The best clothes for Tai Chi
You don’t need a Tai Chi suit or any special clothing. You just need to be comfortable, warm and be able to move freely. Jeans or tight trousers or skirts are not great for practise as they are quite restrictive.
You do need to make sure you don’t get cold though. Once you start work, and your Dantian gets moving, you will find you warm up. Of course you don’t want to overheat, but if the air is cold, it is important to keep your arms covered. I’ve seen pictures of people doing Tai chi in the snow, or in very cold weather. It is not a great idea. When you practise Tai Chi & Qi Gong you will warm up, your skin pores will open, and Qi will flow through your meridians to the fingers and toes. If the air is cold and you are wearing only a vest or T-shirt, then this process does not function well.
When you meditate your body naturally starts to slow down, and you will get cooler. So if you are joining a meditation session it is particularly important to keep warm. Please wear warm clothes that cover your arms. If you are joining an online session have a blanket ready to keep warm. It’s also important to keep your feet warm, so socks are a good idea.
What shoes should I wear?
The best shoes to wear for Tai Chi & Qi Gong are flat soled shoes that allow some space for your feet and toes to stretch out and open up. For this reason, any shoes where the heel is raised up are not a good idea. I do not find trainers to be ideal, as they can often hold your feet in quite a restrictive way. But if you have problems with your arches, then the support that some trainers give can be useful. The best shoes will be different for different people. My preference is for simple cotton soled Tai Chi shoes that can be bought in any martial arts shop, or online.
It also depends on your floor. If you are working on a very slippy floor, then you will want to choose a shoe which does not allow you to slip and fall. If i’m practising on a carpeted floor at home, I often just wear socks. I like the way it allows my toes and feet to soften, open up, and I really feel like they are melting into the floor. Unless it is very warm, you should not practise in bare feet, for the reasons outlined above. Cold feet and Tai Chi, Qi Gong or meditation do not mix well.