What it is: High-tech fingerless gloves and toeless socks with yoga-mat material sewn on one side and a stretchy, breathable fabric on the other. The box says, “The yoga mat you wear.” Comes in four sizes for men and women.
What You Might Not Know: Yoga-Paws have been around since 2003, but the new design includes absorbent material in the “gloves” (hand-mats? palm-paws?) to soak up sweatiness. Get this: The towel-like lining in the hand units absorbs seven times its weight in moisture, according to a Yoga-Paws press release. That sounds impressive even if I can’t quite imagine just how much sweat that might amount to. I should test-drive these in Bikram Yoga.
Feelin’ the Love: These mini-mats are really handy, and I liked how the mesh in the “gloves” and the Lycra-spandex in the “socks” felt snug against the backs of my hands and tops of my feet – so no distracting slippage there. I could see myself stuffing Yoga-Paws into my suitcase when flying off to fitness conferences (although I’d still want something like a towel between me, my Yoga-Paws and whatever lurks on hotel-room carpet. Ew.)
Eco alert: The yoga-mat material in Yoga-Paws scores bonus points for being free of chlorides, PVC or latex.
If I Could Change One Thing: I want to be able to toss Yoga-Paws in the washing machine. But they have to be hand-washed. That’s a chore I reserve only for bras and bikinis.
Also, some poses feel better without the paws. For example, I missed having my palms lightly touching each other in Prayer and Tree Poses; the paws’ padding interfered with that subtle connection. (About Tree Pose, though…the foot paw improved my ability to gently rest the sole of my foot on the opposite thigh without feeling like it was going to slide down.)
Should You Buy It: I’d say so, if you travel even sometimes or want the freedom to drop into a yoga class, impromptu – Yoga-Paws easily fit in a large purse or travel bag.
Yoga teachers might also find this product convenient for moving around the room demonstrating poses without their having to stick to one yoga mat at the front of class.
P.S. Fitness Test Drive is a finalist in the 2011 Best Health Blog Awards. Have you voted yet? (Find Fitness Test Drive under the “Get Healthy” category – and vote every day until March 21 if you like.)