Yoga shoes . . . they don’t *quite* belong in the same sentence, and yet the two are deeply connected in important ways, for your body and for your fashion sense. If you’ve ever caught yourself checking out your pedicure (or your teacher’s) during an extended Utanasana, you’ll know that yoga brings up all sorts of foot-presentation requirements that don’t have to do with enlightenment at all. As a teacher, I’m indeed highly conscious of making sure my feet are in their best shape for my students, especially as I wiggle myself around while providing hands-on adjustments.
More so than that, though, yoga teaches us about the importance of the foundation in your asana practice—and in your life. We traditionally ground a pose from the feet up, feeling the shifts in balance between our three main arches, where we normally distribute weight based on our bone structure and how we’ve walked and stood for the remainder of our lives, and how to achieve a more “optimal” and equal distribution of weight on those tiny but strong bones. When we stand firmly in our feet, we can rebound up—grow longer and taller through all our limbs—with greater ease and power.
How this translates off our mats is an important part of a yogi’s overall foot care, if she wants to make her practice a life-long one. Just as you can’t practice compassion and mindfulness in class then go out onto the street and start pushing people on the subway, you can’t practice a healthy foot asana on the mat then shuffle along in your worn-out flip flops and expect to achieve any kind of yogic state. But finding truly comfortable, supportive footwear that’s also vegan and sustainable (i.e., ultra-yogic) can be as challenging as Koundinyasana. Thankfully, some pro yoga instructors—who not only practice hard but endure days of walking on hard floors as they teach—and conscious brands are here to help with their footwear faves. Anyone ready for some foot savasana?
These shoes are completely in line with a yogic mood, with their whimsical pattern, close and cushy construction, and fun colors. They hug your feet like your favorite leggings.
If Sporty Spice is your girl-band spirit animal/style icon, than these sneakers are for you. Recommended by Samantha Attard (Happy Healthy Human), they surround your feet in a cloud of cushion even as your busy life keeps you runnin’-runnin’ you around town.
These sustainable, innovative wool sneakers are incredibly durable and ultra minimalist in their construction and design. The material uses 60 percent less energy than synthetics, and they’re cruelty-free: according to Allbirds’ website, all their “merino wool is ZQ-certified, which means it meets stringent standards of sustainable farming and animal welfare. In other words, no sheep were harmed in the making of these shoes.” With built-in temperature and odor control and moisture wicking, they’re perfect for going to and from class. Recommended by MindBodyGreen and Makaia Carr.
This shoe “system” includes a grippy sock-like “shoe,” akin to a Barre sock to help prevent slipping on sweaty mats, plus an outer wrap to take you to the streets. A long-time leader in sustainability, Nike is a brand that knows athletes’ feet better than anyone, so they’re a sure thing. Approved by Brett Larkin.
Elevate your sandal game with these shoes literally made from old yoga mats. You’ll feel held and ready to surrender just like in Supported Supta Baddhokonasana.
Got a chic pair of yogi #shinyponies? Show us on Instagram #peacefuldumpling!
Photographs: pexels.com; 6pm.com; Adidas.com; allbirds.com; news.nike.com; sanuk.com