Yoga. Once a word that was uttered only by oatmeal-eating hippies, the practice has become more and more popular in recent years. And rightfully so. Whether a practitioner wants to better his or her balance, flexibility, or to center and humble themselves, yoga is a good way to do it. It can even help you lose weight as well. As diverse as yoga is itself, so, too are its shoes. As yoga has grown in the number of people doing it, the need for shoes to do it with has as well. To cut down on your confusion and to best answer your questions about them, today we will be taking a close look at them. By the end of our guide, you will have a firm grasp on what you need in a yoga shoe. Then, we’ll look at the most popular shoes out there as we head into 2019.
Isn’t Yoga Done Barefoot?
Yes, yes it is. Yoga is most typically done barefoot, and there is a good reason why this is the case. For one, it puts you more in touch with your environment. This isn’t just lingo that sounds new agey, if you will. It’s just a fact. You want your feet to feel loose and flexible. You don’t want them to be binded up, which also would make them less responsive. By putting them in ordinary shoes, you put them in this situation. Instead of doing that, yoga shoes offer a good compromise. Going outside and need something for the walk to and from, no problem. In addition to that, and perhaps most importantly, yoga shoes also do a good job of making you feel like you are one with the ground no matter where you are. This is because they are going to be minimal in design. By being as minimal as possible, they are going to resemble being barefoot, which should be the goal. If you have problems, as many do, these shoes can help to take those away. There is nothing wrong with wearing shoes while doing yoga, and there are many, many valid reasons for you to do so! So it is no harm to search them out and treat your body as best that you can.
Top Yoga Shoes Comparison Chart
|Product||Material||Sole Type||Price||Where to Buy?|
|Sanuk Women’s Yoga Sling 2||Textile||Synthetic||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|Fitkicks Maritime Collective||Synthetic||Rubber||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|Vibram Women’s VI-S Fitness and Yoga Shoes||Textile||Rubber||$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|Skechers Women’s Meditation Studio Kicks||Rubber||$||Check Price On Amazon|
|VIFUUR Water Sports Shoes||Rubber||$||Check Price On Amazon|
|Mishansha Men’s Quick Dry Water Shoes–||Fabric||Rubber||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|WHITIN Men’s Minimalist Trail Runner||Rubber||$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|L-Run Water Shoes||Polyester||Rubber||$||Check Price On Amazon|
|Cevinee Slip-On Water Shoes||Light & Anti-slip||$||Check Price On Amazon|
|Zcoli Water Shoes||Polyester||Rubber||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
Yoga Shoes Buying Guide
Having a Hard Time With Poses?
If you are having a difficult time holding certain poses, you might want to try to turn to yoga shoes. It sounds a little bit opposite to what you’d think, but it might not be that you’re new or terrible at yoga. Instead, it could be that you are slipping. If this is the case, a yoga shoe can help you out considerably. A non slip yoga shoe is going to allow you to remain firmly planted in the place that you need to be, which will allow you to much better perform the poses. Some poses and movements are harder than others, and you won’t always be able to do them, even with yoga shoes, but if you have had slipping problems before, these shoes can help you in a very big and meaningful way. This is the reason that you should NOT look to buy yoga socks. Yoga socks can be very helpful, but even socks with the grippiest of feels to them are no match for shoes. After a few uses, you will begin to lose the grip with those on. This not only makes it harder for them to help you maintain your proper posture, but it can also cause injuries from you slipping. Avoid that by just going with shoes. It won’t help your balance, but they will help you keep from slipping no matter what surface you are on. You may not have a yoga mat, or you may do some poses off of one (I do this from time to time because the mat can be squishy at various points). If you find balance to be more of a problem, a yoga block or even a good, thick book could help. Nevertheless, you’ll be very happy in the long run with your choice of getting yoga shoes in order to help you with your wide array of poses.
A big, big reason for why you should be wearing yoga shoes is down safety. Safety is paramount, and if you health is compromised by any activity, you should stop doing it. For one, we have mentioned the slippage problem. But aside from that, there is a much bigger, more invisible threat: germs. Germs can be passed from you to another and vice versa when practicing in person. If you are someone that does yoga in a public setting with multiple people, then this could end up happening to you. Gyms that use the same mats and allow people to use them without bringing their own can be dangerous. It only takes an open cut to happen, and you might never know it. Shoes aren’t going to give you 100% protection, nothing will, but they do give you a much better shot at staving off any potential problems that might just arise from your session. Taking you own mat can also be helpful, but there is still going to be a chance for issues to arise if you are walking around barefoot before and after you have finished, so just keep that fact in mind.
