Yoga shoes are the new must-have accessory to a yoga practice. They provide a slip-resistant footing to allow you to achieve greater stability and security in your poses, and protect the hygiene of you and everyone else in the studio.
There is a huge range of yoga shoes available, in many different styles and designs. Today we are taking a closer look at yoga shoes to see which are the best yoga shoes this year.
For a quick look at our top picks, here are our three favorite yoga shoes:
These shoes are comfortable and lightweight, for a “better than barefoot” feel. The breathable upper reduces moisture, and the rubber sole provides great traction and grip without adding weight or constricting the foot.
They come in 15 colors and styles, have a compact, foldable design, and are machine washable.
The Vibram FiveFinger design separates the toes, allowing a natural spread of the foot and better connection with the stability of the earth.
The VI-B yoga shoes securely cradle the foot, providing stick and traction without constraining movement, as they move throughout your full range of motion.
They are available in 3 colors, and have an anti-microbial material that resists odor-causing bacteria.
The Vibram VI-S also have the famous FiveFinger design for separation of the toes and better stability in the foot. The VI-S have a fashionable strap that secures the foot in the shoe without inhibiting movement.
These zero-drop yoga shoes come in a choice of 5 colors, and are machine washable.
Editor’s Pick Best Yoga Shoes
Yoga Shoes Buying Guide
Unless you have a health condition affecting your feet, the two main reasons to wear yoga shoes are:
Yoga shoes give the soles of your feet the superior grip you need to feel stable and secure, even in bold poses.
This traction and non-slip footing is especially valuable during hot yoga or any practice where you will be sweating.
Yoga shoes protect your feet from bacteria and fungi that can be present in a gym or studio environment, so they can boost your hygiene as well as the hygiene of others.
This is particularly valuable when using public or shared mats.
It’s important to always remember yoga studio etiquette, and never wear street shoes in a studio.
Shoes worn outdoors can bring dust, dirt, and germs into the studio, and should always be kept out of the yoga environment.
If you are using yoga shoes, it is best to use them for yoga only. If you are using barefoot or sock-style shoes in your daily life or other fitness activities, you will still want a pair that you only wear in the yoga studio.
Things to Look For in Yoga Shoes
Many yoga shoes are small and compact, and many are designed to roll up small. This makes them perfect for carrying in a gym bag or tucking into your yoga mat roll.
Make sure that your yoga shoes can be rolled in this way without damaging the sole, and remember to always unroll and dry them between wearings.
Yoga shoes have a sole designed for grip, which is important to prevent slipping and provide stability.
However, deeply textured soles with heavy ridges may also damage the surface of a yoga mat, so look for grip and texture without deep ridges.
Freedom of movement
Yoga shoes should never impair the movement of your feet or toes in any direction, so they shouldn’t constrict or bind the foot.
Look for a fit that allows you to flex and contract your foot and toes.
Yoga shoes are sized in a wide variety of ways, but fit is incredibly important. Shoes that are too small will bind and constrict, and shoes that are too large may allow your foot to shift and slip within the shoe.
Find your fit by measuring carefully, and don’t go by your regular shoe size.
8 Best Yoga Shoes Review
1. FitKicks Womens Special Edition Active Lifestyle Footwear Shoes
The FitKicks Womens Special Edition Active Lifestyle Footwear Shoes are designed to be comfortable and protective for light wear, a “better than barefoot” shoe that provides light traction and protection from slipping, without adding weight or constriction.
These slip-ons come in more than 15 fun colors and patterns to suit any style. They are comfortable, breathable, and machine washable.
The FitKicks Womens Special Edition Active Lifestyle Footwear Shoes are comfortable as well as fashionable, with a versatile design that can be worn anywhere.
The range of colors and patterns are fun and stylish. They securely and comfortably cradle the feet, with a breathable fabric that ventilates moisture, and they are machine washable for the ultimate convenience.
These are a great choice for people who want the comfort of bare feet everywhere they go, not just to a yoga class.
2. Vibram Women's VI-B Fitness Yoga Shoe
Vibram is famous for the FiveFingers design that separates the toes, allowing a more stable, natural connection to the earth.
The Vibram Women’s VI-B Fitness Yoga Shoe is made from polyester and polyurethane upper, with a durable rubber sole for support and traction and anti-microbial fiber to resist odor-causing bacteria.
They come in black, burnt orange, and nightshade. They are perfect for yoga, because the natural, barefoot-style Vibram construction provides grip and traction without constricting movement.
