Extremely durable. Slip resistant. Made from natural cork and rubber materials. Company plants a tree for every product sold.
Expensive. Feels a bit heavy.
Comfortable – 5mm thick. Made from natural cork and rubber. More dense than most competitors. Surface provides excellent traction.
Heavier than some similar mats.
Made of natural rubber and cork. Purchase includes carrying strap. Great for sweaty workouts and hot yoga. Company plants a tree for every mat sold.
Very rare complaints of poor grip.
Lightweight mat. Made of natural cork and rubber. Attentive customer service. Slip resistant.
Cork texture can feel slippery. Rubber can separate from the cork.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Yoga’s ability to rejuvenate the mind and body has made it a popular form of exercise and meditation. To perform the poses and transitions with fluid accuracy, you need a yoga mat to keep your feet in place. Mats are made of a variety of materials, but as society has grown more eco-conscious, manufacturers have looked for materials that are sustainable and promote human and environmental safety.
Cork yoga mats are one of the most eco-friendly and durable options available today. Whether you’re doing downward-facing dog or warrior two, a high-quality cork yoga mat will hold your feet in place, resist bacteria, and roll up for easy storage and portability.
This shopping guide will help you determine if a cork yoga mat is the right choice for you and your lifestyle. Take a deep breath and relax as you take your next step on the journey to strengthening your body and calming your mind.
Cork’s natural structure resists bacterial growth, making it easier to keep clean than other materials. The antibacterial properties often lead to claims that cork mats are self-cleaning, which isn’t really true. These yoga mats may not take as much maintenance as other mats, but they will need to be cleaned occasionally.
Eco-friendly and sustainable
Cork yoga mats offer several advantages over PVC, recycled rubber, and even other natural materials like cotton and jute. Cork is made from the bark of cork oak trees. These trees naturally regrow the bark after it has been stripped away, making it a highly sustainable resource. The trees absorb more carbon dioxide after the bark has been removed, which means using the bark leaves a positive environmental impact.
Eco-friendly yoga mats
Cork isn’t the only material used to make eco-friendly yoga mats. While cork offers the best combination of durability and grip, there are a few other options.
Size: A standard yoga mat measures 24 x 68 inches, but mats in lengths of 72, 74, and 84 inches are also available. If you need even more space, look for a mat with an extended width of 30 inches.
Using a mat of the correct length means you can transition between poses without stepping off the mat. You want to be able to lie flat on the mat with head and feet completely on its surface. If you’re taller than average, you will likely need an extra-long mat.
Design/materials: Yoga mat design is pretty basic, but there are a few variations that might suit your needs. Cork grips well, providing excellent stability while in use. All cork mats have some kind of rubber backing to prevent slippage and some backing layers are thicker than others. Usually the thicker the cork layer, the more expensive the mat. There are also designs that include a carrying case or handles, making it easier to take the mat with you to class or while traveling.
Thickness: The average cork yoga mat is 3 mm thick. Travel mats may be as thin as 1.5 mm, while some with extra cushioning may be 6 mm. Thin mats take up less space while traveling, and thick mats do a better job of protecting sensitive knee joints. Unless you have one of these specific needs, you’ll probably be happy with a mat of average thickness.
Inexpensive: Cork yoga mats start around $30, but you get what you pay for in most cases. These inexpensive models have a thin cork layer adhered to a rubber backing. However, at this price, the cork layer is prone to chipping.
Mid-range: Between $30 and $60 are cork yoga mats with a thicker layer of cork and may also include carrying straps or handles.
Expensive: The mats in the $60 to $90 range are longer than the average 68 inches. Most of these models are over 72 inches long and may be up to 6 mm thick.
Premium: At over $90 are cork yoga mats with foam backings that are free of latex, PVC, and harsh chemicals. In general, the more natural and eco-friendly the mat, the higher the price.
How often you clean your mat will depend on how often you use it. If you’re a daily user or you sweat more than average, the mat should probably be cleaned after each use to prevent a buildup of sweat and grime. If you’re an occasional user, a good cleaning once a month will probably do.
For those who travel with or use their yoga mat in a studio setting, cleaning more often will keep any accumulated oil and dirt from traveling home with you.
For quick cleaning, wipe down the entire mat with a damp cloth. It’s simple and easy, so it won’t add too much time to your workout. A spray bottle full of water can speed up the process too, just spray, wipe down, and you’re done. You can also use a gentle soap if you’ve been using your mat in a public setting. Be sure to rinse it and let it dry before rolling it up again.
Q. Does cork have a strong smell?
A. Cork has a natural, woody smell that dissipates with time. Cork yoga mats do have a thin layer of rubber coating, which can have an odor. Most people can’t smell the coating through the cork. However, if you’re particularly sensitive to odors, look for a mat with a thin rubber coating.
Q. Cork yoga mats look smooth. Do they provide a good grip?
A. A strong grip factor is essential for any yoga mat, cork or otherwise. The smooth surface of a typical cork mat can be deceiving. The structure of the cork causes it to become stickier as it gets wet, providing incredible grip for hot yoga sessions. A light spray from a water bottle can be enough to activate the grip as soon as you start.
Q. What are the backing materials used on cork yoga mats?
A. Cork mats may come with any number of backing materials, and some are more eco-friendly than others. The most eco-friendly are backed with natural or recycled rubber, foam, or latex. The term “natural” means that petrochemicals are not used to make the material.
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