Best Yoga Mat
The Best Yoga Mats
A yoga mat should be comfortable and helpful, provide adequate grip to prevent you from slipping and clean and carry (perhaps just from home to the park for now, but eventually back to in-person classes at your beloved gym or studio). Our hatha and hot-yoga teachers Downward-Dogged, Ashtanga vinyasa-flowed, and Savasanaed on 33 of the best yoga mats (and one mat alternative) and Lululemon’s The Reversible 5mm. Its dual-textured sides, firm-yet-cushiony rubber structure, and adequate size will cover you, regardless of your yoga style.
You don’t need to spend much to get started with yoga: our budget choice (for five years running) costs well below half of what our other picks do, and in long-term testing has held up remarkably well. We also suggest all-rubber and non-rubber, latex-free mats. Recall traveling? Our travel mat pick folds to fit in a suitcase.
Gaiam Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat
. It is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and has adequate cushioning and firm support that pleased our joints and grounded our standing poses. The smooth top layer, meant to wick away moisture, kept our hands and feet locked in place while allowing freedom for transitions during a flow. The mat is comparatively small at 4¼ pounds, about a pound lighter than our top pick a factor if you wear your mat frequently.
Why You Should Trust Us
We hired two experienced NYC-based yoga teachers, hatha/vinyasa specialist Juan Pablo Gomez and hot-yoga practitioner Arden Goll , to train on and carefully evaluate yoga mats for the 2016 rewrite of this guide. To drill down on the trends and learn more about what hardcore yogis want in a pad, we interviewed Ashton August, founder of YogiApproved.com , a website that offers tips and reviews yoga items.
To better understand environmental claims made by mat makers, we spoke to Michael S. Brown, PhD, of Brown and Wilmanns Environmental , a consulting company that specializes in advising food producers about how to make their goods and practices more sustainable, as well as William Carroll, PhD , an adjunct professor of chemistry at Indiana University.
We also spoke to Charles Gerba, PhD , a professor of microbiology and environmental sciences at the University of Arizona, and interviewed Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Beverly Hills and clinical instructor at the University of Southern California, to learn if a dirty yoga mat could make you sick. Amy Roberts is a certified personal trainer and long-time amateur yogi with extremely discerning tastes when it comes to yoga mats, and nearly everything she buys.
She has tested all sorts of fitness items for Wirecutter, including running shoes resistance bands foam rollers , and pull-up bars Wirecutter staff writer Ingrid Skjong is a licensed personal trainer and off-and-on yoga enthusiast. She has taken several yoga lessons (including prenatal yoga) and knows when a yoga mat feels right and performs well. She has delved into other fitness-related reviews, for treadmills connected indoor-cycling bikes , and GPS running watches
How We Picked And Tested
To narrow the enormous area (seriously: searching “yoga mats” on Amazon yields more than 5,000 results), we spent hours reading editorial reviews in publications such as Yoga Journal Outside magazine Gear Patrol , and Refinery 29 , as well as user reviews on Amazon and other pages. We also spoke to the big-name manufacturers to learn what was new in their lines and to the founder of YogiApproved.com, to get a sense of both trendy and tried-and-true in yoga mat designs.
We not only chose to test mats that people had reviewed well, we also tried to find a wide variety of options in price, size, and content. We also looked at our previous yoga mat reviews to assess which items merited a second look. First, our intrepid yoga instructors set out to practice on each mat, measuring overall expertise while carefully weighing each of the following nine attributes:
Size (Rolled And Unrolled)
portability and weight (for taking to and from class) (for carrying to and from class) stickiness (with dry versus wet hands and feet) (with dry versus sweaty hands and feet)
Portability And Weight (For Carrying To And From Class)
ground texture and feel (on your skin and under hand and foot) (on your skin and under hand and foot)
Stickiness (With Dry Versus Sweaty Hands And Feet)
durability odor (if one remains or goes away) (if one exists or goes away) attractiveness In the meantime, we talked to environmental expert Brown to better understand the eco and materials claims made by the manufacturers, and germ expert Gerba and dermatologist Shainhouse to find out how important it is to keep your mat safe. ( It’s pretty significant.
Finally, after our pro yogis turned in their detailed notes, we practiced on each of the top picks to get a personal feel for what qualities made each mat worthy of our recommendation. For a 2020 update to this study, conducted during the coronavirus pandemic, we weren’t able to farm out research to pros or tote our mats to in-person yoga classes in studios. We moved to an at-home practice, taking a number of online classes on each mat and taking into account the full slate of requirements mentioned above. We also switched off the air-conditioning or spritzed our hands and feet with water to approximate ultra-sweaty conditions.
When we asked about the best lightweight yoga mat, yoga teachers kept coming back to one mat in particular: the Manduka eKO LITE. “This is my mat of choice and has been for nearly six years,” says Chen. “It’s supportive with the right amount of give without too much sponginess and great for Vinyasa classes.” Though it isn’t super strong, it has enough weight to keep it in place during your practice.
And it only gets better with use. It’s also lightweight enough (5 lbs.) that Alicia Hansen , a Cleveland-based yoga instructor, likes to take it on the trip. “I’ve put it in my checked luggage for a cross-country trip, unfolded it and it settles back out in no time. It’s also one of the more affordable Manduka choices, which my wallet appreciates too.”