The Vibram Women's VI-B Fitness Yoga Shoe is an excellent choice for a yin yoga practice, where you want the secure grip of a rubber sole to help you sustain poses, and the freedom to spread, bend, and flex your toes throughout their full range of motion, for better balance and connection with the pose.
These retain moisture, and the anti-microbial material helps to fight the presence of bacteria, which can also be helpful during a hot yoga session.
These shoes are perfect for those who are accustomed to doing yoga barefoot, and want the closest possible experience.
3. Vibram Women's VI-S Fitness and Yoga Shoe
The Vibram Women’s VI-S Fitness and Yoga Shoe has the famous Vibram toe separation that allows for a greater range of movement and connection to the earth, with zero drop, but has an attractive strap and buckle for a more secure, fashionable fit.
The closure is flexible and adjustable, so the strap doesn’t constrain the range of motion in the foot. They have a rubber sole, and are machine washable.
They come in a choice of five colors, including black, grey, pink, and violet or royal purple patterns. The VI-S merges the Vibram function with a more updated fashion.
The Vibram Women's VI-S Fitness and Yoga Shoe have all the functionality of a Vibram, with the natural, un-constrained foot and toe posture, but with a lacy upper and fashionable strap that makes the shoes more versatile for everyday wear, not just for workouts.
They are not only functional, but also flattering, and a great choice for those who want the stability of the zero-drop Vibrams every day.
4. Mishansha Mens Womens Water Shoes
The ultralightweight and breathable Mishansha Mens Womens Water Shoes are flexible and comfortable.
The upper is made of stretchy, breathable spandex for draining water and ventilating moisture. The rubber sole has an anti-slip pattern, but also has drainage holes to release water and make the shoe more comfortable and breathable.
The elastic straps provide a comfortable, secure fit, and they pull on with the heel tab. They come a staggering 43 colors, with shades and patterns to suit every taste, and are designed for both men and women.
While these shoes are designed for water activities, they are a great choice for yoga, and have a soft sock liner to prevent rubbing and chafing. They perfectly balance protection and security with flexible, breathable comfort that doesn’t bind or constrict the foot.
The Mishansha Mens Womens Water Shoes are a fantastic choice for those who want yoga shoes that can also go outdoors and play in the water.
The unique design of water drainage holes in the sole of the shoe itself allows the feet to dry even more quickly than other designs that have a breathable upper only.
They completely surround the feet for an extra secure fit perfect for water sports like surfing and kayaking.
5. Barerun Barefoot Quick-Dry Water Sports Shoes
The Barerun Barefoot Quick-Dry Water Sports Shoes have a flexible, breathable, polyester upper to provide the comfort of socks in a lightweight shoe.
The thick rubber sole protects the bottom of the foot and provides traction. These lightweight shoes roll up into a tiny size, making them incredibly easy to take to a yoga class, the beach, or on a holiday without weighing you down.
They come in an incredible choice of 45 colors and patterns that combine fashion with function, so you can be discrete or make a statement with these yoga shoes.
The Barerun Barefoot Quick-Dry Water Sports Shoes are another great choice for water sports, and have all the benefits of bare feet, but with extra grip and protection from heat, cold, and sharp objects.
These fashionable quick drying shoes are a great choice for water sports and for wearing around the house.
6. VIFUUR Water Sports Shoes
The VIFUUR Water Sports Shoes have a light, flexible, breathable upper that is smooth on the inside and outside, to prevent rubbing and chafing.
They have the weight and comfort of socks, with a rubber sole for protection and grip, and a thick foam arch support inside for extra comfort. They have extra reinforcement at the toe, and a breathable design to release moisture and dry quickly.
They come in more than 40 colors and patterns, and are sized for both men and women. They also roll up into a tiny size for portability.
The VIFUUR Water Sports Shoes are as comfortable as socks, but with a sole that protects your foot from sharp objects, as well as heat and cold.
The huge range of colors and patterns make these a great choice for people who want to be comfortable as well as fashionable.
7. HMIYA Aqua Socks Beach Water Shoes
The HMIYA Aqua Socks Beach Water Shoes are lightweight, breathable, and flexible as a pair of socks. The sole is made of high-quality material, with shock absorption and protection, as well as grip and slip-resistance.
They are made of smooth, stretchy fabric with a slip-on design, for comfort and security when wearing the shoes. They compress down to a tiny size and come in 44 colors and patterns, to suit any aesthetic. The inner sole is removable for an even more barefoot-like feel.
