Contains no latex. Available in 2 lengths (up to 84").
Takes some time to break in. Dense material is heavier to carry.
Environmentally friendly, durable materials. Available in 2 lengths (up to 72"). Slip-resistant and easy on joints.
Costs more than some competitors.
Easy on joints. Slip-resistant surface. Includes carrying strap.
Less durable than some competitors. Not suited for hot yoga. Extra thickness may affect balance.
Not too expensive but durable. Does a good job gripping the floor. Has strap system for easy carrying, and is fairly lightweight.
Comes with a strange odor that may fade with use. The material doesn't bounce back like some foam mats, and tends to get slippery from perspiration.
Has a budget friendly price with similar features as pricier models, including spacious size, carrying strap, and lightweight build.
Though it's slip resistant under most conditions, perspiration and slick floors may lesson its grip. Has an odor when new that tends to fade.
Yoga may be one of the best treats you can give your body. It allows you to increase flexibility while building strength and tone without stress to your body. However, to experience all these benefits (and more), you need a quality yoga mat. Something with a design or color that makes you excited to get to work.
But style shouldn't be your primary concern when choosing a yoga mat. You need one that is textured and has a little stickiness to it so you can hold some of the more difficult positions without slipping. You also want a mat that is comfortably thick, but not too heavy to easily transport. If you're taller, make sure you choose a mat that will accommodate your size.
There are 6 different materials that yoga mats are typically made from. If you'd like more information on these materials and some exercise tips, keep reading. If you're ready to purchase, consider one of the mats we've evaluated and found to be the best.
Jennifer Blair has been writing about sports and fitness topics for the past 8 years. In addition to sports equipment, she enjoys testing out fitness gear in an effort to stay fit and help others commit to a healthy, active lifestyle.
Rubber is another popular yoga mat material, and it’s considered an eco-friendly alternative to PVC. Rubber mats are as durable and supportive as PVC styles, but they’re a better option for environmentally minded practitioners.
If you have allergies, however, the latex could be an issue.
PVC is one of the most popular materials for yoga mats. PVC mats tend to be inexpensive, and mats of this material are often a great choice for beginners because they’re reasonably durable, comfortable, and provide good grip.
However, PVC yoga mats do contain phthalates and dangerous toxins, and they aren’t recyclable, so this isn’t an eco-friendly option.
Like rubber, foam yoga mats are an environmentally friendly alternative to PVC mats. They provide the same performance but are recyclable and toxin-free. Foam mats can also contain latex, however, so they don’t work for practitioners with allergies.
PER yoga mats are actually made from PVC. However, PER doesn’t have phthalates or toxins and can be recycled, so it’s a relatively eco-friendly option.
Cotton yoga mats are a very eco-friendly option because they’re made from a renewable, natural material and are biodegradable. They tend to be thinner than other mats, however, so they don’t offer as much support. But cotton mats absorb sweat effectively and provide a good grip, even when wet.
Jute yoga mats are similar to cotton mats in that they are made from a natural, renewable, and biodegradable material. They also provide effective traction. However, jute mats don’t absorb moisture as well as cotton and aren’t as supportive as other options.
Samantha Attard, nutrition PhD, is a consultant, coach, yoga instructor, and founder of Happy Healthy Human. Through her business, Samantha provides personalized health solutions to individuals and groups of all sizes. She also has a line of health snacks that to help individuals all over the country eat with intention. Her research has been featured in the British Medical Journal, Diabetologia, and Journal of Hypertension, among others.
In order to help you hold your pose and maintain proper alignment, you may wish to seek a yoga mat that has some stickiness to it.
PVC, foam, and PER yoga mats have a good amount of stickiness to them, while rubber mats have a moderate amount. Cotton and jute yoga mats don’t provide much in the way of stickiness at all.
Pay attention to the texture of the yoga mats you’re considering for purchase.
A yoga mat with the right texture can help you stay in position more easily, preventing your hands and feet from slipping and sliding during poses.
