Get Flexible with this Guide On Yoga Shoes
You want yoga shoes that won't quit on you during your workout. Here's how to choose the best ones that are as flexible as you.
Whether you've been a long-time yogi or are just getting involved in the practice, the right yoga shoes can make all the difference.
They can help to increase your flexibility, assist with your balance, and can even help to align the rest of your body to help you hold tough poses for longer than ever.
Of course, it also goes without saying that they can totally liven up your outfit and make you feel incredibly confident while walking into class.
In this post, the ultimate guide to buying yoga shoes, we'll tell you everything you need to take into consideration to find the right pair for you.
We'll cover things like toe and arch support, breathability, comfort, materials, and even how to extend the life of your shoes with care tips.
No matter the type of yoga you practice, or workout you love to do, you need the right shoes that can see you through it all.
Read on to learn how to find them.
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The Health Benefits Of Yoga
So, you're thinking about taking up yoga, but you're a little more curious about why it's such a smart idea for a workout.
There are tons of major health benefits that you can get from your daily or weekly yoga practice, and you'll see them no matter your age, gender, or even current fitness level.
First of all, taking up yoga is a great way to increase your flexibility. Especially if you play sports or do more traditional workouts, the more flexible you are, the better your performance on the field or in the gym will be.
Plus, being flexible helps you to lower your risk of injury.
Yoga is also an awesome way to tone those parts of your body that you just can't seem to whip into shape any other way. Yoga is a perfect way to target the specific muscle groups of your body, especially areas that are often ignored.
Additionally, yoga is an awesome and fun way to boost your cardiovascular health!
This means you'll lower your risk of heart attack and other diseases, manage your weight, and just feel better overall.
Why The Right Yoga Shoes Matter
Before we get into anything more specific, let's take a moment to discuss why finding the right kind of yoga shoes can make all the difference when it comes to your workout.
Yoga, like any other form of exercise, will put a certain amount of pressure on your joints and bones. And if you don't have the shoes that offer the right kind of support?
You could end up with a serious injury that takes you out of your practice for weeks, even months.
Additionally, having the right yoga shoes will help to ensure that you're performing the positions correctly. Shoes can improve your balance, create excellent arch support, and ensure that the rest of your body is properly aligned.
Now, let's dive into the main things you should be looking for when shopping for yoga shoes.
Look For Shoes With Breathability
There's a misconception out there that yoga is more of a stretching activity than a serious workout.
But hardcore yogis will tell you that it's completely possible to get an intense full-body workout with yoga, especially if you a more strenuous practice like hot/Bikram yoga or a Vinyasa flow.
The point here?
When you sign up for a yoga class, you can and should expect to sweat.
This means that, when you're shopping for yoga shoes, you'll need to find a pair with excellent breathability and wicking technology. The last thing in the world you want to deal with during a yoga class is stinky, swampy feet that make you uncomfortable and self-conscious.
Steer clear of yoga shoes that are lined with polyester and other synthetic materials.
Sure, shoes made from these materials might be more affordable, but they won't do anything to absorb moisture and cut down on the smell. Also, make it a point to avoid shoes that are made of rubber. Rubber might be comfortable, but it's infamous for locking in both moisture and heat.
Instead, look for materials like leather and canvas, which are especially porous and breathable. When shopping, be sure to evaluate the specific patented moisture control of the yoga shoes you're considering.
Above all, focus on selecting the right kind of socks! For best results, go with a lightweight cotton pair.
Focus On Your Toes
Yes, the sole of your foot and how your arches are supported is an important part of finding the right yoga shoes.
However, many shoppers accidentally overlook another crucial part of the shoe: how well your toes are supported.
Remember, yoga is all about balance and the stamina/positioning needed to statically maintain poses for certain periods of time. Your toes need to have the room to fully spread out and grip the floor if you want to have a successful practice.
If your toes are too crammed into your shoes, you can expect poor balance, incorrect posture, and worst of all, severe cramping within the toes.
When you're shopping for yoga shoes, you want to look for a pair that mimics the natural shape of your feet and toes.
This is why so many people have started to gravitate towards "yoga toe shoes" -- where each toe is individually wrapped, like a glove for your feet. This will help to gently and naturally encourage your toes to separate and spread out, increasing the overall quality of your grip.
