Best Yoga Shoes Reviewed & Rated
While yoga is a type of exercise traditionally done barefoot, there are people who simply feel more comfortable wearing a pair of yoga shoes. Whether you need the extra protection because you don't want to stand on cold studio floors, are worried about splinters, need the extra traction, or simply have previous injuries that require you to wear footwear, this list has got 10 of the best products for you.
You can take a look at the variety of yoga shoes listed below, and opt for the ones you know will work best. From full-on sneakers, to ballet flats, to wraps and even FiveFinger shoes, the list below offers a huge variety of footwear so that anyone can find the perfect fit.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 7 hrs of research
Lightweight and Breathable
Top 10 Yoga Shoes
1. Vibram VI-S
Lightweight and Breathable
Will Stretch Out
This pair of studio shoes are perfect for anyone who needs footwear that can be worn to yoga, barre class, or even pilates. The VI-S is a great choice because it takes into consideration that these fitness activities require you to actively grip the floor and to have unrestricted movement which is best achieved by going barefoot. Nonetheless, if you’re worried about cold floors, splinters, or even hygiene, the Vibram VI-S is an excellent investment.
This pair of shoes can be purchased in four color options, allowing you to match it with your favorite workout outfits. The design is minimal. For one, the top of the foot is barely covered, with only two thin straps that are placed there in order to keep the footwear on. Like all FiveFingers shoes, these have a separate pouch for each of your toes, which means that you get a wider range of motion than in regular cross-training sneakers.
The upper is made of printed mesh that serves a dual purpose - for one, it’s very flattering, all while keeping you well-ventilated, no matter how difficult your workout is. Additionally, you can expect it to dry quickly, to feel lightweight, and to adapt to your foot without any issues. The sole is the same that’s featured on the KSO-EVO, which is a non-marking rubber compound with small traction nubs that will help you grip any studio floor.
As for price, this model by Vibram is slightly more expensive than most other products listed, nonetheless, if you’re after a pair of shoes that’ll last, you should definitely check it out.
2. Vibram VI-B
Durable Rubber Sole
Breathable Mesh Upper
XS Trek Sole
Sizes Run Large
While being ahead of the game, the Vibram VI-B can provide the open look that you need. Vibram stands by their craft and never misses to provide long-lasting quality material that lasts years, regardless of hard use and abuse. These are another of Vibram's signature FiveFingers models that fit your feet like a glove. This fit will have you feeling as if you're barefoot. It's easy to enjoy the comfort and breathability that comes from the VI-B.
Vibram's footwear provides great support, even for the toughest of poses. They're also extremely comfortable and do not pinch while bending the foot. With these, you can enjoy every minute of your sessions, even on hard floors, without worrying about discomfort. Having ventilated yoga shoes is a must when performing stretches and other similar exercises. Being able to reduce the amount of sweat build-up inside your footwear will substantially increase comfort and the quality of your sessions. Having an effectively breathable design will reduce rubbing and chafing as well.
Vibram provides a high-quality design that will keep you comfortable, supported, and able to move your foot in whichever way you want! What more could we possibly want?
3. Capezio Daisy
The Daisy by Capezio is a standard ballet slipper made primarily for ballet dancers. It’s a great alternative both to shoes and socks, seeing that it offers the best of two worlds - the upper is made out of supple leather for a barely-there fit and feel, while the sole features a leather layer that will keep you securely on your feet, offering a little bit of protection.
The Capezio Daisy is flesh-colored, and it’s a great choice for those looking for something with a natural look. The upper, being leather, will break in very easily - after all, this is a shoe that is meant to allow for the foot to fully articulate in ballet class. There’s an elastic drawstring to keep it on your feet and from slipping off the heel, as well as a pre-sewn elastic across the top of the foot that ensures support and security.
The lining of the Daisy is a canvas for a breathable feel, and you can wear it with or without any socks. It also features a satin ID tag on the inside, so you can make sure these don’t get lost. Additionally, it also comes in black and white, and can even be purchased in narrow and wide widths, which is ideal for those with a more specific foot shape.
As for cost association, these slippers are actually quite cheap compared to other models listed. Being made with leather, they should last you quite some time, but keep in mind that they won’t do so well if you decide to wash them, which may present a problem for those who tend to sweat a bit more.
