Cotton Soles or Rubber Soles: What is the Best Choice for Tai Chi Slippers?

Choosing the right type of footwear for your tai chi classes can make all the difference in your comfort, support, and even in your ability to effectively perform the graceful, constantly flowing movements of tai chi. Some practitioners feel that any kind of shoe worn during tai chi is a “foot prison,” but it doesn’t have to be that way at all! You just have to find the shoe that is right for you as an individual.

 

Since mindfulness is such an essential component of tai chi, it’s important to keep in mind that many practitioners will also often eventually choose to practise the art outdoors, enhancing the experience with the beauty and peacefulness of nature. Proper tai chi slippers will help prevent injury when performing tai chi movements outdoors while still offering that much sought after grounding connection to the earth that is such a healing part of outdoor activity. The key is to pick footwear that is thin and light, but still durable and supportive for indoor and outdoor settings. Which brings us to one of the most frequently asked questions about tai chi shoes — should you wear cotton or rubber-soled shoes?

Tai Chi Slippers with Cotton Soles are Ideal for Indoor Use

Cotton soles are ideal for light, easy movement and usually designed primarily for indoor use. With a cotton-soled, canvas tai chi slipper, you don’t have to worry about your feet feeling restricted or imprisoned. Cotton is just the kind of shoe you want when you’re practising tai chi indoors, including at your indoor classes. These shoes by Ace Martial Arts supply, for instance, are particularly highly rated and enjoyed on Amazon. However, reviewers have noted that they seem to run small, so you may want to size up when purchasing them.

Tai Chi Slippers with Rubber Soles are Better for Outdoor Use

Rubber tai chi slippers, on the other hand, may be a better choice for those outdoor practices. While they should still hold up on hard surfaces, cotton-soled shoes can quickly become messy when doing tai chi moves in grassy areas or among the elements. Even on hard surfaces, shoes with cotton soles usually just aren’t designed to be used outside like rubber-soled slippers, which have a better grip and are typically made of more absorbent materials. If you plan on doing a lot of your tai chi outdoors, you may want to buy a pair of rubber-soled slippers, so that you don’t end up ruining your cotton shoes. Ace Martial Arts supply provides a great rubber-soled shoe that is a comfortable canvas and still designed for outdoor use, as well.

 

When it comes to choosing the right tai chi footwear, you may need to try out different brands and types of shoes to get a feel for what works for you. You’ll likely find that it’s worth it to have separate shoes for your indoor and outdoor classes, so as to keep your shoes in top shape.

Tai Chi in York

Tai Chi is one of the best exercises that you can do for your mind and body. You can enjoy tai chi on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays in York with varied times and locations to meet your needs. Come beat stress and learn how to really relax with this ancient art form that is truly perfect for all ages and movement abilities.

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How to Find the Best Tai Chi Slippers For You

Any time you practice a new physical activity, it’s best to make sure that you have the best equipment available to you. This is so that you can get the most out of your workout but also so you can stay safe and healthy. If you are practicing tai chi, the equipment to focus on is your shoes.

You may be tempted to wear your normal athletic shoes while you are practicing, however they are not ideal for the careful, controlled movements that tai chi requires. They will provide too much traction which can cause you to injure your knees as you practice. The athletic shoes you have in your closet probably also have a slightly elevated heel which can throw off your posture as you learn in class. Slippers designed for tai chi will be the safest, most comfortable option for you.

Indoors or Outdoors

What sort of slippers that are best for you will depend on whether you attend classes inside, outside, or both. Slippers designed to be worn inside will be made of cloth and will be very soft and lightweight. Shoes designed to be worn outside will have a rubber sole and may resemble a traditional athletic shoe. You can also find hybrid shoes that have a very thin rubber sole if you prefer.

Choosing the Right Tai Chi Slippers

Tai Chi slippers are often inexpensive and are extremely convenient; they’re very easy to pack and carry with you. You will also feel a greater connection to the ground while you practice. That said, these sort of shoes get dirty and worn down easily if you don’t take care of them. They are not idea for practicing outside as they cannot protect your feet from rocky ground.

If your studio has a glossy floor, you may find that your feet slide if you’re a beginner. You will adjust to this in time as you grow more comfortable. A great option for cloth tai chi slippers can be found on Amazon. Do keep in mind when you are ordering that the exact size isn’t a guarantee so please check out the reviews and recommendations from others.

Tai Chi shoes designed to be worn outside will look more like a traditional athletic shoe that you can wear for other sorts, however it will be softer and have a slimmer profile. These shoes are more sturdy and will hold up longer and are also often available in bigger sizes than other options are.