The HMIYA Aqua Socks Beach Water Shoes have a thickened sole that resists slipping, along with a breathable and quick-drying upper that keeps you comfortable in and out of the water.
They are a great choice for the beach and the pool, comforting and protecting your feet.
8. SIMARI Womens and Mens Water Shoes
The SIMARI Womens and Mens Water Shoes have an upper made of diving material for excellent durability in water and fast-drying breathability.
The smooth neck prevents rubbing and chafing. The soles are made of durable, air-permeable TPR that resists slipping and protects the feet, including thermal protection from heat and cold. The ergonomic sole design is molded to improve traction, provide shock absorbency, and protect the toes.
These shoes weigh only 85 grams and flex or fold down to a tiny size. They come in 21 colors and patterns, with men’s and women’s sizes. SIMARI backs these water shoes with a 52-day money-back guarantee and a one-year warranty.
The SIMARI Womens and Mens Water Shoes have a TPR sole that permeates air for extra quick drying, as well as sturdy slip resistance. The ergonomic design provides support, traction, and shock resistance, in a tiny, lightweight package.
These shoes are so light and foldable that they are a great choice for a beach vacation, where they will take up no room or add weight to your luggage.
Do I need yoga shoes?
Yoga has been done in bare feet for thousands of years. Many yoga traditionalists still have a firm belief that all yoga practice should be done barefoot.
Bare feet in yoga symbolize a greater connection to the earth beneath us, building balance and stability as we are aware of and practicing that connection.
Bare feet build awareness of all the different parts of our feet, and the flexing of the muscles and tendons that react to our smallest movements.
And bare feet can actually be better for yoga, because the soles of our feet are capable of both gripping for stability, and sliding gracefully from pose to pose.
There are, however, many good reasons why people are increasingly adopting yoga shoes, and they may be the better choice for your practice.
If you have any doubts about whether yoga shoes would be welcome in your class or studio, ask your instructor.
Will yoga shoes damage my yoga mat?
Some yoga shoes will actually damage the delicate surface of some yoga mats. The frequency and severity of damage depends on the materials of both surfaces, as well as the kind of yoga you practice.
Rubber soled yoga shoes, particularly if they have a deeply textured sole, may excessively grab and tear at the foam of some yoga mats.
If you are concerned about damaging your yoga mat, you may want to cover it with a non-slip yoga towel, like this one from Heathyoga. The microfiber surface will stand up better to the pressure and grip of textured yoga shoes, and protect the surface of your mat.
How to care for yoga shoes
Yoga shoes are like any other shoes, in the sense that moisture is the fastest way to damage them.
While the yoga shoes we have evaluated today are all breathable and quick-drying, it’s essential that yoga shoes be cleaned and dried thoroughly between wearings.
For that reason, particularly if you practice every day, or do hot yoga, the best solution is to get two pairs of yoga shoes and alternate them, so that each one can dry completely.
Many yoga shoes are machine washable, and should be washed in cold water on a delicate cycle (or follow the manufacturer’s instructions).
If your yoga shoes are not machine washable, here’s how to clean them:
- If necessary, use a brush to gently scrub away any surface dirt or debris
- Fill a tub or bucket with warm water and ¼ cup of vinegar
- Rinse the shoes thoroughly in the vinegar solution. If the shoes are very dirty, allow them to soak for 10-15 minutes
- Rinse in clean water
- Allow them to dry thoroughly before wearing
For extra protection, you can also use an antimicrobial shoe spray that will provide an additional barrier against germs, bacteria, and fungus that are all too common in fitness facilities.
This spray from All Day can be used on your shoes, or directly on your feet, for 24-hour protection.
Our favorite yoga shoes are the FitKicks Womens Special Edition Active Lifestyle Footwear Shoes. We love the light weight and comfortable design that doesn’t bind or constrain the feet, no matter how you move.
We also love that they are machine washable, and have a stylish look that can go anywhere.
If your yoga practice requires greater range of motion in the toes, consider the Vibram Women’s VI-B Fitness Yoga Shoe, which give your entire foot the full range of motion, for superior balance and connection with the earth.
Allen Wei is someone who believes in living his best life, focusing on balance, happiness, and relaxation. He fosters a positive lifestyle in terms of his body, mind, and environment, and he is a huge proponent of learning to be balanced via relaxation techniques integrated into our busy lives.