Unlike most other types of fitness classes, Barre participants have a very limited selection of footwear to choose from. Varying only from various types of specialized socks to ballet-type flats, footwear is either at the discretion of the wearer or is sometimes dictated by the type of Barre class or instructor.
Socks for Barre routines come in many different styles as you can image. Differences include sock length, toe style, and sole gripping ability.
Regardless of which sock type you choose, be sure they are made from a sweat-wicking material so your feet keep as dry as possible. Moisture and friction end up causing blisters. Socks can be purchased online (Google Barre Socks), at a well-equipped fitness store, or many times through your Barre fitness studio.
Varying from low rise, to ankle, to knee highs, sock length is more dependent on the wearer’s personal preference, although knee highs tend to provide more warmth if you live in a cold climate or exercise in a studio prone to cold drafts. Another advantage of the knee high length is support, so if you need more feel you need more ankle or lower leg support, this length may be a better choice.
Not only do you have a choice on sock length, but on the style of the toe. Options include full tube (like a regular sock) or the fun and stylish full toe and half toe. One disadvantage of the tube style is that the sock can move around quite a bit causing blisters.
A better choice is either the full toe or half toe, where each individual toe has its own compartment and is separated from the other toes. Toe separation keeps the sock in place, plus it gives you more surface area to wick sweat from between your toes. And they can actually improve your feet. Because of the design, they force the toes to spread a little farther apart than what is natural and therefore force muscle use not normally associated with wearing tube style socks or going barefoot.
The half toe design seems to be the popular choice as it gives your toes more contact with the floor than the other toes styles available and better simulates the effect of going barefoot.
Sole gripping ability
Having some type of non-slip gripping nubs on the sock sole is a must for stability purposes. Because you are standing on one leg during many of the exercises, you don’t want your support leg slipping out from underneath you and possibly causing an injury.
Some Barre participants prefer to use this style of footwear for their classes. Flats tend to be more expensive but do provide better arch support. If arch support is an issue, this may be a better choice although some socks do have some built-in arch support also. For a cross between a full toe sock and ballet flat, try a Bella-style sock made by ToeSox.
Some instructors encourage training barefoot, although from a hygienic standpoint, this might not be desirable to you. Half toe socks provide a better hygienic alternative to going barefoot.