear is crucial for a yogi.
Here are the best yoga shoes for yogis who want to avoid practicing barefoot, for whatever reason that may be.
1. Gaiam No-Slip Yoga Socks, $9.98 at Gaiam
Every yogi knows the Gaiam brand, so it’s no surprise that these bestselling yoga socks top our list of the best yoga shoes. These toe socks are designed specifically for yoga and pilates and will work both on and off a mat.
They fully cover the yogi’s foot up to the ankle, and Gaiam claims they protect the wearer’s foot from exposure to foot fungus. These would be perfect for yogis borrowing or renting mats! They also include ventilation to prevent unwanted odors.
These socks are a blend of cotton, nylon, polyester, rubber, and spandex, and feature silicone dots on the bottom to enhance the wearer’s grip.
Gaiam’s no-slip yoga socks come in two sizes — S/M and M/L — and are available in a wide range of color combinations.
2. Grip Half Toe Elle by Toesox, $20.00 at Athleta
These half-toe socks are sold in both a black and blush version at Athleta and are perfect for yogis who need a little more grip in their practice.
They’re constructed from nylon and spandex, and feature a supportive criss-cross strapping detail across the top of the foot, in addition to a patented non-slip sole dotted with grippy material.
These lightweight foot coverings are made for both indoor and outdoor practice, and we imagine they’d be perfect for the yogi practicing in an uncomfortably cold studio, or for a yogi practicing on a slippery new mat. They come in two sizes and will stretch to fit your feet, whatever shoe size you may wear.
3. YogaPaws Elite Yoga Foot Socks, $19.95 – $32.00 at Amazon
If you struggle with yoga shoe sizing, these YogaPaws socks are for you. These socks come in black or dark blue and cover the ball mount and arch of the foot.
They’re secured in place with both a toe strap and an elastic heel strap, which guarantees this one-size-fits-all model will fit every yogi, no matter the shoe size.
Just keep in mind that YogaPaws advises each yogi to wear these socks a few times to stretch them out to their perfect fit.
These socks feature a grippy rubber base and are great for practicing yoga without a mat.
And, as an added bonus? If you practice Bikram yoga or any other form of hot yoga, YogaPaws offers a matching glove set as well, to make sure your hands get the same level of grip as your feet.
4. Vibram VI-B Fitness Yoga Shoes, $38.90 – $125.44 at Zappos
While Vibram’s VI-B shoes aren’t explicitly designed for yoga practice, a small cult of fitness bloggers and influencers have proclaimed that these toe shoes are perfect for yogis. We’d have to agree.
These shoes are crafted from polyester mesh and rubber and would transition well from street to mat, and back to the street. Vibram bills these minimalist shoes as a more evolved ballet flat for women on the go, proclaiming that they’re “featherlight, breathable and slim-fitting.”
These shoes offer traction and durability. They perform exceptionally well on unpredictable terrain, so if you’re looking to climb up a tree in order to take some Instagrams posing in Dancer or Warrior II, these shoes are probably your best bet.
The VI-Bs are available in seven different colors and are machine washable.
5. Sanuk Yoga Mat Sandals, $14.98 – $57.34 at Sanuk
While these shoes aren’t specifically made for practicing yoga, we still had to include them on this list. Why? They’re made from the same material as yoga mats! We think they’re perfect for dedicated yogis who can’t step away from their mats for too long.
Sanuk has many available styles for their yoga mat-based sandals, but the Yoga Sling 2 sandals are by far the most popular.
These sandals have a stretchy knit upper and heel strap coupled with a rubber sponge outsole and come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Most Sanuk-branded shoes are machine washable (but read the directions, just in case!) although owners need to be careful and avoid leaving them in high temperatures or direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time.
6. No-Show Pivot Barre Socks, $24 at Alo Yoga
If you’re flat-footed and require arch support and extra cushioning, these no-show socks with no-slip grips, cushioning soles and fit-perfecting elastic straps may be just what you need for your next yoga or pilates workout.
So, there you have it! Whether you’re practicing on a borrowed mat inside a hot studio or practicing outdoor yoga while hiking along a trail, these are the best shoes for yoga.