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The Power Of Colours: How Different Sport Outfit Shades Affect Performance & Mood

As we stare at the wardrobe, wondering what outfit we'll wear to our Yoga or Pilates class, most times, we'll just be looking at something that looks good enough to rock up to class with - or, in many cases, not even pay attention to the outfit choice, as long as it gets the job done.

Comfort and mobility, for sure, are imperative - and if we can look great in the process, it's a bonus.

But what if we could program our minds for optimal performance? What if we could subconsciously induce a state of mind that's calm and relaxed? What if we could 'get in the zone' more easily during our Yoga & Pilates workouts?

For many practitioners, this might sound silly or something that's not worth paying attention to. And we completely understand!

If we were not in the clothing business and obsessed with designing and making Barre, Yoga & Pilates socks, we'd be in the same boat.

But as we get deep in planning and preparing new collections, we pay meticulous attention to the colours we choose for our grip socks.

Rather than just having our collections done in every colour in the rainbow and seeing what sticks, we like to carefully think and consider what positive feelings we'd like our collection to express and how the colours we choose to make us feel.

Well. It turns out that there's a whole lot of science behind how colours induce emotions and behaviour that marketers have been using to sell for years.

After much research, let us share some of it with you.

The Psychology of Colour

For starters - it's essential to ask ourselves why colours have these powerful psychological triggers capable of influencing our emotions, thoughts, actions, and subconscious mind in the first place.

There are three main factors:

  • Biological
  • Psychological
  • Cultural

1. Biological

Biologically, specific colour responses are hardwired into our brains by evolution.

For example, red might be associated with alertness, as it is often seen in warning signals like the bright shades of blood, some poisonous berries or the vibrant markings of venomous animals.

This association with caution can trigger a state of alertness and make our hearts beat faster as a result.

On the positive side, blue is often associated with calmness and serenity. It's the prevalent colour in elements of nature like the sky and the sea - both commonly connected to relaxation and tranquillity.

This association with natural environments could explain why blue tends to calm down and bring us a sense of peace while significantly reducing stress.

Different colours can activate various regions of the amygdala, the brain's emotional centre for emotional responses, leading to specific reactions, even if we're not consciously aware of them.

These reactions can be positive or negative depending on the colour and perceived context.

2. Psychological

While biological responses tend to be hardwired in us since birth, psychological responses are acquired through our life experiences.

Soft blues and greens might make you feel feelings of calm and relaxed. At the same time, bright yellows and oranges might boost energy and optimism - subtly influencing your moods without you even noticing it.

These emotional responses come from your personal experiences and learned associations. While they tend to have similarities with people in the same culture, they can vary between individuals.

On top of these immediate emotional responses, colours can also be powerful triggers for specific memories or experiences you had.

Let's say a particular shade reminds you of a happy time in your childhood, such as the yellow of a beloved toy or the green of a favourite park. It could also bring up memories of a place you've visited, like the deep blue of a calm sea on a memorable vacation you had in the past - or the vibrant red of a sunset you've watched in a special moment.

Once registered in our subconscious, these colour associations can create memories that deeply influence our emotions, bringing up feelings of joy, nostalgia, comfort, or even inspiration.

As psychological and biological use tap into our unconscious minds, these can overlap.

3. Cultural

Another significant factor in how we emotionally react to different colours is the culture we're immersed in.

Since humans started organising themselves in societies and forming cultures, they have used colours to communicate and express different messages.

However, cultures developed differently. Different cultures attribute different messages to different colours.

Aside from the simple use of colours on a day-to-day basis, some colours could have profoundly religious or symbolic meanings to a society, negative or positive.

In many Western cultures - for example, white is often associated with purity, innocence, and weddings. On the other hand, in some Eastern cultures like China and Japan, white is traditionally used for mourning and is commonly seen at funerals.

Red - for example, in Western contexts, is usually associated with love, passion, and danger. Yet, in China, it stands for good fortune and happiness. It is the colour most commonly used in festive occasions like weddings and New Year celebrations.

From our perspective, designing yoga & pilates socks, while we choose our colours mainly with the Western culture in mind - as that's the one we're brought up with, we're mindful that our audience can be pretty multicultural.

The Importance Of Mood & Mindset in Performance

It's no secret that top athletes nowadays need far beyond just being at their best physically. From Lebron James to Serena Williams, many legendary athletes of the current generation have publicly spoken about visualisations and other mental exercises they do to maximise performance.