4. Bloch Contour
Several Color Options
Reinforced Heel Cup
May Develop Odors
Somewhere between a pair of sneakers and a simple ballet slipper, the Bloch Contour is a model by the famous Australian dancewear brand that was designed with barre workouts in mind. It looks like a really soft pair of ballet flats and feels somewhat like a sock, all while offering wearers a high level of protection and comfort. It can be purchased in several color options, so you can choose the one that matches your favorite tights and tops best.
The upper of the Bloch Contour is made with neoprene. While this material isn’t widely used by footwear manufacturers, it’s actually a great choice for indoor workouts. Firstly it offers a soft feel and can be worn without any hosiery. Secondly, you won’t have to worry about sweat, seeing that it won’t become damaged by it - it dries quickly allowing you to keep comfortable for your whole session. Most importantly though, it’s slightly stretchy, so you won’t have to designate a break-in period that is often necessary with regular leather or canvas sneakers.
The Contour has an attached strap over the top of the foot that ensures that the shoe stays on, as well as a gripping lining that won’t let it slip off your feet mid-pose. The outsole is thin and made with rubber, with a gap beneath the arch, so you won’t have to worry about flexibility, but will still reap the benefits of improved grip.
As for cost, it ranks average, but you may be able to find it on sale, making it a great option if you’re on a limited budget.
5. New Balance Studio Skin
Stretchy, Accommodating Fit
Odor Resistant Technology
Technically created for dance, the Studio Skin is also appropriate for yoga, pilates, dance-fitness, barre classes and more. It is not a shoe, but rather a slip-on type of protection, which delivers maximum breathability as well as the traction that you need to stretch without a care in the world. It also helps fight bad odors and is a great in-studio design.
The Studio Skin has extra cushioning in the ball of the foot, as well as the arch to keep you comfortable while you take on the most difficult poses. It provides an accommodating fit thanks to its stretch material, and the inside is treated with NB Fresh technology to reduce the risk of developing bad odors during practice. Finally, the Studio Skin has an open heel silhouette to keep you grounded at all times and prevent you from losing your balance when you need it the most.
We honestly didn’t expect any less from a leading sportswear brand such as New Balance. The Studio Skin is lightweight, easy to wear and easy to practice in, and it delivers just the right amount of pressure relief in all the key areas. If you’re not going to be practicing outdoors any time soon, definitely consider investing in this slip-on design!
6. Ahnu Yoga Flex
Adjustable Lace-Up Closure
EVA Rubber Outsole
Dual Density Foam Footbed
For Outdoor Practice
For Other Sports Too
Another great up and coming design on our list is from Ahnu. The Flex comes padded with loads of technology for cushioning, breathability, support, and flexibility. The last thing you want from any option is for it to restrict any sort of movement required by the toes, ankles, and heel. Ahnu creates a well designed, comfortable model to help you move to the next stage of your practice and flexibility.
Ahnu has combined their love of outdoor fitness with the love of yoga when they designed the Flex. It’s designed for those who are looking for versatility in and out of the studio. With great arch support and cushioning, these will keep you walking for hours on hikes, and with their grippy sole, and breathable mesh upper, they are perfect for in-studio use as well.
The Flex is a show stopper for sure! With a plethora of bright, vibrant color choices, you can wear these for a statement-making outfit during your workout. They are perfect for classes which combine other sport or fitness activities such as Pilates or HIIT. The lace-up design keeps you snugly in and planted with minimal slippage.
The Ahnu Flex is a solid investment if you’re looking for a design that you can take outside the studio. Breathable and lightweight, it is also great for gentle hiking or activities where more support may be needed from your footwear.
7. Sanuk Yoga Sling 2
Yoga Mat Footbed
Happy U Rubber Sole
Stretch Fabric Wrap
For Outdoor Practice
Sizes Run Small
If you love waking up early and doing your morning Sun Salutation on the beach, or outdoors in general, then the Sling 2 from Sanuk is going to be just what you want. Not only is it a gorgeous sandal in general, but Sanuk has taken the time to really craft it in a way that makes it ideal for your practice. Comfortable and eco-friendly, this is a choice that will make you feel good both on and off the mat.