Something In Between

The hybrid option is essentially a soft upper with a slim rubber sole. This option is useful both indoor and outdoor. They are more durable than the exclusively indoor slippers but are generally more comfortable than low profile athletic shoes. Your foot will be lighter and you’ll be less likely to end up sweaty than if you wear an athletic shoe. Double check with your instructor before you wear shoes in their studio that you have worn outside. They may prefer that you wear tai chi slippers or be barefoot.

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What Your Feet Can Tell You About Your Overall Health

One of the most important things to understand about wellness is how each part of your body plays a role in your health. You may be surprised to learn how some of the smaller features of your body, features that may not always draw your attention, can actually provide clues to your overall health. Your eyes, for example, can reveal to your doctor valuable information about your blood pressure and even diabetes. Your feet, as well, can offer insight into your health.

Let’s take a look at some common foot symptoms and what your feet might be trying to tell you:

Wounds That Won’t Heal

If you have a wound or ulcer on your foot that isn’t healing, you might want to check your blood glucose levels. Open sores, particularly on the bottom of the foot, are an extremely common problem in people with diabetes, and can be caused by everything from circulation issues to neuropathy related to diabetes. All of this, of course, can turn serious. Diabetic neuropathy can also cause foot tingling or numbness. If any of these things occur, visit your GP to discuss the problem, as well as your blood sugar control. Open wounds can end up causing dangerous infections.

Toenail Problems

When examining your feet for problems, take special note of your toenails. Spoon-shaped nails could be a sign of a nutritional deficiency, such as anaemia caused by a lack of iron (or its opposite, hemochromatosis, too much iron), as well as a variety of other conditions. Toenails that are strangely coloured, particularly yellow, could also indicate medical problems, some even serious. This is another time when you’ll want to pop into your GP for a quick foot check-up.

Foot Spasms, Tingling, or Pain

Foot spasms or pain can be a sign of a long day at the office, or an athletic injury, but just like the other symptoms on this list, it can also be a sign of something more concerning. Nutritional deficiencies, circulation problems, injuries, and more can all result in pain or tingling. One condition, plantar fasciitis, is a common cause of heel pain and results from inflammation of the connective tissues on the bottom of your foot. Your GP can help sort it all out.

Swollen Feet

Swollen feet can be another signal of circulatory problems and definitely warrants a visit to your GP. If swelling and even pain is felt more in your joints, like your toes, you might have a form of arthritis. Of course, swollen feet can also just be a sign of too much stress on the feet, but if you’re noticing the symptom regularly, a check-up can help ease your mind.

Freezing Feet

We’ve all had those moments where our feet are icy, and chances are good that you just need some extra layers on your feet, but if your feet are always cold, you could have anything from a thyroid condition to, yes, the aforementioned circulatory issues. If you’re overly tired or have noticed unusual weight gain alongside your freezing feet, you might ask your GP for a thyroid check. If you’ve noticed other signs of circulatory problems, like foot swelling, you might also want to mention this to your GP.

Flaky Skin on Your Feet

A common cause of flaky feet is athlete’s foot, a scaly, red foot condition that is so named because of its association with sweaty feet inside of too-snug shoes. Athlete’s foot typically starts between the toes, and causes unpleasant sensations, like burning and itching. Luckily, your GP can prescribe an easy fix for athlete’s foot, such as an ointment.

Of course, you can also have certain types of skin conditions such as eczema or dermatitis on your feet, as well. Either way, there’s certainly no need to suffer when you could see a medical professional about the problem.

Time for New Shoes?

Poorly fitting shoes can be quite damaging to the feet. Bunions, corns, and calluses all can result from wearing shoes that don’t fit properly. If you do end up with these conditions, there are a few steps you can take (after, of course, investing in new shoes!):

  • For bunions, special shoe inserts can help while your toes heal. Your GP may also recommend a splint to help straighten the toes.
  • For bunions, corns, and calluses alike, pamper those feet. The use of a warm foot spa, followed by the gentle use of a pumice stone, can help heal and soothe these skin conditions.

What About…the Smell?

No one wants to talk about smelly feet, but odour is another area where your feet are trying to tell you something! Poorly smelling feet can result from conditions like Athlete’s foot or just basic daily sweating. Ease the problem by regularly wearing clean shoes and socks, switching out your shoes everyday, keeping your feet well groomed, and letting your feet get some air by going barefoot when you can at home.

