Typical yoga clothes are worse for men than skin-tight lycra. We’re used to dressing like fools on the bike, but not in a gym crowded with others! It’s still sort of embarrassing for men to even show up to a yoga studio, let alone go shopping for “yoga pants” beforehand.

Yoga pants, shirts, and socks are definitely on the expensive side, too. So what is a guy to do when he wants to take his yoga to the next level but doesn’t understand the point of yoga-specific clothing?

Read this guide, that’s what! Continue reading to discover why yoga clothing makes a difference, what the popular choices are, and where you can get them.

Men’s Yoga Pants

yogasmoga mens yoga pants

Right off the bat, let’s talk about the most expensive item here – yoga pants. Let me be the first to admit that I initially wrote off yoga pants as not only a waste of money, but completely unnecessary regardless of price. Boy was I wrong!

As it turns out, a good pair of yoga pants allows you to move freely in all directions (without ripping or shifting around) and gives you a good grip (compared to sweaty skin) for certain poses (like tree and crow.) Those poses are much easier to hold when you have some clothing providing friction, rather than sweaty skin on sweaty skin. That’s why you don’t want yoga shorts.

What You Want:

As with most athletic wear, look for lightweight, moisture-wicking fabrics. Look for roughly an 80/20 ratio of cotton/spandex. You don’t want pure spandex pants (think 80’s aerobics videos,) as they would be too slippery. Also, you don’t want something that will tear in the crotch seams when you’re totally stretched out!

The pants should be a loose fit and very stretchy, allowing you to move freely. You should be able to see your feet, and the pants should not drag on ground. Personally, I like knickers the best.

Lastly, pay attention if there is a drawstring waist, because the strings on some brands can cause discomfort while lying facedown.

Popular Choices:

Those two are the highest-rated yoga pants for men at Amazon.com.

The Alternatives:

  • Pajama pants
  • Performance-oriented long underwear
  • Scrubs
  • Sweatpants from Target

I have some pajama pants from Puma that look exactly like yoga pants, and I got them for $10! There are good alternatives if you look around, and sweatpants can be used as a last resort.

mens yogasmoga sherpa shirt

Men’s Yoga Shirts

When it comes to shirts, I haven’t found anything special about yoga shirts. They all seem to be overpriced t-shirts and tank tops!

What You Want:

The ideal yoga shirt is made of a sweat-wicking fabric to keep you comfortable. It should also be fairly tight, not baggy.

Sleeveless shirts are the best because they allow full range of motion for your shoulders.

Popular Choices:

These are really just cotton t-shirts, but prAna is a well-known brand in the yoga community.

The Alternatives:

  • Under Armour fitted shirts (not compression)
  • Tight base layers from your cycling/running collection
  • Soft cotton t-shirts (like those from American Apparel)

If you’re not familiar with the Under Armour line-up, they offer “fitted” shirts, which have a tight, non-baggy fit, but they’re not compression garments. These are nice shirts, and you can usually find them on sale for less than the average compression shirt.

Another nice (and inexpensive) option is a plain cotton t-shirt. I especially like the ones from American Apparel. They’re soft, and the sleeves move with your body. Cotton won’t necessarily wick sweat very well, but I still love these t-shirts.

If you look for earth tones (perhaps tan, olive, and burgundy,) your not-so-yoga-specific clothes will still blend in!

Yoga Socks

Your last choice is – go in bare feet or yoga socks?

Both choices are typically acceptable. Most of the time, people go barefoot. However, depending on if you’re using a public mat or your own, you might feel better if there’s something covering your feet. Or, if your feet smell really bad, do everyone a favor and cover them up!

What You Want:

If you want to be absolutely sure you won’t slip, or if you want to protect your feet from germs (especially if borrowing a yoga mat,) yoga socks are a good idea. The goal is to find a pair of socks that gives you traction against a sweaty yoga mat.

Choose a comfortable pair of socks that provide some sort of rubber surface on the bottom.

Popular Choices:

ToeSox are the highest-rated yoga socks and come in two different options.

The Alternatives:

If ToeSox seem a little odd, you can just use some standard socks made for extra traction on hardwood floors. Or go barefoot.