Another way in which yoga shoes are used to help aid safety is by giving you support. For example, if you have flat feet, then yoga shoes give you arch control that you badly need. The cushioning and support that they give increases what you naturally get, which isn’t likely to be much if you have this ailment, and it allows you to feel better both during and after your session. Many believe that these shoes will help to protect the shape of the foot and to better help it maintain itself, so there are quite a few reasons that you should use them to remain safe and able to do it every single day of the week if you choose.
Where Are You?
If you are a person that trains in more than just yoga alone, you will find yoga shoes to be a huge hit for you. Let’s say you like to lift weights and do cardio, too, but you use yoga to cool down and to recover muscles. It’s a great way to go about fitness, and it’s also why you might want to try yoga shoes. Sometimes, you might have the itch to do yoga and you will be able to do so right away wherever you are. Whether you are in the gym, beach, or even on the trail, if you have a sturdy enough shoe, you can get the job done and be protected. It also depends on the climate as well. For example, if you are going to be doing yoga some place where it is very hot and sweaty, then you will want a shoe that is breathable. If you are doing it some place cold and possibly rainy, then the go-to shoe would be something that is cozy and quite soft. It all just depends on what you want, where you are, and how versatile you want them to be. They need to match up to your needs and your level of fitness, and if they do, they will serve you very well.
Yoga Shoes Are Very Versatile
Unlike so many of the shoes that are made for various sports and activities, yoga shoes are not meant for you to simply use for just yoga. This makes them much more valuable to some people because you are able to get more uses out of them. You can wear them out and about to various things, though you probably wouldn’t want to use them for heavy duty weigh workouts or the like. Many yoga shoes are also made for water, so that is something that you could use them for as well. Versatility is a big calling card, and you can go from one thing to another very quickly. Like we mentioned earlier, socks aren’t encouraged. You wouldn’t be able to do this with socks. Most businesses wouldn’t allow you in, after all, and rightfully so!
What About Water Shoes?
Water shoes have become very popular in the summer months for people that are going to be around the water for various reasons. You might be washing your car, or you might be taking your kids to the lake while you try to fish or go canoeing. Those shoes are good because they give the foot flexibility and some rigidity, while allowing them to be able to get wet- soaked even- without being ruined. For many of the same reasons, those shoes can be used for yoga shoes. The grips on the bottom are very good because they have to be in order for you to remain balanced with water on your feet. So you better believe they will be good for yoga. The flexible nature of them is also great because it allows your foot to roam as it naturally would. A big thing that most water shoes have are separated toes, which is going to very closely mimic what you see without shoes on when you do yoga. The tops of them are also protective, so if you are like me and feel your forefoot getting sore and irritated, they can help out a little bit there. For these reasons, and likely some others as well, water shoes can be great to use for yoga as well as casual wear, especially on those warm, muggy summer time days.
Having shoes that don’t restrict you is a must when it comes to yoga, but restriction doesn’t just talk about the freedom to move. It’s also about the freedom to breathe. Your feet, just like the rest of your body, perform better at exercise when they are at an optimal temperature. If you have ever gotten too hot, which I hope you have at some point, you will know what that intense, hot rage feels like. You just want cool off. Some shoes are awful at doing this to your feet. They close out ventilation and make your socks and feet accumulate weight because of the sweat. This is not good for you on a number of levels. First of which is you are heavier than you were to begin with. You can’t move as well, then, and you start to realize that and get discouraged. Another thing they can do is smell awful, and they could in fact create bacteria and get you sick. A yoga shoe, or at least a good one, is going to have to have excellent breathability to it. If you are going to be up on your toes in downward dog or in Chaturanga for an extended period of time, you want something that is going to allow them to be nice and comfy. So if you are looking at a closed toe yoga shoe, which isn’t as common but is totally finally, look for mesh. This would be in the form of tiny holes- vents- that will keep you aired out. In open toes shoes, just make sure they are open in some way. They don’t need to be covering all of the feet, and they don’t need to make them hotter, either. We’ll make sure to point that out later if it comes up on our reviews when we get there.