Who Knew Feet Could Tell You So Much?

Your feet are at the lowest point of your body, and as such, they can be important signals to problems with the body’s circulation, thyroid, nutritional profile, and so much more. If you’re concerned about what your feet might be telling you, contacting your GP is never a bad idea.

Your feet are a reminder to take care of yourself from head to toe (literally). Curious about more ways to improve your health? Follow my Facebook page and check out my thoughts on mindfulness, hypnotherapy, and the benefits of tai chi.

The Best Slippers to Wear When Performing Tai Chi

You’re more likely to know the practise of T’ai Chi Ch’uan as Tai Chi, a traditional Chinese martial art that has developed a worldwide following. Its slow, deliberate movements allow practitioners to appear as if they’re doing a graceful dance. Tai Chi actually has multiple different styles, including some that are fast-paced and others that involve partner exercises, as well as the more widely seen slow-paced individual practise. These styles can use anywhere from 12 to 100 movements, so you’ll want to research to find the right style for your needs.

Tai Chi continues to grow in popularity as its benefits to both physical and mental health become more and more apparent.

Philosophy of Movement

Many modern Tai Chi styles trace their roots back to one or more of the five traditional schools, all of which trace their origin to Chen Village. The original basis of Tai Chi as a martial art was to achieve a yin/yang balance in combat. The idea was that if a force was to meet another force the results would always be negative, but if you could instead meet a force (such as an attack) with redirection or cause it to exhaust itself, you could end the encounter without a negative result. This philosophy can translate physical encounters, as well as life in general, and the bodily awareness gained through practising has many benefits of its own.

Physical & Mental Benefits

Ancient Chinese medicinal beliefs held that illness could be the result of a blockage or imbalance in a person’s Qi (pronounced Chee), or life energy. Tai Chi is intended to increase and balance the flow of this Qi, helping to alleviate ailments. It can also be adapted for just about any fitness level. It is useful for improving your balance and flexibility, something just about everyone can benefit from, but it is especially beneficial in older adults as it can reduce the risk of falling.

The relaxing nature of the movements and the gentle exercise could help to lower blood pressure and promote weight loss. The movements are low-impact, so they are perfect for those with joint issues or arthritis and could even help to alleviate pain. There are even seated versions of the movements for those with mobility issues. In studies, practising has even been shown to improve the symptoms of both fibromyalgia and COPD. Just about everyone can find something a physical beneficial from Tai Chi.

A common phrase used to describe Tai Chi is “meditation in motion,” and for good reason. Beyond the many physical benefits to practising, there are a host of psychological benefits, as well. Tai Chi’s slow-paced, deliberate movements can provide a focal point for meditation. It is not uncommon for practitioners, once they become comfortable with the movements, to slip into a meditative state where their sole focus in on their body, the way their weight shifts, and their breathing as they sweep through their movements.

Exercise has been known to reduce stress and improve mood, and Tai Chi is, at its core, a form of exercise. Moreover, because of its accessibility, almost anyone can benefit from its uplifting effects. The focus on breath and movement has been known to help with managing anxiety and promoting an overall sense of well-being. Regular practise could even contribute to more restful sleep.

Preparing Yourself – Finding the Right Footwear

Unlike many forms of exercise, there are not many requirements for getting started with Tai Chi. It can be practised indoors or outdoors. It can be practised with a group or on your own. It also does not require a lot of equipment, but one thing that you may want to consider investing in is a good pair of Tai Chi slippers. Most commonly, people wear trainers to exercise, but these have been designed to be at least somewhat slip resistant, which can cause issues when you’re attempting the more advanced Tai Chi movements, that involve quite a bit of pivoting.

There are three main kinds of Tai Chi slippers: cloth, rubber sole, and athletic. The athletic looks sleek but tends to be a bit pricier. The rubber sole is typically mid-range pricing wise. While a good idea for practising on damp grass or other such surfaces, the rubber sole may not allow you to turn quite as easily. Cloth shoes like these cotton sole slippers are my own personal choice as they provide an immediate connection to the ground, allowing you to still feel it beneath you even through your footwear. They’re also lightweight and allow your feet to breathe as you practise, reducing moisture in your shoes. Additionally, these are inexpensive and easy to both carry and pack up. It is important to note that size is difficult to guarantee, but a good retailer knows this and will often have a flexible or even free return policy to account for sizing issues.

Are you just getting into Tai Chi or have you been practising for a while? Do you have questions about what kind of benefits practising could have for you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments and follow me on Facebook for more health and wellness tips.