I am light on my toes and quiet on my neighbors’ ears.

By Marietta Alessi
April 10, 2020
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Anyone who knows me can attest to this: I am not the quietest person at the gym. I’m totally that girl exhaling sharply with every punch I throw in my boxing class and doing quick feet as hard and fast as I possibly can during every HIIT workout.

So when I started exercising from home in my 3rd-floor walk-up, I wanted to be respectful of my roommate and neighbors, but I also wanted to make sure I could still bring the same intensity from the gym to my at-home sweat sessions. (Related: These Trainers and Studios Are Offering Free Online Workout Classes Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic)

In other words, I needed to sound-proof my workouts, so that I could leave everything on the mat—er, hardwood floor. I already had a cushy Gaiam Performance Jute Yoga Mat (Buy It, $40, gaiam.com) and wireless headphones—I swear by these JBL Reflect Flow In-Ear Wireless Sport Headphones (Buy It, $150, bestbuy.com)—however, I was still afraid that slamming down on my jump squats and pivoting as I threw my right hooks would have my downstairs neighbors wanting to murder me.

But then it dawned on me: I could work out in grippy barre socks! Grippy socks are super lightweight and obviously less chunky than training shoes, and yet they still offer their own unique benefits, like a heel tab that protects your Achilles tendon, arch bands that provide lift and support, and a design that allows your toes to naturally spread. Not only are they insanely comfortable, but I can also be light on my feet and whisper-ish quiet in all of my movements. (Related: Steal These Trainers Tips How to Effectively Work Out At Home)

I own three pairs of barre socks, but my favorites are the Half Toe Ballerina Grip Socks (Buy It, $18, carbon38.com). They go on like a normal sock but are designed to be worn without shoes—and remain on your foot through tricky moves, thanks to the snug fit and no-slip bottoms. They're also made of breathable organic cotton, so they don't stink or hold onto sweat like my other socks (gross, I know). (Related: I Tried Odor-Fighting Socks to Keep My Feet Fresh Post-Workout, and I’ll Never Look Back)

While the socks are technically designed for Pilates, yoga, or dance, I’ve found that they work equally well in my boxing, HIIT, and strength workouts at-home. The grippy dots on the sole provide traction for my mountain climbers, stability for my Romanian deadlifts, and keep me from sliding on my hardwood floors while I pivot on my power punches. Plus, I land *so* much softer with the ToeSox on my jump squats and burpees. (Related: The No-Jumping, Apartment-Friendly HIIT Workout That Won't Piss Off Your Neighbors Or Your Knees)

On the days when the ToeSox are in the wash and I think I can do my workouts barefoot, I’m rudely mistaken. When I box, I can’t pivot as fast as I’d like, which leaves my punches weak and my form crappy; during strength training, I wobble so much on single-leg movements that I fear I may roll an ankle. If you're thinking, why not put on a pair of sneakers, I get it—but there are actually a lot of benefits to barefoot training.

When I'm wearing the Half Toe Ballerina Grip Socks, I definitely feel like I’m able to move faster and get the same sweat equity I get from an in-studio fitness class all while not disturbing the people around me. And I know I'll keep using this hack even once I'm out of quarantine—these ToeSox will be perfect for vacation workouts, since they are way easier to pack than sneakers. (Psst, already thinking about your first getaway post-quarantine? These hotels have the best gyms.)

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