The hunt for the perfect yoga mat can sometimes feel like a quest for the holy grail. With price, grip, thickness, length, colour, weight, and sustainability all at play in yogi’s minds, choosing a mat can be a daunting affair. And with some considerable price-tags in the mix, you don’t want to get the wrong one. Here are five we think you can trust.
- Manduka ProLite Yoga Mat
- Liforme Yoga Mat
- Prana ECO Yoga Mat
- Gaiam Premium Print Mat
- Manduka Eko SuperLite Travel Yoga Mat
Best For: All-round mat experience
Highlight: It’s padded but not too chunky; affordable; sustainable, and has a reliable non-slip grip.
Review: This is a sturdy mat built to last. Its closed cell surface structure is designed to wick sweat and dirt away rather than absorb it, and the grip improves with use. Its ‘proprietary dot patterned’ bottom is also there to ensure that however sweaty things get, your mat will not slip against the floor. The surface is easy to clean, and a mix of vinegar and sea salt is recommended as the best way to take care of your mat whilst improving the grip. It’s made of non-toxic materials, is 100% latex free, comes in 9 colours and two lengths.
Pros: Great padding to cushion your knees and wrists, a non-grip surface that you can rely on, and eco-friendly materials all covered under Manduka’s lifetime guarantee.
Cons: Although skinnier than its Manduka Pro cousin, the ProLite is still thick as mats go. Taking care of it will take maintenance and attention, so if you lean towards low-maintenance, this might not be for you.
Size: Regular 61cm x 180cm | Long 61cm x 200cm
Materials: Phthalate-free PVC with zero waste
Price: c. £60 | c. £70 (prices vary)
Best For: Perfectionists
Highlight: The printed alignment-guiding design is a great way to find symmetry and balance in any pose, for beginners or advanced yogis.
Review: The Liforme mat is great for alignment and building confidence during practice. It’s also larger than most mats, so lends a luxurious spaciousness to your practice, whether you’re using it in a studio or at home. Its grippy surface is also a big draw. Made from eco-friendly materials, its blend of natural rubber with sustainably-sourced felt is designed to cushion your joints with 4.2mm of padding. The design is far from distracting, etched subtly into the surface to avoid use of synthetic dyes, meanwhile each heat-bonded layer of the mat is held together free from toxic glue or adhesives. The mat comes with its own carrying bag, which is an added bonus, though perhaps a welcome offering given the high price mark.
Pros: Eco-friendly, PVC-free mat with great sticky surface, plus unique alignment-aiding design and large size.
Cons: It’s very expensive, heavier than most mats, and the alignment system may not suit everyone.
Size: 185 x 68cm
Materials: Eco-friends PVC-free natural rubber and sustainably-sourced felt
Best For: Environmentally conscious yogis
Highlight: The Prana ECO Yoga Mat is made from 100 percent thermoplastic elastomer: it’s non-toxic, sustainably made, and completely recyclable.
Review: The environmental costs of manufacturing synthetic rubbers and plastics are eliminated from the Prana ECO Mat. It’s also completely recyclable, so you can rest easy once you’re ready to replace it. It is also UV resistant, so your won’t fade or deteriorate with sun exposure. It’s latex-free, chloride-free, and PVC-free. Most notably, it’s extremely lightweight, coming in at only 1.6kg. Whilst it’s nice and sticky for grip, it’s not the most cushioning mat available. Despite being 5mm thick, its texture is somewhat spongy, and isn’t well-suited to practising on rough ground. The mat is double-sided, so you can rotate front-to-back and top-to-bottom to get a seriously long-term, even wear on your mat even with heavy use. It’s also affordable and comes in a range of attractive designs.
Pros: Good for the environment throughout its lifespan – production to deterioration, lightweight and affordable.
Cons: Everyone has their own idea of the best non-slip sticky surface, and some users reported the eco-friendly material was stretching instead of sticking.
Size: 183cm x 61cm
Materials: 100% Thermal plastic elastomer
Best For: Yogis on a budget
Highlight: Highly affordable and a huge choice of fun design options.
Review: The main attraction here is the price: at around £20 (prices vary), the Gaiam Premium Print Yoga Mat is highly affordable. There is also an exciting range of attractive prints to choose from – peacock feathers to symmetrical mandalas, bright colours or pastels, there’s something for everyone. Gaiam is a respected and trusted brand within the yoga community and the mat certainly doesn’t feel like a poor cousin to some of the others tested. It’s 5mm thick, lightweight and portable. Though it is made from PVC, which isn’t the most environmentally friendly, it’s a safe and durable material. The main downside is the mat’s limited lifetime: it won’t last forever, and if you practise a lot, particularly if you get very sweaty, its grip may not be secure enough. But for a beginner, or as a spare mat, it’s a no-brainer.
Pros: Serious affordability and artful designs make this mat a good fit for a casual yogi or beginner.
Cons: Durability isn’t guaranteed with a budget yoga mat, and even though Gaiam is a trusted yoga brand, these mats won’t last forever.
Size: 61cm x 172cm
Price: £20-30 (prices vary)
Best For: Travelling yogis
Highlight: Slim and lightweight enough to bring with you no matter how far you roam.
Review: Made of a woven material that will not tear or stretch either while in use or in your suitcase, the Manduka Eko SuperLite Travel Mat is foldable like a towel, so you need not bring an extra bag for it on your travels. The material features a sweat-resistant closed cell design to keep the mat drier and clear for longer, particularly in hot climates. It’s made from natural rubber, which it specifies is not harvested from the Amazon. It’s also incredibly grippy. In order to keep it travel-friendly, it is incredibly thin. At just 1.5mm thick, it offers no cushioning, so for those with injuries requiring support, this may be a problem. It’s akin to practising on a very grippy floor: perfect if you need to cut out the bulk.
Pros: incredibly portable and grippy, a no-brainer for fitting even the tightest-packed suitcase or holdall.
Cons: lack of cushioning, and a rubbery smell that fades but is quite strong to start with.
Size: 61cm x 180cm
Materials: non-Amazon harvested natural tree rubber
Price: c. £35 (prices vary)
For reviews in further depth, read more at Business Insider UK.