Yoga mats can get expensive, going upwards of even $100! The Medallion Yoga Mat by Gaiam is a wonderfully affordable choice that yogis can get behind and trust . Feel your feet bind with the earth thanks to its 4mm-thick thickness, which gives you ample cushion without throwing you off balance. Its double-sided texture also offers stability, so you’ll be able to get into a downward-facing dog or a triangle pose without slipping.
Did we mention its beautiful, but simple design? It’s sure to encourage you. One Amazon reviewer says: “Gaiam has never disappointed. It is a bit thin but that’s OK with me. I like to press deep and be grounded when I do yoga. This mat offers it all. A nice sticky surface that lets me stretch without worrying if my hands or feet will slip.”
And Support (Adequate
“The best mat in my opinion is the Reversible Mat from Lululemon, formerly called The Mat,” says Jake Ferree , a Los Angeles-based yoga instructor. “It has awesome grip and support, which makes it a great mat for classes you get sweaty in.” It’s 5mm thick, which means it’s pretty comfy.
“The top layer absorbs moisture to help you get a grip during sweaty practices while the reverse side’s natural rubber offers more cushion, ” says Quinn Suplina. Pro tip: Unroll the mat and leave it outside for a few days until you use it. “It has a bit of a strong smell at first,” says Ferree. And, before stash your mat, make sure to clean it off and let it dry after each use.
If you perform hot yoga, you need a mat that not only protects your body but can also withstand a sweat-drenched practice. Say hello to The Combo Mat from Yoga Design Lab. “It combines a mat and towel in one to prevent slipping around when you get sweaty,” says LA-based yoga teacher and run coach Theodora Blanchfield . It also gets a thumbs-up for its velvety feel and beautiful designs. The best part? It’s machine washable.
Or Too Little?)
Yoga mats aren’t necessarily the most travel-friendly accessory. But if you’re always on the go and plan to keep up with your practice, you want a mat that you can quickly take with you. Your best bet: Jade Yoga’s Voyager Pad. It’s just 1.7 pounds and folds into the size of a yoga block. “This mat is incredibly compact, yet durable with a great grip . I fold it to fit into my backpack or suitcase and it never creases,” says Sara Clark , a YogaGlo instructor and mindfulness coach. Plus, Jade Yoga plants a tree for every mat sold. Another option? Manduka eKO SuperLite Travel Mat , which “folds up like a T-shirt,” according to Sian Gordon, founder of Love Yoga in Los Angeles, and prevents you from sliding around. But if you’re looking for a mat with cushion, these aren’t it. It’s paper-thin but get the job done.
Ease Of Unrolling (And Staying Flat)
There’s nothing worse than your hands slipping in downward-facing dog. Trainers say their favorite yoga mat with grip is hands down the Jade Harmony. It’s Quinn Suplina’s personal pick. “It’s made of non-toxic natural rubber and offers just the right amount of cushion for beginners to advanced yogis,” she says.
“The mat is very stable and is quite durable But if you have a sweaty practice, this may not be the mat for you as it does absorb sweat and can take longer to dry. Also, the textured surface can be a problem for others. “It can make transitions like upward dog to downward dog a little more challenging than on other mats,” says Quinn Suplina.
Odor (If One Exists Or Goes Away)
Gaiam makes the list again for its dense, reversible yoga mat. It features a non-slip surface that’ll keep you grounded, even when you start to sweat. The star attraction here is the thick cushioning that offers sufficient support and stability for sensitive joints . Although it’s geared for yoga, you can easily turn it around and take on a core workout as well. Bonus: It has two cute designs! One Amazon customer writes, “I have bad knees but kneeling on this mat feels good! The designs are really cute, and they’re durable!”
Best Overall: Manduka Eko Lite Yoga Mat
Buy on Amazon Buy on Liforme.com Larger size than other mats Perfect for sweatier yoga sessions Eco-friendly design Stains easily Top layer will wrinkle over time The Liforme Yoga Mat is a highly flexible mat made from eco-friendly material. Perfect for yoga newbies , the mat features Liforme’s signature AlignForMe method, which acts as a navigational aid, using markers to help yogis of all sizes employ ideal form when striking a pose during practice. It offers a more expansive surface area than most yoga mats, allowing one to stretch out and walk freely.
It’s also extremely absorbent the polyurethane top layer retains sweat and moisture, maintaining the mat’s sticky grasp, no matter how much you perspire. Liforme’s Original Yoga Mat is made of fully-biodegradable and sustainably-sourced materials, including a natural rubber foundation and an eco-polyurethane top sheet. It comes in different colors and weighs 5.5 pounds. You also get a free yoga mat bag with your order. Thickness:
Best Value: Gaiam Classic Print Yoga Mat
Best Cushioning: Lululemon The Reversible Yoga Mat
Best For Hot Yoga: Yoga Design Lab The Combo Yoga Mat
Best For Travel: Jadeyoga Voyager Yoga Mat
Closed-cell Final Decision The Jade Yoga Harmony Yoga Mat provides premium traction and grip for those who want an extra-grippy board. This 18-inch mat provides cushion and stability without interfering with balance, enabling you to still feel the ground underneath you.
For someone over 5-feet-8-inches tall, the Manduka PRO Yoga and Pilates Mat is a great alternative. It comes in two length choices 71 inches and 85 inches and features an extra-wide width of 26 inches. This .23-inch-thick mat offers cushion and provides a sticky, secure foundation.