Most people probably think of yoga and pilates as strictly barefoot activities. I once thought this too, but I’ve come to really love my grippy yoga socks. Now before you roll your eyes and begin to question why you need to buy, yet another yoga prop, hear me out. Yoga socks are a tiny investment that can make a difference for you both on and off the mat.
What Are Yoga Socks?
Yoga socks are specially designed socks meant for use in activities that would normally be done barefoot, such as yoga, pilates or barre. They are typically made with breathable, moisture-wicking material and have some sort of rubber tread on the bottom for grip.
Do You Need Grip Socks For Pilates Or Yoga?
No, I wouldn’t say that you necessarily NEED grip socks, but they can definitely make things easier and more comfortable for you. Yoga socks are probably a want as opposed to a need. Here are some reasons that you might want to include socks in your yoga practice:
To keep you from slipping on the mat…
Are you a Bikram or hot yoga enthusiast? If so, then grip socks can make your life a whole lot easier. If you don’t use a towel on top of your mat, then you are likely to be sliding all over the place. Grip socks can help your feet stay firmly planted in poses like plank and down dog. Even the self-proclaimed non-slip mats can fail you sometimes, so it is good to have a backup.
To keep you safe off the mat…
Yoga and Pilates studios generally have a strict no-shoes policy. This is great for keeping things hygienic, but those floors can be slippery! Wearing a sock with grippers on the bottom will help prevent falls when walking around the studio, or even in your own home.
I found that grip socks to be especially useful in pilates or barre class. In these types of classes, you are doing most of your standing work off the mat. Wearing grip socks will provide traction on a slippery floor, making it safer for you and easier to do the exercises properly.
To keep your feet warm…
We aren’t all fortunate enough to live in a tropical climate, so most of us experience some type of cold, winter weather. Yoga socks will keep your feet warm in a chilly studio or at an outdoor class.
Perhaps you’re in need of a pedicure or you just flat out don’t like to show your feet, in this case, socks are a good option for you. Not everyone likes to be barefoot, so covering up may make those people more comfortable and therefore more able to be present.
Not everyone likes to lug a yoga mat around with them, so socks can be a great alternative. When you don’t have a mat available, socks can provide grip and make it easier to practice without one. The next time you’re going on a trip, consider throwing some yoga socks in your bag as opposed to a bulky mat.
So now that you can clearly see why you might want yoga socks, the question is, “Which brand do I choose?”
What Are The Best Yoga Socks?
Yoga socks differ in terms of material and design. Here are some of the best brands that I’ve found through my personal experience, conversations with students and online research.
1. Yogi Socks
These lightweight, breathable socks come in a variety of colors and designs. They feature a rubber tread on the bottom for grip. The design features arch support which will help to keep you stable in certain poses.
This particular brand is unique in the design of the bottom. Other socks place grips all along the sock, but Yogi Socks features a double grip placement, which means that the grips are located at the toes and the heel. With the middle of the sock free of the grips, many people feel that it leads to a more natural feel and movement.
Gaiam is a well-known and reputable name in the yoga world, and their socks live up to the reputation. They have an extensive variety of different kinds, but my favorites are the Gaiam grippy socks. The open toe design (think gloves for your feet), gives you the free feeling of being barefoot but also the security of being protected.
And, good news for all the guys out there. Gaiam makes socks for men! Unlike most other brands, these socks are available in both men’s and women’s sizes.
These socks feature a low cut athletic style with a contoured heel for a secure fit. They also feature a “never slip strip” on the inside of the heel to keep the sock in place, which is often an annoying problem with ankle socks. The natural cotton blend fabric is comfortable and breathable to keep even the most sweaty feet dry.
Great Soles is also a product that you can feel good about buying. Started by two sisters in New York, they are committed to sustainability and being mindful when sourcing their materials. They use eco-friendly dyes and donate a portion of the sales from their ombre socks to Melanoma research. They stand behind their products and offer a 30-day guarantee on all products.
Think of these as a minimalist yoga sock. As the name suggests, the design is more similar to a ballet slipper than a sock. It is a toeless sock, which allows you to spread the toes naturally and move without restriction. Toesox comes in 20 different colors and is available from a size X-small to large.
Whether or not you choose to incorporate socks into your yoga practice, I think everyone could benefit from owning a few pairs of non-slip yoga socks. From the studio to your own home, there are a lot of instances where they come in handy.