Yoga might be all about minimalism but even the best yogi can benefit from having the best yoga mat… so imagine how good you could be with the very best yoga mat out there right now. From offering better grip to greater comfort, pushing the limits on your yoga mat quality will help you smash your own limits, stretching beyond anything you thought possible – well, you will still have to put the work in, of course.
As more and more yoga mat companies are cropping up, with the growing popularity of the practice, it’s little wonder that the mats are getting more complex. Features to look out for range from grip, size and line markings to cushioning, lastability, absorption and, of course, eco-friendliness. So how do you decide which is the ideal mat for your goals?
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How to buy the best yoga mat for you
The first limiting factor you may want to work from is budget. Mats range from a tenner to just over one hundred pounds. While the top end might sound like a lot, once you’ve tried one and experienced the benefits you’ll likely realise it was worth the extra expense.
Also, when you consider that this cost will be spread over several years – as the higher quality mats last longer – that price might not seem so steep. That said we’ve also found some great affordable options that offer many of the benefits of the high-end, but more on that below.
After cost the next major factor for most people will be grip. The better the grip, the more you can push your limits without the distraction of slipping on the mat yourself, or the mat slipping on the floor. This takes into account wetness from sweat and hot classes too. Again, this can save you money as you don’t need to buy a separate yoga mat towel too, if the mat is already sweat friendly,
Size is another major consideration. You may want the biggest possible mat so you can stretch out without reaching the edge – and also mark a bit more precious territory in that yoga studio. But size does mean more to carry so considering more portable options, especially if you’re on the move a lot, is also a factor.
One consideration you may not have thought was important is line markings. Lots of mats now offer these to help you align your hands and feet so that you know you’re symmetrical. This is ideal for those with an imbalance or anybody just starting out that wants to be sure they’re progressing in the right direction immediately.
Comfort is another huge area to consider. If you’ve got any pain in your knees or feet when doing a bent-over-backwards pose, like camel, then you’ll want a slightly thicker mat for padding. That said, go too thick and when balancing on one leg in tree you may find that sponginess leaves you wobbly – an extra challenge, sure, but perhaps not one you need.
Finally, but possibly most importantly, eco-friendliness. Lots of yoga companies now pride themselves on using ecologically friendly materials and processes to leave the most minimal impact on the planet in creating their mats. The result can sometimes mean a compromise in quality or a particularly strong smell. It can also mean a more gentle cleaning process is needed. All that has been considered in our testing process. So, with all that in mind, here are the best yoga mats out there right now.
Our pick of the best yoga mats to buy today
Liform manages to offer an eco-friendly natural rubber mat which also delivers grip and works dry or even sweaty classes. The line markings, dubbed AlignForMe, help you find the perfectly aligned position, from Warrior One to Down Dog. This leaves you feeling confident you’re doing everything right – we even found ourselves stretching further thanks to that reassurance.
The extra width and length of this mat over some standard offerings also leaves you feeling more secure. The thickness is ideal, enough comfort for your bony bits while remaining slim enough for easy transport and wobble-free balance poses.
The PVC-free material is biodegradable in as little as one year but the mat will last you years if you treat it right. The material doesn’t smell, like some others out there, yet sweat absorption is excellent – but you will need to give this a wipe down fairly regularly to keep it that way.
If you want the eco-friendly natural rubber of a top-end yoga mat that offers superb grip, in the wet or dry, but want it all on a budget, then the Yogi Bare Paws is for you.
Somehow the Yogi Bare gang have managed to offer much the same material as Lifeorm but at a far cheaper price. Sure it’s slightly smaller in size and thinner too, but the grip is still there. Line markings aren’t as useful but there are still a few that help with the basic moves.
There’s enough support from the thickness but it does tend to bunch a bit at times, meaning you need to smooth it out again between moves, but only a little – we’re nit-picking. For the price this is one of the best yoga mats out there for grip.
This is one of the most affordable yoga mat options out there which still manages to offer great comfort and decent grip. At this price you will have to suffer the fact it’s PVC, but at least that’s latex free so it’s not all bad for the environment.
Despite that 4.5 mm cushioning that’s enough for comfort, and the expansive 183 cm length, this is still portable at a super light 1.2 kg. You can even pick from a whole host of attractive colours – just expect to use this a few times before that grip improves.
When it comes to comfort, Gaiam’s 6mm thick Premium Yoga Mat is a tough one to beat – also tough is trying to stay awake when lying down in your savasana with this under you. For those with sensitive bones that do a lot of practice on hard floors, this is a great, affordable way to find comfort in your poses.
The non-slip grip makes this both hot and regular yoga friendly while the lifetime guarantee sets your mind at ease – although the PVC material may leave your eco-guilt tingling somewhat.
For this price point, the Meglio Premium Eco Friendly Yoga Mat is an absolute steal. It’s thick, so you will feel comfortable even after long yoga sessions. It’s long and wide so even tall people can comfortably lay down on it without their limbs hanging off the platform in all directions. And it’s also non-slip, so you don’t have to worry about the mat slipping as you perform more challenging pilates poses.
You even get a free carry strap, included in the price, so you can throw the Meglio Premium Eco Friendly Yoga Mat on your shoulder after the workout is done. This yoga mat is surprisingly light, especially given its thickness: the Meglio Premium Eco Friendly Yoga Mat weighs only 1.6 kg. It might be light but it’s durable, thanks to the high quality TPE foam used in the mat that ensure that the Meglio Pro Mat will stay box fresh workout after workout.
While Manduka does use PVC materials (latex free though) it’s process is OEKO-TEX certified meaning it’s friendlier to the environment and comes with a lifetime guarantee. The 4.7mm of thickness this offers is supported by dimpled cushioning making it super comfortable while also stopping sweat absorption to keep it cleaner for longer.
The grip could be better initially, but after a bit of use this improves. An initial processes of leaving this covered in sea salt for 24 hours is required for early-use grip – a bit of a faff but worth it. The weight and size is portable without compromising on comfort making it ideal for taking to classes with hard floors.
Some people will want a wider mat but for most this serves the basic needs while remaining mega mobile yet still thick enough to be comfortable even in awkward poses.
Jade Yoga prides itself on creating eco-friendly yoga mats while also dishing out some very eye catching colours that don’t scrimp on surface grip. The result is a real all-rounder which manages to offer enough grip and thickness to support a beginner or a pro yogi and everyone in between too.
Three size options are available making this adaptable to suit taller and shorter yogis alike. The price is really impressive for what you get and the portability make this perfect for home use as well as taking out to classes. We love the purple colour but if you opt for teal $5 will be donated to a charity, varying depending on the mat size you opt for.