Rubber, cotton, and jute yoga mats tend to have the most textured surfaces for effective traction. PVC, foam, and PER yoga mats usually have smooth surfaces that don’t provide much traction.
Some mats wear out faster in the heat and sun, so make sure you don’t leave your mat in a hot car.
Take good care of your mat by cleaning it regularly and drying it off after using.
We spent 43 hours researching 68 different yoga mats before choosing our favorite. We then purchased our top pick and tested it hands on in the field to confirm our choice.
The most important feature of a yoga mat is its thickness, which provides cushioning as you practice your poses.
Our expert consultant Samantha advises against choosing a mat that’s too thick. “There are some yoga mats that are actually workout mats,” she says of thicker styles. “The very squishy, thick yoga mats tend to stretch, making it hard to find stability in lunges and poses like Downward-Facing Dog.”
Yoga mats with a ¼-inch thickness are common. They provide a great deal of cushioning and are very durable. However, they can be fairly heavy.
Yoga mats with an ⅛-inch thickness provide a good deal of support and cushioning. They’re fairly durable and lightweight enough for easy carrying. They do tend to wear out sooner than thicker mats, however.
Yoga mats with a 1/16-inch thickness are usually the thinnest available. They are extremely lightweight, which makes for easy transport. However, they don’t offer much in the way of support or cushioning, so they’re a poor option if you suffer from joint issues.
Choose the mat weight and thickness that makes the most sense for you. If you carry it around and do a lot of walking, a light mat may make more sense. If you have sensitive knees, a little more padding could feel great.
Yoga mats come in a variety of sizes, but the standard size is 24 x 68 inches.
A yoga mat’s length is the measurement that varies the most. Taller individuals may prefer mats that are 72 to 74 inches long, but you can even find styles that are as long as 84 inches.
In general, you should choose a yoga mat that’s at least six inches longer than you are tall.
You can find yoga mats in every color of the rainbow and a wide variety of patterns. Which should you choose? That’s a matter of personal preference.
Opt for a yoga mat style that will make you excited to practice yoga each day.
But remember that, as our expert Samantha explains, “A pretty design doesn’t mean it’s a better mat. Find a material and thickness that feels good for you, and worry about the design later.”
Some mats come with carrying cases, bags, straps, or other features that make them more or less desirable for a particular type of yoga.
Cotton and jute yoga mats are ideal for people who prefer natural materials. You can layer a cotton or jute mat over another mat to increase traction and support.
Yoga mats vary in price based on their thickness, material, and length, but you can typically expect to pay between $15 and $125.
For a thinner yoga mat that doesn’t offer much in the way of cushioning, you’ll usually pay between $15 and $25.
For a mat with medium thickness that provides moderate cushioning, you’ll usually pay between $30 to $50.
For a thicker mat that offers a great deal of cushioning, you’ll usually pay between $55 and $100.
To avoid a smelly mat, wipe it down with a mat-cleaning spray (a mix of water and vinegar) or just plain water after each yoga workout.
If your yoga mat is particularly dirty, soak it in the bathtub and scrub it down with a sponge to remove the grime. Roll it up in a towel to squeeze out the excess moisture, then lay it out flat to dry.
Avoid wearing out your yoga mat by using both sides. Flip it over from time to time to make sure one side doesn’t bear the brunt of all your sessions.
It’s best to store your yoga mat flat under a bed or sofa or gently rolled up in a closet or on a shelf. If you roll the mat too tightly, the material can stretch and bacteria may grow.
If you find pieces of mat on your yoga pants after a session, that means the mat is breaking down – and it’s time for a new one.
Recycle an old yoga mat by using it under your welcome mat or bath mat. The yoga mat can provide some extra traction to keep it from sliding around.
Don’t share your yoga mat with friends or family members. It’s a good way to spread germs that can lead to colds, coughs, fevers, and skin diseases.
Cotton or jute mats work well for layering over other yoga mats to provide added traction.
Foam and rubber yoga mats usually contain latex, so they’re not good mat material choices if you have a latex allergy.
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