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What Should You Wear to Work Out on a Pilates Reformer?

What Should You Wear to Work Out on a Pilates Reformer?

Pilates has seen its ups and downs, with its heyday in the 80s and amazing revival just a few years back.

Now, the pandemic has completely shifted the market in favor of at-home workout studios, with the Pilates reformer machine being the hot ticket item of many celebrities and influencers.

While the studio or class setting may have been your thing, the ability to store, transport, and work out when you want on a single device like the reformer makes it a true game-changer for home fitness.

This all-in-one machine provides various health benefits, from greater flexibility and balance to improved posture and stress relief.

So if you want to truly maximize your home workouts on a Pilates reformer, we’re here to help.

One question many people still debate and are confused about is what you should wear to a Pilates reformer class or on a home machine.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, though we do have some tips below to make your workouts as safe and comfortable as possible. 

What to Wear for a Pilates Reformer Workout

There is no right or wrong answer regarding finding the right clothes to wear on a reformer. For example, you could wear sweatpants if you want or tight-fitting yoga pants; it really comes down to finding apparel that will stretch and feel comfortable as you workout.

To help you find the best clothes for a reformer workout, consider the following factors:

  • Stretchiness: Search for clothes that will conform and stretch with your body as you make elongated movements on your reformer. Never wear anything restricting your movements, such as jeans, button-up clothing, or a heavy jacket. 
  • Fit: Choose tight clothing that is not loose at the ends. There is a safety risk if clothes get caught up in springs or straps because they are too loose at the end. In addition, we recommend high-waisted bottoms for guys and girls for the best comfort and fit during workouts. 
  • Material/Fabric: Consider clothes with breathable and moisture-wicking fabrics that won’t pool sweat as your exercise. And yes, you will probably sweat a lot. 
  • Weight: While sweatpants and hoodies can be used, they could also be uncomfortable due to their weight. Liberate yourself with a pair of tight-fitting and lightweight tank tops and athletic pants or joggers that don’t restrict movement and are comfortable to work out in. 
  • Comfort: Finally, wear something comfortable to work out with that will allow you to hit that flow state. The last thing you need is a pair of ill-fitting pants that restrict your movement or get you caught in the machine from time to time.

We’ve listed a few clothing items below perfectly suited for working out comfortably on a reformer.

Women’s Tops

  • Tank Top
  • Sports Bra
  • Singlets
  • Crop Tops
  • Form-fitting T-shirt

Men’s Tops

  • Crew cut T-shirt
  • Tank top
  • Athletic short sleeve T-shirts

Women’s Bottoms

  • Cycling shorts
  • Pilates leggings
  • Track pants
  • Yoga leggings
  • Compression pants

Men’s Bottoms

  • Athletic shorts
  • Joggers
  • Tight-fitting sweatpants
  • Compression pants
  • Compression shorts
  • Cycling shorts


  • Workout Gloves: Workout gloves improve grip for exercises when you need to grip the footbar, straps, or trapeze tower on your Cadillac reformer
  • Sweatbands: Sweatbands help keep sweat out of your face and eyes. 
  • Grippy Socks: Grippy socks give you added grip whether you’re standing on the carriage, resting your feet on the foot bar, or standing up on slick hardwood floors. Grippy socks are often recommended over shoes or going barefoot. 
  • Water Bottle: Bring a personal water bottle to monitor your fluid intake. 
  • Towel: If working out at home, use a towel to wipe up excess sweat and keep your carriage dry. 
  • Sanitizer Wipes: Wipe down your machine periodically with sanitizer wipes to avoid bacteria growth, especially after a heavy workout. 

What Not to Wear for a Pilates Reformer Workout

To better understand what is acceptable to wear during Pilates reformer exercises, it’s helpful to outline what is generally not recommended based on safety and comfort concerns.

  • Baggy Clothes: Obviously, anything loose-fitting could be a safety hazard and generally uncomfortable to work out with. 
  • Nylon Fabric: Fabrics like nylon are generally too slick and can cause you to slip during exercises requiring intense balance and concentration. 
  • Sneakers: Generally, ordinary sneakers with poor grip will not give you the balance or stability you need for many exercises on a reformer. In addition, straps may slip around the bottoms of sneakers. 
  • Jewelry: Any sort of loose-fitting jewelry like necklaces and wristbands should be removed to avoid any safety issues. Even headphones with a cord can be a pain, especially if you’re doing long, stretchy movements. 
  • Drawstrings and Tiebacks: Avoid clothes with strings and straps that hang loosely from your person and can be caught on anything.

Do You Wear Shoes for a Pilates Reformer?

This leads us to our final consideration, which is footwear. Generally, most people don’t wear shoes during Pilates because it can be difficult to wrap straps around your shoes, and they may slide on hardwood floors.

However, there are special grippy shoes designed for Pilates that allow you to keep your shoes on.

In addition, ordinary socks are not recommended, especially for resting your feet on the footbar or hardwood floors. You’ll need grippy socks specifically designed for Pilates, as this is typically the one special purchase that most people make when they get a reformer. Most people have workout clothes somewhere in their wardrobe, but you may need special socks.

Finally, you could also go barefoot during workouts, especially at home. A class may require special footwear, but your bare feet generally provide enough grip and support to safely do rigorous exercises on the reformer without fear of slipping.


They say that clothes make the person, so with this advice, you should be ready to start working out on any Pilates reformer equipment.

By finding something comfortable that will not restrict your body’s movements, you can assemble the perfect outfit that will elevate your exercises and be perfect for posting on social media!

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Need Help Choosing The Right Pilates Machine?

Contact us now and talk to one of our Pilates experts to help you find the right equipment for your needs