Germaphobes and fashionistas take note — Blake Brody In-Studio Footwear may be your new favorite fitness accessory. The Blake Brody eco-friendly footwear line looks like a collection of fashion ballet flats, but are so flexible — you can roll them up if you need to! — they won't inhibit the foot's natural range of motion. While it may seem counterintuitive to wear shoes for a studio workout, I like to think of them as minimalist footwear for Pilates, yoga, or barre-inspired fitness classes. Fully copping to my germaphobic tendencies, I love that they put a barrier between my feet and the studio floor. This is especially nice when things are hotter than usual or the studio doesn't have an antimicrobial floor.
Pilates- and yoga-practitioner Blake Brody developed the in-studio workout shoes after an embarrassing moment in her Pilates class: Blake's feet were so sweaty that she slipped off of the reformer and fell. Since minimalist running shoes are too thick and inhibiting for studio work, Blake set out to design her own. When I received a pair to try out, I was apprehensive (I love working out barefoot), but, a few weeks later, I don't go to the studio without them. I wear them during all of my yoga and Pilates classes, and to much success, I even wore them to a few jazz- and ballet-inspired dance classes.
See what I thought of the shoes after the break.
I tested a pair of the Robin shoes ($98), which are the most simple in design. I was immediately struck by how light, stretchy, and flexible they are; when I wear them to yoga, I still feel connected to the floor and can move my feet freely in a natural manner. Like Blake, I have a tendency to get sweaty, which can make certain poses feel a bit slippery (even on my Manduka mat). On the soles of Blake Brody shoes are thin translucent grips that help give a bit of traction (but won't scuff a studio floor) — for once in my life I felt like I wasn't going to slip and fall during a pose. If you're worried about ending up with smelly shoes that get soaked in sweat, don't be. The shoe's liner blocks the absorption of sweat because of its moisture-wicking properties that helps disperse sweat to evaporate quickly. Blake Brodys are also made with antimicrobial agents that help block odor and bacteria growth, which means no smelly feet or shoes! But what I really love is that they keep feet clean. Many studios don't have antimicrobial floors, or because they schedule back-to-back classes, it isn't always possible to clean the floor after each class. I wore my Blake Brodys to a recent ballet-inspired fitness class and was the only student who walked out of there without dust, germs, and dirt on the soles of their feet. Add to that the eco-friendly construction and materials, and I am a Blake Brody convert!