In recent years, Yogis have been spoilt. Long gone are the days of putting on tracksuit bottoms, ill-fitting joggers and the baggiest, thinnest t-shirt or vest we can find for a yoga class.
Instead, we’ve been treated to an emergence of yoga clothing, including leggings, specially designed tops and vests, and even designer endorsed garments from the likes of Nike and Gymshark.
But that multitude of options can only go so far if we’re planning to attend a different type of class, such as hot yoga.
That’s why the question, what should you wear to hot yoga, is one of the most commonly asked in the Yogi community. Hot yoga throws all dress requirements out of the window because we already know we’re going to be sweating. Profusely. And that makes all of us side eye our collection of yoga leggings.
Find out more about Hot Yoga in our guide to the different types of yoga.
So for those about to start their first hot yoga class, here are some recommendations for your dress code!
The Best Types of Bottoms/Pants for Hot Yoga
As a general rule, when attending hot yoga classes you should aim to wear breathable clothing made of moisture-wicking fabric if possible. Form-fitting clothing is great provided it’s not too tight and won’t restrict your movement.
When it comes to full bottoms - or pants - to wear for hot yoga, such as tracksuit bottoms or leggings, you’ll need bottoms that contain antimicrobial technologies. Whilst it sounds scientific, all it really means is that is that the clothing will soak up the moisture of your sweat. That means no risk of damp patches, stains or smells which you may incur on traditional leggings.
Leggings are the favourite of any yogi and they are usually perfect for any type of yoga class -- hot yoga included.
When looking for leggings for hot yoga look for those that are lightweight and well fitting, but not so tight that they restrict movement. Lightweight materials will be much more comfortable, breathable and temperature regulating as you sweat.
A quick online search for leggings made for hot yoga will provide plentiful results but make sure you read the reviews before buying. Some brands will cheekily call their standard yoga leggings, “made for hot yoga” as an additional selling point when really they’re no different. Search for terms like “antimicrobial” and “breathable” in the description, and then read customer reviews to make sure these statements are actually true.
The moment anyone thinks of facing heat we think about dragging out our summer shorts, but hot yogi participants should beware of falling into this misconception.
Though shorts will certainly be less fabric constricting your skin, you will still sweat and the sweat will have nowhere to go but your mat, which will start to make things very damp, and very slippery. If you think that you won’t be able to contend with full bottoms, the next best thing is cycling shorts which are automatically made of antimicrobial technology and will go further in helping to soak up the sweat, preventing it from coating your mat and legs.
The Best Types of Tops for Hot Yoga
When it comes to choosing tops for hot yoga it’s a safe bet to go with something lightweight, breathable and moveable. Another tip is to always pack a spare top.
Regardless of how lightweight your vest is, you are still bound to sweat and sometimes it can be refreshing to peel off the icky feeling shirt and swap - especially if you’re heading off somewhere afterwards.
Vests (Tank Tops)
In hot yoga there’s no need to worry about whether a vest will be warm enough: It will! That means a lightweight, comfortable fitting vest is a great option to keep you cool, and allow you to move around easily.
Depending on where you purchase your vest from, some will automatically contain features such as lightweight and breathable material, and promote ease of movement. Some will also contain antimicrobial technology.
Crop Tops are exceedingly popular both in sportswear and in everyday casual wear, and they can come in particularly useful in hot yoga. If you’re not comfortable in a bralette or sports bra, but you’re looking for something less than a vest, a crop top or cropped vest is a great in between option.
Often the material is light and it will give you much better coverage than just a sports bra. Plus some brands, such as Lululemon and Gymshark have automatically made their crop tops suitable for strenuous athletic activities by incorporating antimicrobial and temperature regulating material.
Bralettes and Sports Bras
Sports bras and bralettes are now a common choice for women working out. Bralettes are exceedingly comfortable and supportive, allowing for non-restrictive movement in lightweight material. Most sports bras will also follow a bralette style and provide additional benefits like microbial technology.
The Best Types of Bras for Hot Yoga
For women, choosing the right type of bra to wear whilst working out in any type of activity is a must, and hot yoga presents a new challenge: Sweat. Similarly to the tops and bottoms we’ve covered, antimicrobial material is a must if possible. Bras made with antimicrobial technology not only soak up sweat, they’re fast drying too which means there’s no need to worry about patches showing through under your top.
Sports bras can be a great option provided you feel comfortable. Some bras are more restrictive than others purely due to their material, and this could get sticky and hot. Others sometimes do not offer enough coverage or support, so it’s best to give the bra a test run from home. If not, wearing a bra or bralette underneath a sports bra can offer additional protection but be warned that you may want to pack an extra to change into!
Bralettes are a common option in today's workout studios. Their design is usually lightweight, and they will often provide enough coverage as they are designed to be worn alone or with an accessory such as an overshirt or cardigan. Most are breathable and are able to be moved about in quite comfortably having been designed for everyday use.
Now you know what to wear, here are some extra tips as to what to take with you alongside your outfit:
A towel is a must for hot yoga classes. Even clothing with antimicrobial technologies won’t stop you from sweating, and the last thing you’ll want to be doing is being so drenched in sweat that you’re struggling for grip or concentration.
A supportive mat.
The right mat is the yogi’s best friend. For hot yoga sessions use a mat that has grip and is sweat absorbent. For example a yoga mat made from silk will not be a suitable option for hot yoga classes because it is likely to become slippery and damp.
After hot yoga - clean your mat! Learn how to clean your yoga mat here.
For those with long hair this is a necessity. As you sweat your hair will clump and stick to your face and neck, which will create more heat and could lead to overheating. Put your hair up beforehand, or come to class with a variety of hair clips and ties.
Sweat actually cleanses the skin, but your face could still get irritated through yoga as your skin will be exposed to humid conditions. Washing your face before and after can prevent irritation, and a cold cloth is always a recommended idea for once the session has finished!