9 best men's yoga wear
Tight tops and baggy pants, or the other way around, there is something for everyone in our men's yoga wear line-up
Few things testify to the arrival of yoga for men – somewhat tragically dubbed “broga” – as effectively as the success of Finlay Wilson, star of BBC online platform The Social, known for performing inversions (that’s going upside down for the uninitiated) in a kilt. And laying it all bare.
Dispensing with the Lycra last year, he set his very own Scottish nature against a backdrop of Scottish nature as we more commonly know it, winning more than 50 million views, fans in the US, and a publishing deal.
“I should have got my bum out earlier,” the author of Kilted Yoga told The Sun in November. I’ll raise a dram of single malt to that, for his sharply contoured 30-year-old bod contorting into shapes less flexible men like myself could not dream of entering so fluidly, if at all, is a sight to behold. In any case, blubber guts like myself should demand the finest yoga gear on the market to keep it vaguely pretty.
Fortunately, help is at hand as yoga wear pour monsieur is a growing corner of online retail. Tight tops and baggy pants, or the other way around, there is something for everyone whether you are that incredibly agile chap in the corner who can do every move and knows the words to the Sanskrit chants; a beginner (as every good yogi should be); or more of a chilled out yin type. Or, indeed, a charming kilt-wearing Scot.
For meditators, the loose, the baggy and the soft win. For dynamic ashtanga based systems, it’s the skin-grippers that work. And for those who want to show off their abs and make fellow (puke) “bros” feel distinctly chubby in comparison, well, there is always the option of taking all of your clothes off. If not, you can go for one of these….
Sculptmode Sculpting T: £20
This is a superior product for the price. It is not designed specifically for yoha. It does what it says on the tin: it sculpts. Man boobs are tidied into neatly cut pecs. Its surface is oddly both smooth, coarse: there is no slippage when you’re drenched and aiming to get that left elbow behind that right knee. The fit is mega-tight so it’s advisable to buy a size bigger than you are. You can bend in any direction without worrying about your belly hanging out, if you have one (hi), and if you don’t have a gut, good lord, this T will have you looking like a Marvel superhero (Batman and Superman were early adopters of precisely this sort of gear, after all). Made from polyester with a hint of elastane, it double-ups as a warm layer under a jumper in the spring and makes cycling in a chilly wind more comfortable too.
Sports Philosophy OYM x SP black hybrid leggings: £88, Sports Philosophy
If you fear getting too sweaty to do crow or other postures that require leaning on oneself, these 2-in-1 shorts and compression leggings are awesome. Quick to dry, they provide grip around the legs where bare skin would be too slippery. The compression factor is light and makes for a nice “second-skin” feel even if its claim to “boost blood flow to enhance your performance” is a bit ambitious.
Though Patanjali made no specific mention of child labour in the leisure garments trade in Sutras, we’re sure he’d approve of Sport Philosophy’s lofty aim of raising £1m by 2012 by donating 10 per cent of its profits to its charitable arm, the Freedom For Children Foundation. This may partly explain the hefty price, but charity aside, are they worth it? This is a fine, finely-engineered product. The leggings feature largely recycled (and water-resistant) Polyamide – you could cycle in the rain to class and then home again in these; the reflective patterning is surely a nod to the road user.
They are a one-piece – you can’t wear them separately and there is a neat phone pocket (I don’t get why people want pockets during practice), but then that’s perfect for cycling.
As such they will complement any yoga posture. Not designed specifically for yoga, the brand has yoga in mind.
Boody Bamboo Crew Neck T-shirt: Boody, £29.95, Boody
This is a brilliant T-shirt for those who like it loose. Sure, it will hit your face when you’re upside down, but not everyone wants to be a Lycra lizard and when tucked in, it’s fine. Every good yoga teacher will tell you it’s important to be soft on yourself. This top’s makers claim it’s the most comfortable T-shirt one could wear and it is impossibly soft – blame the bamboo. It’s light, too, and incredibly soft. Though not specifically designed for yoga, this proved an ideal companion in the studio and it’s fairly priced, too. Not being skin tight, it’s ideal for a yin class.