Size and Your Toes
It’s always important, no matter the shoe that you are going to be wearing, for them to have an adequate amount of room in the toes. But with yoga, this is everything really. Your heels and balls of the feet are also fairly important, but your toes are going to be taking a brunt of the work. This is why breathability was such a big deal, and it’s why you have to think about this when you consider the size. In order to get the best feel out of your poses, you need your toes to be able to splay (stretch out naturally) no matter the type of shoe you are in. Therefore, it is big deal to make sure they are wide enough and also long enough- but not too long. What you want is something that almost mirrors the shape and size of your foot. If you find that, you’ve struck gold and should be quite happy with your selection.
Comfort and Support
The thing that must not be forgotten about here is that you have to be comfortable. A shoe that is freeing does not always equate to your being comfortable. Without comfort, you’re not going to be happy and you’ll be ditching them pretty soon. So, look for shoes that are comfy to wear. If you see they have a feature you disliked in the past, move on. If you do buy a pair online and try them on and just don’t feel it, send them back. It’s a lot better than pushing through with something you do not like. A lot of times, doing so can actually harm you, anyway. If you hurt, there might be a reason for the pain.
Likewise, you could be comfy and still end up hurting. With yoga shoes, used purely for yoga, this is not likely to be the case, but it could still happen. If you find them to be comfortable yet they still hurt you, it’s down to a lack of support. Support is going to help your overall foot health. If you notice that a shoe hurts after hours of use, it’s likely being overused or might not be that good in that area. You may want to only use them for yoga, or get rid of them altogether.
Let’s Review The Top 5 Women’s Yoga Shoes!
Sanuk Women’s Yoga Sling 2
With a huge number of choices for your colors and a nice design to go along with it, the Sanuk Women’s Sling 2 tops the list. The shoe is padded, just like your yoga mat, in the back of the heel, making it even more plush and comfortable for you to wear. This is what is considered to be a “thong flip flop” meaning that it has a stretchy piece of fabric between just the big toe and the other toes. This fabric is very flexible, so you won’t have to worry about your feet being in a bind if you are looking for that in your shoes. This means that they can do an excellent job for you at both yoga as well as a lot of walking. Another thing that helps them with walking is the synthetic sole that they use. This type of material lasts quite a while, and it means that you can expect them to have excellent durability as well as great traction as you seek to hold poses. If you needed another reason to buy them, they are made in the USA, so that is something that will help to sway some buyers. As far as the negatives go, the first that has to be brought up is that they run a little bit small, so sizing is going to be a bit of a challenge for you online. They’ve also got a little bit too much flexibility for some, with reports stating that they flop around a bit as you walk. Also, they can be a little bit narrow, so that could lead to the foot falling off of them a little.
- Very durable
- Awesome design and looks
- Good for walking and yoga
- Runs a little narrow for some
- Size is a bit smaller than stated
- Too much flexibility and movement for some
Fitkicks Maritime Collective
If you want a little bit more all around coverage in your yoga shoe, then the Fitkicks Maritime is a good choice to make. Also coming in a ton of colors to pick from, most of which look cool and trendy, these will not let you down if it is style that you are after. Despite having more coverage, don’t be mistaken: this is still a fairly bare bones shoe. I would draw comparisons to ballet shoes, as it has a slipper look to it. This, though, is not a bad thing because it also has a built in reinforced toe. This would work wonders for you if you have pains in the tops of your toes when you are in certain poses, and it could answer a lot of problems there. They are also very breathable as well, making them a good shoe if you want to do yoga outside on the beach or somewhere. They’re also so flexible that you can simply fold them and throw them in a bag to move quickly when you are done with them. Most shoes would be ruined if you did, or even attempted this, but they do a good job at holding up. The sizes are a concern as they don’t come in number but rather actually sizes such as small, medium, and large. There are no extra larges, so those with big feet will be out of luck if they want to purchase them. The seam work across the top portion is a little bit lacking as well, so some tearing has been known to occur and has to be taken into account.
