9 Best Grip Socks —  Workout Socks for Pilates, Barre and Yoga
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9 Best Grip Socks — Workout Socks for Pilates, Barre and Yoga

Aug 29, 2023

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Don't show up to your next workout class without these must-have essentials.

Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, grip socks are an insanely helpful accessory in everything from yoga and Pilates to barre, especially if you're looking for more stability during your workouts. These popular workout class essentials help provide extra traction on yoga mats and exercise mats or even machines like Pilates reformers to help provide extra balance and security in order to prevent injury. But as widely available and popular as grip socks have become, it can be hard to find a pair you can trust or something that'll last through more than a few workouts — that's where we come in.

The Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab evaluates socks of all kinds, from everyday cozy lounge socks to knee high compression socks. Our analysts tested more than 90 different styles over the past year to find the best socks for every type of activity, assessing various performance and durability aspects both in standardized Lab tests and feedback from consumer testers. The picks ahead are from top performing pairs in our tests, with favorites from our testers who put these through everything from Pilates and strength training to aerial silks, plus popular online styles with rave reviews.

Read on for more about how we test grip socks and tips on what to look for when shopping for your next pair. Looking for more workout gear? Check out our guides to the best sports bras and best workout leggings.

Tavi Active's grip socks are the truly best we've ever tested. They received high scores across the board from our consumer testers, who told us they stayed in place during all kinds of workouts, including yoga, Pilates, barre, strength training and more. One tester raved, "I didn't feel the grips through the socks too much," and gave this style a perfect score for comfort. Other testers commended the durability of the grippy bottom, including one who said, "I haven't noticed any changes in the quality of these socks, even after months of consistent use." The fabric also performed well in Lab tests, with great abrasion resistance and respectable moisture-wicking. The caveat is that this pair shrank more than other styles we tested, so if you're in between two sizes, consider sizing up.

On the fence about buying a pair of grip socks? These come in a pack of two, so you can split with a friend or workout buddy and spend less than $10 to try them out. On top of that, they're an Amazon best seller with more than 28,000 reviews and an average 4.6-star rating. While we haven't been able to personally test this style yet, similar socks have received high scores for their stylish ballet shoe appearance from users in our evaluations. Our analysts also appreciate that these socks feature extra cushioning on the sole for additional comfort.

While toe socks may seem intimidating if you haven't tried them before, they allow for full toe splay to help ensure that your body weight is distributed evenly. This pair features grips along every inch of the sole, which our testers found helpful for certain Pilates and yoga exercises like downward dog. Several testers praised their "excellent grip" and gave this pair high scores for its cushioning feel and snug fit. Some shared that it took time for them to adjust to the unique feel of these socks, and while it wasn't the best fit for all of our testers, some revealed that they were surprised by just how much they liked them.

These simple, lightweight socks have mesh ventilation zones on the top of the sock that testers found great for preventing sweaty feet during different types of workouts. Several testers noted that these had the perfect amount of grip for barre, making it easy to switch from a plié to a tendu but didn't slide around too much during mat exercises. A few even commented on how comfortable these socks felt on their feet, although some testers who typically use more cushioned grip socks weren't fans of the thinness of this pair. They also excelled in Lab tests, with top scores for abrasion resistance with less shrinkage compared to other socks.

When you like being able to feel the yoga mat or ground beneath your feet but still want the extra stability grip socks provide, this pair from toeless is for you. Gaiam is a popular brand in our tests for their excellent yoga gear and accessories, including yoga mats. Our experts also like that these socks can provide additional warmth during cold months without causing you to slide during your workouts. Just note that not all users liked the toeless design when we tested it.

Tavi makes our list again, but this time for one of their new releases that combines their top-performing grippy soles with ventilated mesh panels for additional breathability. Testers gave these socks top scores across the board, with one tester commenting, "The grips on the bottom were very 'grippy' which means I could do any activity without fear of my feet slipping. The mesh-like material on the top of the foot was nice for keeping my feet cooler and dry." Another tester also shared that this pair "provided nice grip on a Pilates reformer." The fabric proved durable in tests, with high marks for abrasion resistance, but did shrink more than other styles, so if you're between sizes, consider sizing up.

