How to Choose a Yoga Mat

Updated: Jul 5, 2020

With so many mats on the market with often hefty price tags, how do you choose? We've laid out our faves below.



Confession: I used to use cheap yoga mats. I had two or three from Target and I LOVED them! They had cute designs and I thought they were really comfortable and had good grip. Until I started practicing regularly at a studio and tried out a fancy-schmancy, eco-friendly, (super)pricey yoga mat.


My friends, there is a difference.


Your mat is an investment in your practice and your overall health.


Isn’t that such a funny word? Investment. Every time I hear someone say that x product is an “investment” I immediately want to roll my eyes. I often say the word investment to make me feel better about spending money on something.


“I bought 3 pairs of yoga leggings, but they’re an investment!” We can talk about legging collections another day.


All joking aside, there is no better word to describe your yoga mat. If you hit the mat every day, you need one that will last. The Target mats may work for you, but they wear out pretty quickly when used every day. The material is thin and doesn’t provide much support for your wrists and knees.


I gave my old cheap-o mat to my 6 year old son, and just recently tried doing a headstand on it. OUCH. There is absolutely no cushion or support!


Quality yoga mats are more expensive, but you definitely get what you pay for.

Most brands use eco-friendly materials and have figured out the right amount of grip that yogis need in their practice. Quality mats are usually much thicker and will provide great support for your joints.


If you practice at a studio, ask if they have rental mats available to try. When students are in the market for a good yoga mat, I always tell them to try out as many different rentals as they can before making the big investment.


If you practice at home or at a virtual studio, you don’t have that luxury, so think about what’s really important to you. Support for your joints? Anti-slip grip? Eco-friendly materials?


To help you choose your mat, I’ve highlighted a few below that I love. Of course there are more brands and mat types out there, but I’m only reviewing mats that I personally have tried.


Manduka eKO


Okay, full disclosure, I’m a manduka girl. Not an affiliate - I’m not getting paid to say any of this, I just love Manduka products! Mats, blocks, bolsters, straps, towels - you name it, I think they’re great!


I use an eKO for my daily practice, and it’s the only mat that I don’t slip on.


Specs:

  • 5mm thick

  • 7lbs

  • Made from biodegradable non-Amazon harvested natural tree rubber

  • No PVC or harmful plasticizers

  • Has a natural grip even with light perspiration

  • $88-$92


Manduka also makes this mat in two smaller/lighter sizes: eko Lite (3-4mm thick; 3-4lbs; $54-$72), and eKo SuperLite (1.5mm thick; 2lbs; great for travel; $42)



Liforme Mat


Yogis everywhere are obsessed with this mat! Check Instagram - it’s everywhere. Liforme has a unique AlignForMe system, which helps you find proper alignment with markers printed directly on the mat.


Not to mention it’s very comfy. The top material is smooth, but still gives you a good grip to prevent slipping.


Specs:

  • 4.2mm thick

  • 5.5lbs

  • Made from natural rubber and eco-polyurethane

  • Comes with a free mat bag & care instructions

  • $140



Jade Harmony Yoga Mat


Jade mats were one of the first super grippy mats on the market. Their Harmony mat is the most popular, and sports a great grip (similar to the Manduka eKO), and plenty of cushion.


The coolest thing about Jade, is that they’re extremely charitable. They’ve partnered with Trees for the Future, and plant a new tree for EVERY mat sold. That’s pretty amazing!


Specs:

  • 4.7mm thick

  • 5 lbs

  • Made from natural rubber tapped from rubber trees

  • No PVC, EVA, or other synthetic rubbers

  • Made in the U.S.

  • $74.99



Manduka PRO


Annnnd we’re back to Manduka :)


The PRO is Manduka’s most popular mat. It has really nice cushioning and is very dense. I recommend this mat to anyone with joint issues...it’s kind to the knees.


If you sweat a lot during your practice, I would recommend one of the other mats mentioned in this post. If you sweat a lot but you really want the dense PRO mat, then you’ll want to get a mat towel to prevent you from slipping and sliding.


Specs:

  • 6mm thick

  • 7 lbs

  • Comes in extra long and standard sizes

  • Non-toxic, emissions free manufacturing

  • 100% latex free

  • Guaranteed to never wear out

  • $110 - $136


The PROlite is a smaller/lighter version of the PRO. PROlite: 4.7mm thick; 4 lbs, $82 - $118.



There you have it - my favorite yoga mats on the market. Trust me, this is a legit investment.


What’s your favorite mat? Let us know in the comments!



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