No need to lug your mat outside for your practice, as these sandals have the mat built right into the footbed. The thick padding is insanely comfortable, and you can wear these for entire days without having any discomfort, fatigue, or aches. The footbed is also very durable, so you don't need to worry about these wearing down any time soon.
There is no chance of your feet getting sweaty in the Sling 2, as it is completely open and only has a soft fabric wrap to adhere it to your feet. Stretchy and secure, the fabric will keep the sandal on during your most active poses, while the fresh air will hit your feet and toes, keeping them cool and comfortable.
The Sanuk Sling 2 is great for a variety of activities, and it is durable enough for heavy, everyday use. Perfect for stretching, days at the beach or even vacations - these are great for everyone!
8. Bloch Canvas Boost
These dance sneakers are another good option for those who want something a bit sturdier. Originally made for jazz and fitness classes, the Bloch Canvas Boost actually fits right in at the yoga studio as well. Thanks to the split sole, it will work much better than traditional sneaker styles, seeing that your foot won’t be hindered, but you’ll still get a great deal of support, as well as protection.
The Canvas Boost is made with a simple black canvas upper. It is breathable and flexible where needed, and has a lacing system that pulls the sole up from the arch, allowing for a supportive fit. The tongue and collar are lightly padded for maximum comfort, while the inside of the shoe has a mesh lining that encourages airflow and moisture management. Another notable feature is the antimicrobial treatment that prevents the appearance of mildew of odors, as well as the suede heel grip that prevents in-shoe slippage.
The insole in these Bloch sneakers is made with EVA foam for a lightly shock-absorbing feel, that’ll come in especially handy if you’re using these to walk to the studio. The midsole utilizes an air unit in the heel area that makes these sneakers great for aerobics, and the outsole is non-marking with a traction pattern that will work well on any surface.
The price of the Canvas Boost is slightly more expensive than most of the other items listed, but that’s to be expected considering that it’s a multi-purpose sneaker you can wear for almost any of your workouts.
9. Vibram Alitza Loop
XS Trek Outsole
Zero Drop Offset
For All Poses
The Vibram Alitza Loop is a highly comfortable, flexible design for performing in different types of sessions, from advanced to basic. Whether on a mat, grass or on harder surfaces, it provides ample grip to prevent slipping. The design fits nicely on all of the toes like a glove, while also providing a small amount of arch support for your feet. With a zero drop heel to toe offset, you're able to feel natural, almost barefoot with these while getting all the benefits they provide with grip and protection.
Having a lightweight, flexible design requires a minimal heel to toe drop. The Vibram Alitza Loop has a zero drop offset for a natural feeling experience. Its minimal build allows the flexibility and a feel that's perfect for every-day sessions. With a glove-like fit, you will feel like you're wearing virtually nothing on your feet. The Alitza Loop is made of an extremely breathable fabric that stretches naturally with the foot. With this, poses are easy to execute without limitations. Additionally, the comfort level is up there with the best.
The Vibram Alitza Loop provides great value at an affordable price. Along with the zero drop for a natural feel and flexibility, it also provides support with the necessary grip for all types of poses.
10. FitKicks Active
Non-Slip Rubber Tread
Sizes Run Small
FitKicks provides an extremely comfortable and soft option with their Active design. These allow the foot to breathe with ample airflow and ventilation. You're able to move the foot with natural motions as required when doing difficult stretches. When attempting advanced poses, the foot needs to be as articulate as possible, and able to grip effectively. These provide that ability, with a thin, skin-like fabric that stretches and maintains support from top to bottom. You can easily slip the Active on for use in all types of sessions.
This super soft design will comfortably conform to your foot and have you feeling barefoot while giving all-around support. It provides the perfect wrap-around support that enables a pleasant experience for your feet. The extra cushioning and padding will ensure that poses on hard floors are not a problem at all.
The flexibility that these provide makes them grab and conform to the feet for a perfect fit. When they're slipped on, you can enjoy all that comes with each and every pose, no matter how much you need to bend and flex.
