Gear Guide: Yoga-Paws
Everywhere you turn, there seems to be a new yoga-related must-have that’s really anything but—mat washes made with aromatic oils, übercushioned slip-ons to pamper your tootsies post-class, personalized mats bearing images of such things as your long-lost childhood pet, Fifi. At first glance, I was tempted to put Yoga-Paws in this same category—but then I took a closer look.
These are basically square pieces of yoga mat that you wear on your hands and feet and use in place of (or in addition to) your regular yoga mat. I was impressed right away by the traction they provide—the Paws literally do not budge on the floor, carpet, or mat (trust me, I've tried).
But why not just use a regular sticky mat? I can think of two scenarios in which they would be good to have:
1. When you're traveling. They're thicker (read: have comfier padding) than most travel mats but take up significantly less space in your luggage (they'll fit in your purse).
2. When you sweat a lot. The Paws are lined with a towel-like material to wick sweat, making them an excellent addition to your regular yoga practice if you suffer from slippery palms and feet.
Two more cool things: The tops are made of mesh, so you don’t overburden those sweat-absorbing liners, and the rubber mats are PVC-free (PVC is a toxic, non-biodegradable plastic that's good neither for you nor the planet).
Of course, the obvious drawback here is that if you’re using Yoga-Paws in place of a mat, you’re limited when it comes to the poses you can perform. Any pose that requires you to put your knees down won’t be very comfortable to do, and if you're traveling, lying-down poses will bring you really close to the hotel carpeting (and let’s not dwell on what might be lurking in THAT).
Are Yoga-Paws true must-haves? Nah. But if you travel a lot or have to wrangle with sweaty palms during yoga class, they may be worth the investment.
Pros: Ultra-portable and sweat-absorbing, these wearable yoga mats provide great traction on all kinds of surfaces.
Cons: Using them in place of a regular mat limits the poses you can do comfortably.
Cost: $34.95 at Yoga-Paws.com
Extra tip: You order based on your hand size; if the foot mats don’t fit, the company will replace them for free.