Ask the Yogi: Can I wear shoes or socks in yoga?

Q: I feel very uncomfortable in bare feet. Can I wear shoes or socks in yoga?

feet on mat

A: You are not the first person to want to wear shoes or socks in yoga. For some it is a matter of comfort and for others it is a matter of how they feel about bare feet.

First of all, if you feel physically more comfortable in your shoes, then by all means wear your shoes. Some people need the extra support a shoe provides and some are recovering from various procedures that require they wear shoes to protect their feet and/or toes. There is nothing wrong with wearing shoes and you will be able to do all the yoga poses just as well in standard athletic shoes as in bare feet. However, if you will be wearing shoes, please use your own yoga mat. Shoes are rather hard on the material of yoga mats and can easily tear them. Also keep in mind that your shoes will give you extra grip on the mat, so be very careful in positioning your feet so that you don’t inadvertently drag your foot and lose your balance or irritate your knee.

It might be a good idea to let your instructor know that you will be wearing your shoes so they will know you are doing this by choice instead of just not aware of how most people do yoga in bare feet.

If your issue is not about physical discomfort and you want to wear socks because you don’t like the look of your feet or you prefer not to have bare feet for hygienic reasons then you might want to consider using socks designed for exercise. Toe socks allow greater freedom for your toes and also have grippy bottoms that help to keep you from slipping on your mat. For a review on various toe socks, check out my blog post: Toe Socks for Yoga


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