- Many colors and stylish
- Extremely flexible shoe
- Has toe protection
- No sizes for bigger feet
- Seams are a little lacking and can tear
Vibram Women’s VI-S Fitness and Yoga Shoes
Sticking with the theme of the moment, we have another minimalist design here with the Vibram. Known for a lot of products in this sort of niche, the company has released this pair of shoes for your foray into the world of fitness and yoga. The toes, unlike some Vibrams you will see, are completely open, exposing your toes. However, the toes are covered but still have a lot of freedom and flexibility as they are detached from each other. This helps them wiggle around at will and gives you a more pleasurable experience. One small strap runs around the back and to the front edge of the shoes to secure you in, so there isn’t much there to bind you down, leaving you to feel the mat as intended. The sole of the shoe uses rubber, which is great because it will make them very durable and will also allow you to have a lot of grip wherever you might find your next session taking place. One of the main road blocks with Vibram is usually price, and that is the case here with this pair of shoes as well. A lot of people just find it hard to pay that kind of money, especially for shoes that don’t cover much. Another problem is that sizing is a common issue, with most running very large. Also, walking is only to be done lightly with them as the arch is left exposed.
- Protection for toes while freedom for the rest
- Rubber is quite grippy and durable
- Very comfy insert
- Sizing runs large and is difficult
- Price is a little tough to justify
- Arch support lacking due to being exposed a bit
Skechers Women’s Meditation Studio Kicks
In the Skechers here, we see a show that very much reminds us of the one that kicked off our list. Like the Sanuk Sling, this shoe, too, is a thong sandal. As such, it gives you a lot of flexibility and mobility in the top of the foot. The thing that is different about these is that there is a ‘drop’ to them. The heel area is raised more than the middle of the foot and the front of the foot, so that is going to give you a bit of a different feel and look. As far as support goes, it is going to better help you. But as far as responsiveness and feeling in touch with the ground, it is going to naturally take away some of that. Coming in a wide variety of colors, these shoes look classy and can pass for casual shoes as well as shoes to wear in the studio as well. Coming in at an affordable price and with great comfort, as Skechers nearly always manages to do, these shoes are good for the starter at yoga that wants to get in at a good budget friendly price to begin with. They do run a little bit narrow, so you will have to look out for that as you go on the web and try to order them. The elastics can be stretched a little too thin, so if you wear out shoes quickly you will have to be careful.
- Good price for them compared to others
- Very comfortable and flexible
- More support than most
- Not as responsive and down to earth
- Elastics get stretched thin
- Runs a little narrow
VIFUUR Water Sports Shoes
If you are looking for a very friendly pair for your wallet, then this pair from VIFUUR might be just what the yogi ordered. As well as coming in at a very cheap price, these shoes also have a huge number of colors that you can pick from, as well as different styles to help you either blend in or stand out. Using a rubber sole with patterns and tread to it, they will do a good job at retaining grip no matter if you are on the mat, in the water, or plan on doing a bit of both! This versatile shoe is one that can do a lot of different things, and it will do it while being comfortable. The insole of the shoes has foam inside, believe it or not, to aid in your comfort level, while the shoe itself uses elastic to lock you in as much as it can. If its gets stretched, you will be out of luck and will be left upset, but it’s also quite freeing. The toenails are reinforced on this pair, as we’ve seen before, so you will get the perks from that. The heel is a little bit cumbersome, with some complaining that it is too wide and doesn’t match up with the toes very well. Also, they lack in durability, as should be expected with the price.
- VERY cheap option
- Good rubber sole with tread
- Elastic conforms to foot
- Elastics can be ruined by stretching too far
- Heel doesn’t line up correctly
- Lacks durability compared to the rest
Let’s Review The Top 5 Men’s Yoga Shoes!
Mishansha Men’s Quick Dry Water Shoes
The first thing you have to recognize is that men are going to want more covering than women, and that bears itself out in this list, just as does in the first pair. The Mishansha is a good pair of shoes that comes with a ton of colors and styles to pick from to keep the most reserved or the most vibrant of personalities happy. The upper is made out of spandex and fabric to be very stretchy, and it is also very lightweight and breathable as well, with vents on the upper part of the foot and to the side of the heels even. The toes are covered upward a little, which could take away from your yoga experience but will give a little more protection to the wearer. Coming with laces that are elastic, you just pull them to get them on, while the heel strap in the back further aids in getting them on and off. They are quite versatile, so you could do a number of activities and be left very satisfied with them as a result of it. They don’t have the best support due to so much mesh, but lighter and shorter walks are definitely not a bad thing with them. The shoes run very big, so you will have to size down accordingly and be careful. They’ve also not shown to be the best with grip when wet, so you might want to keep that in mind.
