The Best Shoes to Wear When Teaching Pilates

by | Aug 30, 2012 | Foot Care & Foot Fitness, Pilates, Pilates Exercises, Techniques & Teaching Tips | 0 comments

Ellen asked me a great question about what shoes I recommend wearing when teaching Pilates.  Of course our clients exercise in bare feet or socks, but what should a Pilates teacher wear on their feet?

Ellen’s Question: 

I do get on the reformer to demonstrate during client sessions – is there anything that is easy on/off?  I truly would value your opinion on this! 

Aliesa’s Reply:

Thanks for your comments and kind words.  Always nice to know that folks actually ARE reading and benefiting from my posts!

Re: Shoes for Teaching Pilates…

Honestly, for my almost 20 years of teaching Pilates, I’ve always worn my tennis shoes.  Personally, I’m a hands-on teacher and need the traction I get from my treads, as well as the extra support for MY body with my shoes.

Plus, spotting chair exercises and keeping the carriage in on the Reformer or holding the bar steady for Long Stretch – I’M safer with a good supportive shoe.

(Don’t Tell…) but most of the time I demonstrate with my shoes on.  Yes, I know it’s not optimal for me, so I’ve got to be extra careful on some exercises.  IF there’s an exercise that I can’t demonstrate without kicking my shoes off – I sometimes will put them back on right after while my client is getting into position, and other times wait until the end of their session.  Seems like I peel my shoes off most frequently when I’m helping clients learn my Fantastic Feet exercises.  For exercises like Short-Spine where feet go in straps, I used to always kick my shoes off, but anymore, I just demonstrate the motion of the exercise with my shoes on, and no straps – and tell them that their feet will be in the straps.

Flip-Flops, slip on, or clog-type shoes will only ruin your feet and screw up your gait.  While they might be nice to kick on and off, in my opinion, it’s not worth the poor body mechanics they will create.  We don’t want our clients wearing these shoes all day, why set a bad example!

Last year I did buy a pair of the Vibram Five Fingers® shoes and they actually work really well for teaching and are a little lighter than a running shoe.  BUT – you need to try on every single pair in the store – can’t just go buy the ones that you like the color scheme on.  There was only 1 pair for me that supported my foot properly (and they weren’t the pretty ones I wanted!)  I wear mine occasionally – not every day, but I do like them to teach in. (However running or lots of fitness walking I’d never do in these shoes! My body needs more support.)

I know in some studios all the students AND teachers are barefoot (or in socks).  I’m thankful I’ve always run my own studio, because personally – I like wearing my tennies to teach!

Hope this helps.  If you find some fabulous shoes for teaching Pilates, please share:)  And if I can answer anything else – let me know.



Aliesa George


The right shoes make a huge difference for keeping your feet strong, fit, flexible, and pain-free.

If you’ve been practicing Pilates, chances are even if you’re not specifically targeting your feet, the muscles of your ankles, arches, and toes are getting stronger, more balanced, and helping improve your posture & gait.  It’s entirely possible that you might go up a shoe size, or need a wider shoe as your feet get healthier and more fit with your Pilates practice.

Your old shoes, are holding your old habits.  New shoes can help you reinforce new habits.  If it’s been awhile since you’ve replaced your shoes, it might be time to go on a shoe shopping spree!

RunFit Foot Fitness Kit™

But shoes aren’t the only important thing to think about…

If you’re looking for easy foot-care exercises,  get a copy of the book Fantastic Feet, or a Run Fit Kit (which includes the book PLUS lots of additional foot-fitness toys and resources.)  You can use these helpful foot-care products in the studio, and then encourage your clients to get a Runfit Kit too, to use at home in-between Pilates training sessions.  Enjoy quick, targeted training for healthy feet.

Good Health Starts from the Ground Up! Take Care of Your Feet – They Have to Last You a Lifetime.



Aliesa George: Over the past three decades, Aliesa George has helped assist people with their personal health journeys by sharing, teaching, and developing Pilates, Foot Fitness, and other Mind-Body programs.


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