Known for their celebrity-loved activewear, Alo Yoga's grip socks stood out to our testers for their "cute, sleek design," earning the highest appearance score among the grip socks we tested. Testers called the fabric "soft and cozy" and gave good scores for the cushioned sole. In Lab tests, they held up well, with respectable shrinkage scores and average abrasion resistance. Just note that for some exercises, such as planks, our testers noticed these socks moved a little more than other grip socks they've used.

Want the stability of grip socks without feeling the grips on your feet? These are the most cushioned ones we've tested. One tester even called them "the most pillow-y grip socks I've ever tried." While they aren't as stylish as some of the grip socks we've tested, testers still liked the look of these, highlighting the cutout on the top of each sock for adding breathability. Testers with size 9 feet found them "effective during intense barre movements" and noted that they "did not move around during workouts" while those with size 6 feet felt that they moved around more than others they've tried, so your experience may vary.

If you struggle with finding a grip sock that'll stay put on your feet, this style features a compressive band around the midfoot that provides targeted compression against the arch of your feet. There's also cushioning along the sole for extra comfort. Bombas is a constant top-performer in our tests, so while we haven't gotten the chance to try this pair ourselves, our analysts can't wait to put this pair to the test.

The Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Labs tests all types of socks, from specialty running and hiking socks to everyday no-show socks and warm socks. In the past year, our product experts evaluated more than 90 different styles in the Lab and worked with hundreds of consumer testers, analyzing over 18,000 data points for performance and durability.

To find the best grip socks, we sent pairs to dozens of testers who put them through Pilates, yoga, aerial silks and barre workouts to evaluate each for fit, comfort, functionality, cushioning and more. In Lab tests, our analysts evaluated dimensional stability, washability, abrasion resistance and any moisture-wicking claims.

Whether you're new to grip socks or have tried dozens of pairs, it can be hard to differentiate between different styles. Here are some ways to distinguish between the different ones available:

✔️ Materials: Socks are typically made using a blend of fibers, including synthetic ones like polyester or nylon, to add necessary shape and structure for the sock, and spandex or elastane, to add stretch for a good fit. Nylon and polyester are typically more moisture-wicking compared to natural cellulosic or protein-based fibers. Other fibers like cotton or acrylic, which mimic wool, are good for adding softness. Cotton is also known for its breathability, thanks to its fiber structure.

✔️ Style: The main styles available for grip socks vary from traditional ankle socks to those with mesh and toe socks to socks with cutouts or ballet shoe-like top straps or toeless options. Each style has its own merits, so this is more a matter of personal preference.

✔️ Sizing: To ensure a proper, stay-in-place fit, those with smaller or larger feet should search for socks that come in multiple sizes. ✔️Features: Some socks have unique features, such as mesh ventilation or compressive bands, which can help add breathability for those prone to sweaty feet or provide a secure fit for users who need more grip than others. Cushioned soles are typically preferred by most of our testers but may not be ideal for those who like being able to feel the ground beneath them.✔️ Grips: The "grips" on grip socks are typically made of silicone or a thin polyvinyl chloride or PVC. The pattern of the grips on the sole help determine exactly where the socks provide traction and stability. If you typically find yourself on your toes during your workouts, look for a pair with more grips in that area.

Grace Wu is a Textiles Product Review Analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute who oversaw recent in-Lab and consumer tests for all socks, including no-show socks, compression socks, hiking socks and running socks. Prior to joining GH, Grace earned a Master of Engineering in Materials Science & Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Fiber Science from Cornell University.

Grace Wu (she/her) is a product reviews analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute's Textiles, Paper and Apparel Lab, where she evaluates fabric-based products using specialized equipment and consumer tester data. Prior to starting at Good Housekeeping in 2022, she earned a master of engineering in materials science and engineering and a bachelor of science in fiber science from Cornell University. While earning her degrees, Grace worked in research laboratories for smart textiles and nanotechnology and held internships at Open Style Lab and Rent the Runway.

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Our top picks:stayed in place during all kinds of workouts," Amazon best seller with more than 28,000 reviews allow forfull toe splay to help ensure that your body weight is distributed evenlyperfect amount of grip for barre, making it easy to switch from a plié to a tendufeel the yoga mat or ground beneath your feet but still want the extra stabilitytop-performing grippy soles with ventilated mesh panels for additional breathabilitycute, sleek designthe most pillow-y grip socks I've ever triedcompressive band around the midfoot that provides targeted compression against the arch of your feetmore than 90 different styles18,000 data points Materials: Style: SizingFeaturesGrips: Grace Wu