The reason is that the best athletes understand how our mental state can either act as a catalyst that propels us toward our goals or as an obstacle that stands in our way.

A positive mood and mindset can improve focus, boost confidence, and increase resilience - all essential for peak performance.

On the flip side - a negative mindset can bring self-doubt, reduce focus, and even induce physical fatigue, significantly worsening your athletic performance.

The mind-body connection is so strong that your thoughts can be your greatest ally or worst enemy on the field, in the gym, or during Yoga or Pilates classes.

Now, while we're not looking to go much in-depth about visualisations, affirmations and other helpful mindfulness exercises in this particular article, here's how your moods can interfere with your physical performance:

Happiness: The release of endorphins during moments of joy improves stamina, cognition and focus - allowing a more energetic workout, more centredness and better decision-making. Endorphins also reduce muscle pain and discomfort during exercises, giving us the feeling of fluidity during movements.

Relaxation: Feeling relaxed during exercises relaxes the muscle fibres and reduces muscle tension - leading to better flexibility and a lower risk of strains and sprains. On top of it, being relaxed also allows for more controlled and rhythmic breathing, getting more oxygen to the blood and muscle tissues.

Courage & Inspiration: Often, courage and inspiration get us to start a sport in the first place - because, think about it, every new venture we take brings a dash of risk. This same feeling of butterflies in the stomach can bring us a heightened state of focus and determination - allowing us to push our limits and surpass our personal best. Essential to our evolution in every sport or activity.

Sadness: From a biological perspective, unhappiness is associated with reduced levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine - with the last two being known for causing feelings of lethargy and a lack of motivation when in low levels. In addition, with the mind fixated on negative thoughts, the tendency is for impaired mental focus, making it challenging to concentrate on the activity or exercise.

Fear & Stress: Unfortunately, many of us are familiar with high cortisol levels in our daily lives. Mentally, excessive stress hormones and cortisol levels impair our cognition, focus and decision-making. Physically, it leads to muscle tension and involuntary contractions, reducing flexibility and increasing the risk of injury.

Anger: Depending on the activity you're practising, it might be hard to stay angry throughout it - as the endorphins will tend to change that state. Yet, that's not a mood you should approach in the first place. Anger also contributes to muscle tension, reducing agility and increasing the risk of tearing muscle fibres.

Choosing the Right Colours For Your Yoga & Pilates Outfits

So now that we've understood how moods can interfere with your performance - let's see what effect the primary colours on the visual spectrum are known for.

To make it easier to grasp, we've divided our colour groups into the primary colours, shades that inspire calm and serenity, energising and inspiring shades - and grounding and stabilising.

Basic Colours


White can evoke a sense of peace and clarity, allowing you to focus on your practice without any distractions. It is also an excellent base for any colour matching or overlaying.


Black is a powerful colour that radiates sophistication and strength. On a psychological level, it can make you feel more empowered and in control during your session. It also serves as a solid base for colour combinations.

Calming Shades


Lavender is known for its calming and soothing properties. It's an excellent choice for practices focused on relaxation and stress relief, such as Yin Yoga or restorative Pilates.


Another calming shade, blue can help reduce stress and promote a sense of peace. It's a good choice for practices that require deep concentration and mindfulness.


Grey is a neutral colour that - for being less stimulating to the eye, creates a calming mood that helps you focus better on your practice. It's handy for more intense workout sessions.

Energising and Inspiring Shades


While generally associated with femininity - pink evokes warmth and happiness, uplifting the spirits and inspiring love and compassion. It's a must for Yoga practices that focus on heart-opening poses.


Green is often associated with renewal and growth. Just like in nature - green inspires life and the capability to grow and rejuvenate; for this exact reason, it's a common choice for morning or detox practices.


Yellow is the colour of sunshine and is known to boost mood and energy levels. Yellow is the way to go when you have more physically demanding activities ahead of you, like Power Yoga or Pilates classes.

Grounding and Stabilising Shades


Brown is an earthy colour can help you feel grounded and connected to your environment. It's a good choice for practices focusing on stability and balance, such as Hatha Yoga or foundational Pilates.


This is another neutral, earthy colour that can evoke calm and stability. It's less stimulating than brighter colours, making it a good choice for deep concentration and mindfulness practices.

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