Classic / Tail Poi

Poi is a beautiful discipline that, like most circus props and skill toys, helps develop hand-eye coordination, focus, and creativity. But the huge range of buying options out there can be enough to give a beginner a headache! This is the first in a series of articles that includes our top recommendations, along with helpful tips, to help those new to poi find the set that's right for them.

When buying poi, the first thing to do is measure your arms. While the decision of which skill toy to buy almost always comes down to personal preference. The length of the poi will make a significant difference and can help, or hinder, your progress. The poi should measure from the wrist to just below the armpit to be a comfortable size in all planes. For adults, this is usually around 50cm (20 inches) and children’s arm lengths are roughly 30cm (12in) from wrist to armpit.

It's good to know that the shorter the poi are, the faster they will move, and the longer they are the slower they will move. Slow moving long poi are better for beginners as it gives you extra time to see where the poi are going and position yourself accordingly. However, too long can get tangled easily or hit the ground and throw you off completely. If you're stuck choosing between two sizes, it's better to go for the longer size as they can be shortened if required. If you think you might need shorter poi, but don’t want to ruin the ones you have, try wrapping the poi leash around your hand to shorten them and see how that feels.

Pyropixies' Ribbon Poi

Pyropixies' ribbon poi are great for kids, they come in 6 different colours, and every pair is unique. They have double finger loops for comfort, a soft leash that is 42cm (16in) from the bottom of the finger loops to the head of the poi and a small swivel where the head of the poi attaches to the leash. The ribbons add colour and will mesmerise your audience even if you've only got the basic moves. They also make a great sound as they move, which helps to develop spatial awareness. Because you can hear them moving, you'll quickly learn to hit yourself less! The swivels, double finger loop handles, and leashes are the same on all Pyropixies poi, and they are easily adjustable by tying a looped knot below the handles, as the swivel is at the head of the poi. It's worth knowing that the set's colour name refers only to the head of the poi, the ribbons are always mixed colours as each ethically manufactured pair is handmade in India.

Pyropixies' Spiral Poi

Pyropixies Spiral Poi
Pyropixies' Spiral poi are great for beginners of all ages with both adults and kid's sizes to choose from. The kid's spiral poi are shorter (40cm /15.7in) and easier to manage, they are similar to the ribbon poi in design but with one piece of delicate fabric instead of multiple ribbons. The adults Spiral poi are longer (65cm/25.6in) and the tails are a metre long. Spiral poi are quieter than ribbon poi but have a much more impressive visual effect. The bright floating fabric catches UV light, which not only looks great but also helps with learning timing and familiarizing yourself with trails.You can also hold one corner of the fabric together with the finger loops to create a wing effect. It's no comparison to flag poi (angel wings) but can give a little finesse to moves like the butterfly once you're comfortable with the pattern. The poi heads are very soft and lightweight, so hitting yourself will be less painful than with other poi designs.

Erik's Poi Toys' Long Tail Poi

Erik's Long Tail Poi
Erik's poi have two tails for each poi head, and their Long Tail Poi are some of the longest on the market - at 115cm (45in) long. The tails are made from ripstop nylon and are fully stitched to prevent fraying. We don't recommend these for beginners or children, as the tail length can be unwieldy, but they make excellent performance poi for parades and festivals and are available in several bright colour selections. Erik's Poi Toys also make Angel Wings, Tube poi, and li'l Erik's children's poi which have tiny tails for small humans and complete beginners.

With this in mind, there's one definite downside to learning with classic poi; although the tails can have a great visual effect, they can tangle very easily! This can be frustrating and disheartening. If you want to move forward in your practice and learn new tricks but tangles and collisions are holding you back, then you might find a sock poi or tube design works better for you.