These yoga gloves and non-slip toeless socks literally become a wearable and ultra-lightweight yoga mat.
Although I have a relatively regular yoga practice, I'm easily thrown off my game when I don't have my usual studio schedule to stick to—I'm 100 percent a creature of habit. But with a hectic summer schedule, my usual hour-long yoga classes (along with the 30-plus minutes to get ready for and travel to and from class) became impossible to attend regularly. Translation: I had to start practicing yoga by myself. This wasn't too complex to figure out, considering there are about 8439435434 different apps, and online videos offering every possible flow.
What turned out to be tricky, though, was finding an easy way to bring my practice wherever my summer travels took me. Yoga mats are not easily packed—just try sticking one in a carry-on bag and let me know how it goes—and with literally five mats to my name, it seemed downright wasteful to buy a new one for each trip I had planned.
Then I stumbled upon YogaPaws, a set of yoga gloves and nonslip toeless socks that literally become a wearable and ultra-lightweight yoga mat. But could they really do the same job that my Manduka could do during hot Vinyasa? (Related: Is Blacklight Yoga the New Rave Party? )
YogaPaws are made of a stretchy, breathable, top designed to keep your skin cool, while moisture-wicking terry cloth lines the natural rubber bottoms. Although described as "soft and barely there," YogaPaws have elastic that separates the fingers and toes. This caused some rubbing at first, but the more I wore them, the stretchier and softer they became. (Hot tip: the YogaPaws will feel tight at first, then stretch to their final fit within one to three hours of practice, so don't fret.)
Additionally, each Paw offers an impressive amount of cushioning—6mm to be exact—and comfort thanks to the recycled natural rubber. Bonus for sweaty folks like me: There's also a towel lining within the Paws. It absorbs something like seven times its weight in moisture, so the more you sweat, the more you stick.
After a few days with my YogaPaws, I was legitimately hooked. As someone with chronic back and hand/wrist/arm pain (I am a writer, after all), the footies allow me to practice without fear of slipping and twisting my knee, regardless of the surface. Likewise, the padded gloves allowed me to put more weight on my hands where I'd normally feel some achiness in my wrist bones. FYI, for good measure, I practiced in my YogaPaws on grass, on wood, and with a yoga mat, too. (Related: Yoga Poses for Lower Back Pain Relief)
I found immediately that I could get a lot deeper into poses. Despite not being an inversion expert, I've been able to hold crow pose for about 15 seconds—14 more than without YogaPaws, proof that they do indeed provide that much-needed extra grip.
Arguably what I loved most about wearing YogaPaws, though, was how easy they were to clean after practice. It's not that I find cleaning my yoga mat particularly laborious, it's more that there are several moving parts: Not only do I need to wash and dry my sticky towel, but I need to wipe down and disinfect the mat, too. With these babies, you just flip 'em inside out, put them back on your hands, and wash with cold water and soap, as if you were, you know, washing your hands. Easy AF. (FYI, a self-cleaning yoga mat now exists.)
The full sets of four paws come in five different colors and will run you $29, way cheaper than a high-quality mat, and they provide even better performance than a traditional mat would give you. Plus they've allowed me to take my yoga practice on the road and combat the stress of traveling this summer—and can you really put a price on those mental health benefits?!
Needless to say, my YogaPaws will be sticking around for more than the summer—in fact, they've earned a permanent spot in my gym bag.