- Very colorful and stylish, too
- Pointed toe adds support
- Elastic laces help getting them on and off
- Mesh makes them poor for long walks
- Not great at gripping when wet
- Must size down as they run very large
WHITIN Men’s Minimalist Trail Runner
Coming in at #2 is a shoe that is designed to be a trail running shoe, but is still a good choice for yoga due to the freedom that the toes give you. Like a lot of trail running shoes made to be minimal in nature, these shoes have a ton of room in the toe area. They may not be separated and look like a glove, but they give you freedom and flexibility in this way. On top of that, the shoes have a sockliner inside that increases the comfort. If you feel like you want to be closer to being barefoot, you can simply take that out with no problems whatsoever! The bottom of the shoe uses ‘true’ rubber and has some great treads to it. Because it is meant for the trail, you can be very confident that you won’t be going anywhere that you don’t want to go, so no more slipping about! Another major plus is that they have used no animal parts at all, so that adds to them if you want something Vegan and ‘green.’ The sizing can be a little tough to judge, but if you go by their recommendations, you can get the right fit.
- Very wide in the toes
- Good for the trail and mat
- Removable insole brings comfort
- Sizing issues can arise
L-Run Water Shoes
If you want to take it back a notch and go even more minimal, then the L-Run is one way to do so. These shoes are very lightweight and quite flexible as well, allowing you to store them very quickly as they fold over on themselves painlessly. This means you had better believe you’ll be able to execute even the toughest of poses in them with few issues. One of the big calling cards of them is that they are quite breathable, allowing your feet to air out and making sure you don’t get too hot and irritated as you practice. The toe area has a toe guard to help protect your feet and to make them more durable. The rubber outsole brings them great grip as a result, and they will form to your specific feet, making them much easier to wear while not worrying about them wearing out. They can be used for a number of things, so yoga, walking, and even activities in the water are not out of the question. One of the bad things about them is that they have an odor to them at first that is like chemicals. So you might want to quarantine them for a bit before wearing them. Also, the lining falls out of the shoes sometimes, so watch for that as well.
- Tons of colors to pick from
- Very breathable
- Extremely flexible
- Chemical smell is off putting
- Lining has a tendency to fall out
Cevinee Slip-On Water Shoes
Another choice for those that want to be minimally bothered yet still have some protection from the mat and also have freedom, the Cevinee is a good slip on choice. It can be a hard sell for some men, but these shoes come in a range of colors and designs that should leave you fairly happy, and they do so at a very generously low price. Because of that, their popularity has risen and they find themselves here on this list. They are quick to dry and also have an anti slip sole to them to keep you on your feet both in and out of the water. They are very bendy and can be flattened and packed away with ease to prevent them from being ruined. Because the upper is made from stretchy materials, they are quite wide and will work for those that find themselves constantly in shoes that are too narrow. As you’d expect, they have good breathability, as it is almost a must-have if you are going to be selling a water shoe. One thing you might not like is that the insole cannot be taken out, which means you can’t have that choice to feel closer to the ground. They’ve also lacked a lot in the durability department, so hard use walking will not be the best of ideas.
- Very low price
- Flexible and easy to store
- Good for wet and dry conditions
- Insole can’t be removed
- Durability is lacking
Zcoli Water Shoes
Rounding out our list is another one that would be a good option for the water but can equally do a job on the mat as well for your yoga practice. The Zcoli shoes are a little bit more expensive than the Cevinee, but what you get is different and that’s why they cost a little extra. Looking a lot like the Vibrams you usually see, these shoes us polyester and rubber in the sole to give them a combination of durability and flexibility. The sole has a drain hole even to let water out, and then they dry quickly due to their design. The toes each have protection, and they are curved upward off the ground a bit, which can be good for walking and a bit of a negative for yoga if you want to feel more natural. They are comfortable, with shock absorbing qualities due to them being reinforced, and they have good breathability built in to them as well. With the fabric being elastic and a heel strap in the back, they are easy to get on and off and will feel a lot like socks. Due to the price, durability is always going to be a question, so wear and tear will take a toll. As far the sizes, they have no half sizes, which just makes life frustrating for those trying to figure out what to order.
