Should You do Yoga Barefoot or Wear Yoga Socks?
By: Dr. Charlton Woodly, Board-Certified Podiatrist
Whether you’re a dedicated yogi or just like to “namaste” on occasion, you’ve probably done yoga barefoot. This is a requirement at many studios, mostly to prevent tracking in outside dirt. Additionally, many studios ask that its members wear special socks designed for yoga; other studios may give you a choice in the matter. Here are my thoughts on practicing yoga barefoot versus wearing yoga socks:
Yoga is a great form of exercise in terms of foot health. It stretches the foot and toe muscles and can be a great help in treating common foot ailments such as plantar fasciitis and achilles tendonitis. Doing yoga barefoot is perfectly safe, as long as your mat is well sanitized. If the mat is not clean, you can risk fungal infection. Additionally, make sure that you are on the proper surface before doing yoga barefoot. Being barefoot in a clean studio is great but be cautious when doing yoga outside, such as in a park.
Another perk of doing yoga barefoot is that when you lack any extra foot support, such as socks, your feet have to do a bit more work to hold some of those tougher poses. The same goes for balancing poses, such as tree poses. Your muscles have to work to hold you balanced.
Wearing yoga socks is also a great option for those who are uncomfortable being barefoot. Socks are also helpful when you are doing yoga outside of the studio. They prevent against common foot infections and help with gripping the mat. Additionally, depending on the type of sock you purchase, they can help relieve foot pain. The type of sock with toe separators can provide effective foot pain relief that is caused by restrictive footwear, standing for long time, exercise or strenuous sports activities. These are also effective in preventing bunions in feet.
Here are some local spots around Dallas where you can purchase yoga socks:
If you have a pre-existing injury, it is best to be seen by your healthcare provider prior to beginning yoga or any new workout regimen. Additionally, always be sure to tell your yoga instructor about any injuries that you have and they can suggest modifications to the poses. You should never feel embarrassed to make any modifications as needed. It is better to make adjustments than to further your injury. If you have an injury that is impacting your daily life and your yoga practice, I suggest seeing a specialist. They may recommend a brace or some type of athletic tape, or they may suggest a minimally invasive surgery if needed. My clinic specializes in flat feet and bunion surgery that is a quick remedy to these type of ailments.
All in all, I would say that using yoga socks is better for your feet because it protects against common infections. However, if you are in a clean environment, such as a yoga studio, and want to challenge the muscles in your foot, feel free to do yoga barefoot. At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference.
Yoga is a great way to stretch the foot muscles as well as help with anxiety. Yoga works with knees and the muscles throughout your entire leg. Whether you decide to wear yoga socks or to go barefoot, you still will get all the benefits of yoga.
Dr. Woodly’s Bio:
Dr. Charlton Woodly is a highly-trained, board-certified podiatrist who brings over 14 years of experience in providing conservative and surgical treatments to patients at Woodly Foot & Ankle in both Weatherford and Richland Hills, Texas.
A specialist in minimally-invasive procedures and a Hyprocure Master Surgeon, Dr. Woodly is an expert in treating the full spectrum of foot and ankle conditions and injuries, including sports injuries, neuropathy, plantar fasciitis, and toenail fungus. Committed to providing his patients with the most advanced treatment options, he utilizes platelet-rich plasma therapy to remedy heel and ankle pain and dermal fillers to replace natural foot cushioning that has worn down.
Dr. Woodly earned his medical degree at New York College of Podiatric Medicine, followed by an internship and residency at Gouverneur Healthcare Services in Manhattan and Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx. In addition to treating patients in his private practice, Dr. Woodly is on staff at Weatherford Regional Medical Center. He is a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association and the Texas Podiatric Medical Association.