What do guys wear to yoga?

I’m sure that question echoes through the minds of every man contemplating a yoga class.

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.

Yoga shorts are available, but I find yoga pants to be much more practical.

How to Choose Good Yoga Pants

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!

Other good materials include hemp and bamboo. (Bonus points for being eco-friendly.)

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 3/4 length 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

Look for well-known, established brands like prAna, lululemon, 4-rth, and Manduka. Here are three of the highest-rated yoga pants for men (available at Amazon.com):


Yoga Pant Alternatives

If you’re not ready to spend $50-100 on yoga pants, here are some other options. You might even own these already!

  • Pajama pants
  • Performance-oriented long underwear
  • Climbing/bouldering pants
  • 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/joggers 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 too special about yoga shirts. They all seem to be overpriced t-shirts and tank tops!

What To Look For

The ideal yoga shirt is made of a lightweight, sweat-wicking fabric to keep you comfortable. I don’t worry too much about any particular material, but I try to avoid cotton for hot yoga classes where I’ll sweat a lot.

Your shirt should also be fairly tight, not baggy. You don’t want a shirt that rides up your back or drapes over your head during inversions.

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

Popular Choices

You are welcome to stick with well-known yoga brands, but there are many good athletic brands that make quality shirts. Here are some good ones from top brands:

If those look like regular ole shirts that are expensive because they are yoga shirts, yeah, that’s essentially what’s going on.

The Alternatives

Just about any shirt will do, especially if you’re just getting started. Here are some ideas:

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

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. Consider the Tech tee.

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.

You can even find good shirts and tank tops at your local Gap or Old Navy.

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 Are Yoga Socks?

Yoga socks are socks with grip on the bottom. 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 Socks

ToeSox are the highest-rated yoga socks and come in two different options – full coverage or half-toe.

These socks 1) provide grip and 2) still allow you to spread your toes out for balance.

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.

  • Non-slip hospital socks
  • Go barefoot

Consider these Muezna socks made for yoga and barre classes or StopSocks, which are claimed to be the world’s best grip socks.

Yoga Stores (And Alternative Shopping Ideas)

Some of the big brands, like lululemon, are now offering men’s yoga clothes in their stores. The clothes are fantastic… and priced accordingly. But if you have the disposable income, go for it! It’s becoming commonplace for guys to buy yoga and “athleisure” clothing.

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 or offer out-of-this-world comfort, but it will be a great value.

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

Men, Get Some Yoga Pants!

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. With the proper attire, you’ll enjoy yoga more and realize more of the stress-relief and flexibility benefits.

 

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 buy or wear yoga clothes.

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9 Comments
  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
    Designer/CEO
    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.

  7. Guys,

    Just mosey on down to a martial arts supply place and get yourself a pair of 100% cotton Gi pants. (Black or white)

    The crotch is gusseted for kicking and crouching. Loose fitting and breathable, very tough.
    The rigors of stretching in MA are very similar to yoga.
    The uniform is what it is to deal with that.

    A Cotton tank top will suffice for a shirt.

    There you are… now they are yoga pants.

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