A new trend is sweeping the yoga communities of the West: socks and gloves meant for use during practice. The practicality of these accessories isn’t necessarily obvious – why would one need extra padding on the hands and feet when the mat already provides grip?
These socks and gloves aren’t cheap. Yogis rightfully may wonder whether such accessories are any more than a marketing scheme. However, it turns out that there are some valid benefits to yoga socks and gloves. Here’s what you need to know:
The first thing to recognize is that whether or not these accessories hold up to the hype really depends on the individual yogi and their specific practice.
The main reason people enjoy these socks and gloves is for the added grip they provide. While many practitioners feel that their grip needs are taken care of by the mat, those who sweat more in general or partake in hot yoga may benefit from a little extra something. Tiny grip bumps on the bottom of the socks and gloves provide this extra security.
There are other draws for having a bit more protection on your feet and hands. Yogis with circulation issues may appreciate the extra warmth provided by these accessories. Those with injuries or skin sensitivity may find this extra layer beneficial as well.
While socks and gloves make sense for some, for others, they may not offer much more than style. It’s important to recognize which brands offer real benefits and which might be trying to sell people something they don’t need.
For instance, some brands advertise that with yoga socks and gloves, there’s no need for a mat. They claim that these accessories can effectively replace the mat, offering a more portable option for carrying.
Support and padding are so important for our joints and muscles when we practice. True, socks and gloves can provide this for our hands and feet, but what about those poses which require knees, thighs, elbows, and stomachs to touch the ground? Camel pose, locust pose, and child’s pose are just a few examples of instances where our bodies need more support. It is extremely hard for our bodies to do most poses without adequate padding, and practicing with only hand and foot padding is downright dangerous.
Other complaints include: these accessories fit too tight and cut off circulation, and might cause you to slip around once you build up some sweat. Both of these are potentially dangerous as well – as any true yogi knows, a slip-up or a fall in yoga can do serious damage.
Ultimately, there are a variety of reasons why some yogis may enjoy and appreciate yoga gloves and socks. However, they should never be used in place of a mat. Yogis would do well to consider the unique needs of their bodies before investing in these accessories.