Manduka Atman Short Black with Sediment Melange, £62, Yoga Matters
Ouch, why is something so small so expensive? Luckily, these shorts are outstanding enough to warrant the price tag. The elastic waist provides perfect grip and has an interior drawstring should tightening be required. There is no lining except at the front but you can wear them on their own or on top of stretchy boxers without worrying that they might tear. The large size is the right level of tight on a large-size guy. Made partly from recycled materials, they feel sturdy enough to last a few years. This is a strong pair of shorts you won’t have to tug at or adjust during your practice. There’s even a little side pocket. Strong and stylish, these shorts are designed for yoga and may look a bit silly if used for other sports. They stretch every which way with no threat tearing and you simply don’t have to think about them – perfect for yoga. You may even forget you’re wearing them, but you’ll be glad you are!
Ohmme, Dharma Yoga Pants: £55, Ohmme
Ohmme is a dedicated men’s yoga brand offering “intelligent design … that will take you through your practice with comfortable ease and minimal fuss”. Does it deliver? Absolutely. Ohmme has men in mind with a range of brilliant products, but it was the fisherman's pants that particularly piqued our interest. They’re as free-flowing as they look - nicely tight on the lower leg and baggier around the thighs so there is no risk of tear if you do the splits.
The sweat-wicking factor is impressive. They don’t leave you feeling drenched after a heavy-going class, with good grip all the way. They sweep over the groin area better than any other product we’ve tried and can be pulled up if you want them shorter. There is no pose that could prove a challenge for these - though billed as silky to touch, they are not slippery. Fast-drying, they’re a fun product perfect to lounge in off-mat too.
Iffley Road Hampton 8 running shorts, gravel black, £65, Iffley Road
These are primarily running shorts that the maker supplied for review. Indeed, named after the famous Oxford University of old running track, Iffley Road is an unlikely yoga gear supplier.
The waist is gently elasticated and has a cord to draw tight and this pair is suitable for non-ashtanga based yoga as they require mini-adjustments to keep up with the pace of swifter transitions. We recommended them because they are tough yet elegant, have a silky feel and survive multiple machine washes. Stylish to a tee, they are perfect for a trip to say, Goa. Light, you can wear them to class and then hit the beach.
Lululemon In Mind shorts black: £65, Lululemon
The distinctive thing about these nylon and elastane shorts is the thick waistband – no need for strings and tightening, it’s got you covered. Elasticated without using elastic, they certainly do allow you to “flow through class without holding back” and they’re true to stated size – no need to upsize or downsize. This pair is light-weight with excellent sweat-wicking abilities.
The company boasts a hem that is supportive for inversions and these did give us confidence upside down need to be worn with an undergarment but if that doesn’t bother you, they’re a great option, especially if you’re big on pockets. There’s a small one hidden inside a bigger one and a further concealed one that fits a smartphone (if you have to have your phone on you during practice – the ancient yogis didn’t). The price on this pair may raise eyebrows, but they do feel like they’ll last.
Prana, Flex shorts: £50
This pair of shorts is a top choice, pure and simple. The large size is not too large – it stays close to the skin yet is eminently stretchy in every direction. The elasticated waist has a cordstring for tightening, not that you’ll need it as the fit meets expectations for the size. The hem reached the knees of our tester, making this pair of shorts your friend when you getting your left elbow behind your right knee because it offers grip. Good sweat-wicking, lightweight, and easy to dry, you won’t really know they’re there, making full immersion into your practice easier. Joy of joys, they have a lining too, and enough give around the groin area to avoid willy bump. For fans of keeping stuff on you during practice, there’s a nice pocket with a velcro. Capable of withstanding the toughest work-outs in the studio or gym, they’re also stylish if you just want to show your legs off on a picnic (yeah you do.)
Nike Dry Miler Short Sleeve running top, £24.95, sportsshoes.com
Like much of Nike’s track range, this running top lends itself well to yoga. Lightweight, super breathable and with strong sweat-wicking skills, they’ve nailed it. It doesn’t try to be a skin on skin T like the Sculptmode, making for more of a relaxed garment that clings enough to enable more acrobatic poses, but not so much that you may feel self-conscious. It may slip up slightly in inversions if you’ve not downsized, so plump for a medium if you usually buy a large. There is mesh back and sides for keeping cool with seams to prevent chafing.
Verdict: Men's yoga wear
The Sculptmode T is great value at £20, we love the flow of the Ohmme pants and Prana offers no-nonsense, high efficiency gear, but it’s Sports Philosophy’s impressive unifying of materials and function that make its shorts and leggings combo the most outstanding product on our list. Though, of course, the most important thing in yoga is to turn up to the mat.
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