The cost of the FitKicks Active varies depending on the size and style that you prefer. They provide the highest quality for those that prefer comfort over everything else.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The stretches in yoga can put a lot of weight on the feet that can be unequally distributed on one part of the foot over the other. Because of this, it is critical you’re wearing yoga shoes that will give you maximum foot support. Failure to have adequate support to ease the stress you put on the foot doing the poses can risk injury.
One feature great to look for in a design for this sport isa zero drop construction. It’s when the heel of the shoe is the same height as the front, much like your feet naturally are when you’re standing on a flat surface barefoot. This natural feel and fit will give adequate support to your feet during all your poses.
Benefits to Zero Drop Footwear:
- Most Natural Foot Position
- Significantly More Stability
- Reduces the Likelihood of Suffering From an Injury
- Can Be Beneficial for Those Who Have Pain in Their Back, Hips, Knees, or Feet
- Minimizes Strain and Pressure on the Knees
A shock absorption polyurethane cushion sole can also be a helpful feature to look out for. It’ll reduce the impact of the weight from each step you take to start your positioning and give you a comfortable feeling when you plant your feet down. This is great if you ever plan on taking your yoga outside of class and doing poses on outdoor surfaces without a mat.
You might also want to consider footwear with thick foam arch support inserts to better protect your feet if you happen to step on any rocks outside.
It’s important that your footwear gets a good grip on the ground while you’re doing your poses. A design that doesn’t get the best grip can end up causing you to have an awkward fall that could injure you badly.
One of the things that will be your best friend in helping prevent this is rubber. Pay attention if the particular design you’re considering has rubber soles. This feature will give you maximum traction for all of your stretches and keep you safely on your feet during your session.
Another feature you might keep your eye out for is if you see a design that has an XS trek outsole. XS trek is specifically designed to give traction on anything, even if it’s a really wet surface. Also, XS trek soles give your yoga shoes durability that will keep it lasting for many sessions where you make full use of their slip-resistant powers.
Ensure that whatever sole you choose is non-skid and non-marking. If you are practicing yoga without a mat, you do not want your sole to cause damage to the flooring or the ground that you are on. Even with a mat, you don’t want the sole to wear out the material, so opting for a sole that is less coarse and more smooth should give you grip while also reducing tears or wear through.
Whether you’re doing regular or hot yoga, your feet can build up a lot of sweat quickly during your poses. It’s best to prevent that so you’re not adding weight to your shoe which might make your stretches more difficult to do.
Probably one of the best defenses you can find to combat this is a design that has a polyester mesh upper, or a design that is made with polyamide. Polyester and polyamide are both very water resistant. They help to transport the moisture from your sweating away from your body.
Mesh, of course, is a porous material, like a net. So the combination of polyester and mesh will give you all the airflow that your feet need for keeping them cool and dry throughout the majority of your session. Fortunately, a lot of footwear tend to be made similar to water shoes and have a dual purpose. They also tend to have a wide open upper, like flats. With those similarities, you won’t have a hard time getting the necessary breathability in your choice of yoga shoes.
Most Breathable Types of Fabric:
Your feet bend and twist and turn in all types of directions whenever you’re doing most stretches. When your feet are constricted in your yoga shoes, it can cause foot pain doing your poses.
Your yoga shoes should be flexible so your feet can feel comfortable stretching out in it. The best way to get that flexibility is to look for a specific type of material. You should find footwear that features a fabric like polyamide. Polyamide is a very stretchy fabric that will allow your feet to move in all sorts of ways without feeling much resistance.
It can also be a good sign of flexibility if the design is described as having a yoga socks-like fit. If you can move your feet in the footwear with not much restriction, stretching out your toes like in socks, you’ve got a good option.
Pay attention particularly to whether the uppers are described as having stretch fabric, and if the soles happen to be XS trek, which is designed to be very flexible.
There are a good number of stretches that require a person to lift their feet in the air in some fashion. Examples of these include the crow pose, the half-moon pose, the boat pose, shoulder stand pose, and many others. In looking at images of these stretches, you can see that they're difficult enough just to even attempt to do. The last thing you want is to make them even more difficult by having footwear that adds weight on your feet.
It’s very helpful to have a design that is lightweight so it won’t weigh your feet down when you’re doing those specific types of poses.
