If you’re looking for a new yoga mat we’ve come up with a range of choices, at different price-points, that exemplify the different qualities and extras available in modern yoga mats – helping you find the best mat for your skill level, needs and budget.
At all levels, yoga mats should provide two basic qualities: slip-resistance and padding. Slip-resistance is probably the most important since many poses demand a firm footing or palm-down support. Most mats have a surface-patterning of ribs, grooves or dimples but others have sticky surfaces or towelling – or felt-covers for better grip. Padding can provide cushioning making poses more comfortable (when ‘soft’ or ‘firm’ will be a user-choice) but also creates insulation between you and a cold floor or rough surface, as might happen if you’re exercising outdoors.
Other features are the ability to roll the mat up into a carrying bag or strap, and its weight. These ‘portability issues’ will be especially important if you’re hitting the gym after work and carrying your mat with you on the bus or Tube.
Practitioners of yoga are often more earth-friendly than ordinary mortals and several mats are available in ethically-sourced; recycled or recyclable materials. Most mats, though, are manufactured from latex, or PVC which is flexible over a range of temperatures; comes in an unlimited range of colours, and is durable.
The majority of mats are wipe-able and can safely be disinfected with an anti-bacterial towel; some mats are washable, which may be the best solution for smells and bacteria. Fans of hot yoga sometimes prefer absorbent or covered mats that take in moisture and thereby limit the slippiness that might be caused by copious sweat.
A lot of personal taste will be involved but there’s a mat out there to meet your needs. We’ve made some picks that may help guide your choice. Namaste.
Best Yoga Mats 2017
Amazon Basics Yoga Mat with Carrying Strap – Best Budget Mat
The Amazon Basics mat is a great choice for buyers on a budget; it’s attractively priced and functional. The mat is manufactured from a plastic foam material that gives some cushioning and a textured surface provides traction. Amazon offers the mat in four colours and, at 188 cm, it is a little longer than our other picks. It is light in weight and rolls easily into a handy carrying strap.
Leela Yoga Mat – Best Mat Designs
We are drawn to the Leela mat by the colourful designs across its surface. There is a choice of five Indian-inspired prints: Om; Mandala; Elephant; Yantra and Chakren which will brighten your day and draw positive attention at the gym. The mat itself is manufactured from PVC and is competitively priced but some users have reported traction issues with the non-absorbent surface in sweaty conditions and, at 4 mm, it is on the thin side.
Infinity Extra-Thick Yoga Mat with Strap – Best Extra-Thick Mat
Some users, particularly those who are interested in pilates as well as yoga, prefer the padding of an extra-thick mat and, at 15 mm thickness, the Infinity mat fits the bill. The cushioning helps protect joints and can make floor exercises more comfortable. The mat is moderately priced and is available in three colours: black, blue or purple; a ridged surface provides grip. Despite its thickness, the mat rolls easily into the (included) carrying strap.
Plyopic All-in-One Yoga Mat – The Ultimate Yoga Mat
The Plyopic mat is an eco-friendly, luxury choice for those willing to pay a little more to look their best at the gym. Manufactured from natural rubber, the top-surface has a microfibre coating that provides good grip even in damp conditions. For optimal performance, a spray bottle is provided to prime the surface before use. The mat measures 65 cm wide, which is a little wider than our other picks, and is offered in a range of bright, colourful designs. It is a little heavy at 2.4 kilos but rolls easily into its carrying strap and, importantly, is machine washable.