Yoga Stores (And Alternative Shopping Ideas)

Personally, if I was just getting started with yoga and wanted to save money, I’d check Marshall’s, Ross, and TJ Maxx first. These stores usually have great items that can work well for yoga. I have yet to see the expensive yoga brands there, but what I have found is plenty good enough for me.

Then the two old standbys, Target and Old Navy. These stores have decent athletic apparel for both men and women at extremely low prices. It won’t be the highest quality, but it will be a great value.

If you’re more picky, try REI and Amazon.com to find great deals on quality, yoga-specific clothing.

Yoga Clothes Summary

At first glance, yoga clothing seems like no big deal. But if you’re actually doing yoga on a daily basis, you see that good quality gear can be worth the price. Gym shorts and an old white t-shirt are not the ideal wardrobe!

So if you’re doing yoga, take my advice for affordable, quality yoga apparel.


This article was originally published on June 20, 2012. It was last updated on February 20, 2019, a time when it was no longer embarrassing for men to wear yoga clothes.

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  1. Here’s my 2 cents. Men need to stop wearing those tight manmade fiber clothes . I have a yoga shirt for men, woven hemp just like my Yoga pants. I like selling to men they are so proud & want to look good. Men are very interested in the green movement . pretty much left out when it comes to nice comfortable fashionable clothes. polyester is made out of oil . your skin breathes in all the toxins. Its not suited for athletic apparel

    Designer Anna Herman

    • I would like to see the shirts you are talking about. I am a large guy I wear a 2x in most shirts and some stores carry a 1x which is great

  2. @Anna

    Thanks for the insights! Great to hear from a designer!

  3. I personally have run into this situation in my past and was the exact reason Eagle Warrior Yoga was started. I had been practicing yoga for almost two years when I reached a point that I finally felt comfortable enough to venture out of my standard sweat pants and basketball shorts and attempt to buy something more specialized. My first trip as most men will do is to the internet. NOT a retail store. We are just to shy at first to think of even venturing into stores that sell the yoga clothes. Thus when we search online we come to the main brands of Lululemon, PraNa, bePresent, and Vickery which after closer look seem to have no understanding of a man’s physique. There is nothing special about the items other than a pair of knickers here or there which appear to be a shortened version of a pair of sweats.
    After realizing there wasn’t much thought about the men who are constantly increasing in numbers in the yoga community I set out to add a few new choices to the men who were looking for something unique and fine tuned to men. Made by a man for men.
    Organic fabrics are extremely important as well as sustainable materials and practices. Local manufacturing and a charitable cause where all things I was looking for in other companies and found that they all seemed to lack bits and pieces of this.
    I now cannot imagine using anything other than my own yoga pants which many other guys have now claimed to be the best men’s yoga pants on the market. We hope that you take a moment to check out our site and join us in a mission to give back and make a new name and image for male yogis.

    -Eric Butler
    Eagle Warrior Yoga

    “Make every practice a conquest!”

  4. Now I may not be an expert on “yoga” but I did pull my hamstring last year while getting into my pickup. Let me tell you, all that stretching is bad for your joints and the environment. “Downward dog?” More like: “Sit down and have a Coors Light.”

    “Yoga” gave my aunt diabetes. FACT. However, I am interested in what Coach Levi has to say about Greek Yoga, given its highly controversial reputation.

    I will admit that I found this guide extremely helpful, but only because “Yoga” clothing is the new tuxedo. If you’re offroading, hunting rabbits, or simply going into the city to get some diesel, you better bring your “Yoga” pants. Mine are camouflage and I like they way they accentuate my bulges. And by “bulges” i mean huge bulges of ammo and money in my pockets! Now all the ladies know I’m rich and all the various varmints know they’re soon to be dead.

    -DaQuan Hanks
    Environmental Protectionist
    Wilderness, U.S.A.

    “Yoga is unhealthy.”

  5. I agree with the author, men’s yoga pants should be stylish and comfortable. Especially if the guy is just starting to attend a yoga class. And in general, stylish and comfortable clothes are always more versatile. In it you can go to the store or go for a walk with a dog. I use very comfortable yoga clothes from brand “4-rth”. It is very comfortable and looks great.

  6. I don’t want to start yoga with shopping for more stuff.
    If going green I want to use what I have. Probably won’t use white cotton long johns. But running compression shorts should be fine for the first few sessions until finding out what is really needed.

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