One of the ways you can find a lightweight option is if any of the designs you’re looking over are stated to have a soft and elastic sole. Try to avoid footwear that appears to have a really thick sole.
In general, most options that you look at will highlight if they’re lightweight. It’s also a good sign that they’re lightweight if the gram weight of the footwear is highlighted and it is described as being easy to slip on.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Yoga practice can address several aspects of health and fitness. From strength, flexibility, breathing and mindset, it has benefits across the spectrum for its followers.
It's important when you're just starting out, that you take your practice home as well. Breathing and mindset can be practiced just about anywhere!
For physical attributes, make sure you have the correct form for each pose, and only do what you can in terms of flexibility. Flexibility will come in time!
There are a number of different styles of yoga, each with individual flairs for aspects of the practice. Some will focus on breathe and meditation, while others consist more of a flow. Even more rigorous styles incorporate heat, or require holding challenging positions for increased muscle benefit.
Other Factors to Consider
Yoga shoes come in many shapes, sizes, and colors and each one is different than the last in one way or another. Every enthusiast will need to choose carefully depending on their specific preferences.
Personal preferences are an important factor to consider but also look at the features, pros and cons of each design. These aspects will make each option really stand out from the others and determine if or which is right for you.
What type of yoga will you be participating in? Are you doing advanced stretching, or casual? Are you going to be doing it indoors or outdoors? All of the items listed provide numerous benefits for particular instances.
However, which one is best for your purpose is entirely up to how you will be using it, and the level of exercising you will be participating in. Each one varies in price, as well. Compare the features of these highly rated options, choose which one fits you, and you will be performing on the mat to the best of your ability!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Is it okay to wear footwear in a yoga class?
While there are some teachers who prefer their students to be barefoot during their classes, there are many who are perfectly fine with you wearing footwear during their classes. The best thing you can do is to contact the teacher or organization you’re looking to do classes with and ask if it’s okay for you to wear footwear during the class. In general, all instructors just want you to be as comfortable as possible in whatever you choose to have on.
q: Can yoga shoes be worn in the water?
Yes, in general, most items on our list can cross over well being used in water activities, such as swimming or surfing, given their similarity to water footwear. A good number of designs are made of polyester, polyamide, or other materials that reduce moisture in footwear. Many of them slip on nice and tight so they won’t fall off in the water. Additionally, some yoga shoes features mesh and other perforation-like designs where the water will flow out of them easily, and then after you get out of the water, air can flow inside to get your feet dry again.
q: How do you wash this type of footwear?
You can very simply toss your footwear in the washing machine and wash it with cold water. After washing, you can just let them out to dry. If the design happens to be made from leather, you’re going to need to use a special leather cleaner so you don’t damage it in any way.
q: Can these designs be worn casually?
You’ll have to see how they feel for you. Some find these comfortable to wear all the time given the amount of flexibility your feet have in them and also the softness of the material on your feet. Others prefer more arch support to walk around in, which most of these options don't have. You can decide for yourself by wearing them for a day and seeing how your feet are doing by the end.
q: Is it hard to find the right size?
Most of these designs are true to size. You’ll have some that’ll sell in small, medium, and large with a number range of what size feet would be best. It’s suggested that this type of footwear should fit somewhat tight on you, initially. Gradually over time, it should mold to the shape of your foot from all the stretching out you do walking or doing your poses.
q: Can I go running in these?
In general, most of these options have a thin sole that is designed to give you a lightweight feel and flexibility in your feet. Now, some are described as being good enough to protect your feet from stepping on things such as rocks and other hard surfaces.
However, this type of footwear does not feature as much cushioning as running footwear has, and some doesn’t have as much traction either. For running, it might be better if you had footwear with thicker soles that can give you more shock absorption in your running steps, which won’t wear out as quickly through consistent running, and also which has increased cushioning to ensure adequate comfort.
q: Are yoga shoes heat resistant?
Some people have worn these on the beach and not felt much heat from the sand. Certain designs do state they have enough layering to protect from hot sand, sharp rocks, and other potentially painful situations. You would have to carefully test the design for yourself and see if it gives enough protection for you. Otherwise, it may be best to opt for a more protective option for when you’re walking outside on hot days.