When shopping for toe shoes, we suggest looking for ones made from Neoprene. Not only does this material help to improve your grip, it also comes complete with no-slip technology. Especially if you're interested in more advanced and inverted poses, this is a great option for you.
Shoes That Mimic Socks
So, maybe you're still new to the world of yoga, or you're just not comfortable with wearing toe shoes quite yet.
You might be tempted to head to practice in nothing but your bare feet.
While this might seem like a good idea to some, in reality, you open yourself up to bacterial infections, discomfort, and improper alignment.
Especially if you've been known to stomp it out in high heels, you'll likely need yoga shoes that are able to do a little corrective work on your foot's shape.
This is where yoga "sock shoes" come in. As the name implies, these are incredibly thin shoes that look far more like socks than your average pair of sneakers.
When you're looking for sock shoes, you want to go for an option that's about a size or half-size smaller than you usually wear. It's crucial that, while not tight, the sock shoes are more fitted than average.
The soles of sock shoes will help you to improve your grip on the floor, while the breathability will help to wick away sweat and moisture. Look for a pair of sock shoes that comes up to your ankle, so that your whole foot will get the support it needs.
Try A Hybrid Option
Another awesome option you should look into when you're in the market for new yoga shoes?
Try a hybrid option -- a pair of shoes that looks a bit like a pair of sandals and exposes the tops of your feet, but then "individually wraps" each toe. Usually, these types of shoes will tie at your ankles, a bit like the modern espadrille.
This will ensure that you still have a natural shape to your feet, but that it's much easier to use your toes to grip the mat or the floor. The versatility offered by these shoes will help to keep you comfortable while seriously improving your form.
How To Care For Your Yoga Shoes
No matter the high quality of your yoga shoes, eventually, you're going to need to be able to clean them.
You don't want to invest in a pair of shoes that falls apart the minute you put them in the washer.
To that end, lots of shoe companies are now making options with removable inserts for easy cleaning. Simply take out the insert and toss it into your washer with the rest of your yoga clothes (we suggest adding a heavy-duty stain and odor remover like OxiClean for best results.)
Of course, never put either your shoes or your insoles into the dryer.
Instead, put them out on your porch to ensure that they dry quickly but still maintain their shape. If you're struggling to break in your shoes, you may want to wear them for about twenty minutes when they're still slightly damp.
This will encourage the soles and shoes to conform to the natural contours of your feet.
Make sure that you're only using your yoga shoes for practice -- don't wear them to run to the store or to pick up your kids from the carpool line.
Additionally, take the time to properly lace and unlace them with every wear. Jerking your shoes on and off can destroy the tongue and lacing system. This means you won't just have to replace them, but also that they won't be as effective.
Finally, when it comes to storing your yoga shoes, a cool and dry part of your home is always the best bet.
That means that, yes, you actually need to take them out of your gym bag as soon as possible after class. (As a bonus, doing this cuts down on nasty odors, too!)
Other Yoga Equipment
Of course, yoga shoes aren't the only things that you need to invest in if you want to shine in your class.
First of all, make sure you invest in a high-quality mat. Look for an option made from naturally-sourced rubber that offers extra grips on the edges of the mat, but has more of a smooth center to help you complete your jumps.
To keep your mat clean and sweat-free during your workout, it's also a good idea to pick up a yoga towel. Keep in mind that this isn't to wipe your body, but is exclusively for cleaning the mat.
Look for a lightweight option that works to absorb as much moisture as possible off your mat with a single stroke.
As you get deeper into practicing, you should also invest in workout tools, like a yoga block or a strap.
The strap will help you to correct your posture and align your body even in more difficult flows and poses. The block is an ideal way to ensure you have the right spacing for specific poses and is especially helpful for those struggling with back and knee problems.
Which Other Shoes Belong In Your Closet?
Thanks to this post, you have the information that you need to make an empowered and informed decision when it comes to buying the right yoga shoes.
Remember to focus on finding shoes that will help you to get the correct posture, increase your balance, and will ensure that you stay comfortable throughout every phase of your practice.
However, if you're like most yogis, we understand that you'll do lots of cardio and strength training in addition to your practice. Having the right footwear for these situations is just as crucial to keeping you safe during any kind of workout.
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