- Good price
- Sole drains itself
- Good flexibility and traction for mats
- Sizing made harder without half sizes
- Durability is questioned in a big way
Conclusion And Final Yoga Shoes Recommendations
As more and more people get into yoga, the need for supplies is becoming increasingly higher. This is a good thing, but it also makes it harder to find the best possible options for good prices. As a result, a lot of confusion happens and it can be difficult to scavenge your way through all of the choices. After our reviews and guide, though, you will now know what and why to look for yoga shoes, what they do, and which ones fit your style and needs!
FAQ’s About Yoga Shoes
* How Do You Wash Yoga Shoes?
Washing yoga shoes is easy and shouldn’t be anything to be worried about. Simply put them into the washing machine and make sure the water is set to cold. Once you have washed them, make sure to forgo the dryer bit. The dryer could end up ruining the shoes, either by shrinking them or eroding the materials. If you have a leather shoe, then you will need to purchase special cleaner for that in order to get them looking like new again. Always consult the shoe itself or resources online, though, before attempting to wash your shoes. All materials are a little bit different, and it might not clean certain ones very well if you don’t take the necessary steps to do so. You could even destroy them if you don’t heed the instructions, so just look at the tags and then you can better pinpoint what to do and what not to do with them.
* Are They Good For Casual Use?
In terms of style, yoga shoes can be very good for casual use. If you are in a certain kind of crowd, you could be the envy of the group. However, casual usage is up to you. If you are someone that needs to have a lot of support for their arches, they might not be the best idea for you to wear for long periods of time. They might be OK for a little while, but they could start to make your feet hurt. They are almost always flat, so that is going to mean they don’t have much support. It’s really just a call on how you feel and what you are used to in regards to this question!
* Why Are Yoga Shoes Usually So Versatile?
To begin with, yoga shoes were not really as versatile as they are now. They were meant for one use, yoga, of course, and anything else was just seen as a bonus. But market forces have served to make companies and manufacturers think about different sorts of people and purposes. Whereas they used to be used for yoga, inside, on a mat, they have now expanded. Because of that, you now have pairs that have some arch support. You have closed toes pairs that can be found. You also have some that are made for Vegans. The range of options has greatly expanded, and the common sight of them being usually casually largely has this to thank.
* Can I Use Yoga Shoes to Run In?
If you want to end up with an injury, then go for it. Otherwise, you should stick to running shoes for running. Yoga shoes are versatile, as we have talked about a lot already, but they do not magically do everything well. Running is all about moving quickly in a straight line. Yoga is about staying in place. Even a yoga shoe with good arch support is going to come up woefully short when running and will end up hurting. Conversely, no running shoes aren’t the best choice for yoga, either. Running shoes seem to be the cure all of the internet, but it’s just not a good idea whatsoever. Running shoes are going to restrict you, even the newer ones that are lightweight and are geared toward making you more responsive to the ground. The one exception MIGHT be the trail running shoes with the free toes, but you have to be careful and examine whether those are the best option for your specific needs or not.
* Why Should I Do Yoga?
The choice is ultimately up to you, but yoga offers a few things that would help your overall health, even if you just do it once or so per week. For me, muscle recovery and working out soreness is top of the charts. For other people, yoga helps them with their flexibility, and that is the motivating factor. And I’m not talking about those people that put their legs above their head. I mean the kind of people that get out of bed and can’t move. It really helps when they try it, and it could help you, too. It’s also good for increasing core strength, which is so often looked over and forgotten about as we age. When you get in your 70s and can’t pick up a can of soup and put it on the shelf, you’ll be wishing you had done some yoga. It helps target the shoulders, much like swimming would, as well as other forgotten muscle groups, and it can be good for your cardio health, especially if you incorporate movements to get your heart rate up a bit. Many also do it for the calming sensations and discipline it gives you. Maybe that is your thing, and if it helps more power to you!