Whether you were once a regular at your local yoga studio (and plan to be again in the future) or are just now getting into home practice with a virtual class, it’s important to have a reliable mat on hand. Too slippery and your downward dogs will feel hazardous, too grippy and you might find your mat coming with you when you jump forward during sun salutations. To help us find the Goldilocksian ideal of mats — along with some specific options for those looking for, say, a cushiony mat that’s especially supportive to joints or one that’s especially lightweight — we reached out to 13 yogis and studio owners to hear about their favorites.
Best overall yoga mats
Three of the 13 yogis we talked to named Manduka’s PROlite mat as their go-to for daily practice. “My favorite gear to practice with is all Manduka,” says instructor Kyle Miller. “The Manduka mat is indulgent — it’s grippy, soft, and breaks in very well.” And while the mat certainly isn’t the least expensive of the ones on this list, Miller told us they hold up well over time. “You definitely get what you pay for with their mats,” she says. Kristen Nichols, an instructor at Y7 Studio, agrees that Manduka is a “quality brand” and that the lightweight mats are “durable.” She also notes that the mat “can get slippery, but it’s meant to — it’s designed to make you engage more.” Alexandria Brzenk, community manager and yoga teacher at Yoga Shanti, is a fan of Manduka’s PROlite mat as well and says she uses it both for home practice and for teaching at her studio. The slight slipperiness is part of the appeal: “I prefer the texture of this mat over rubber mats because it makes flowing through transitions smoother while also offering enough traction so that my hands don’t slip in down dog,” she says. According to Brzenk, the mat also offers comfortable, full-body support: “It provides cushioning for the joints without sacrificing stability in standing postures.” And while you may not be carrying it to the studio now, when you eventually are, Nichols notes this one is easy to take on the go. “If you want something for walking to your yoga class, I would say try the Manduka PROlite … their light version is great for carrying around.”
If you’re looking for a mat with more grip to make you feel a bit more secure (especially for those engaging in sweatier workouts), Jade’s Harmony yoga mat is a favorite of the yoga instructors we talked to (as well as Pilates instructors and National Book Foundation executive director Lisa Lucas). “Jade mats are the best,” says Liz Wexler, a group fitness manager at Equinox. “They’re sticky, so your hands and feet don’t slide, and they’re durable, so you can put them in washing machines.” Patrick Foley, a manager and teacher at Sky Ting yoga, says that they “stock all of our studios with Jade mats” and that he uses one for his home practice as well. “The natural rubber is ecofriendly and provides great grip (even when you get a little bit sweaty), and it’s thick enough to provide a little cushion,” he says. And if the price seems somewhat high, Wexler assures us that it’s worth the investment: “They’ll also last for a really long time, several years.”
Best (less expensive) yoga mat
For a less expensive option, Sky Ting founders Krissy Jones and Chloe Kernaghan suggest Jade’s Level 1 mat, which is about half the price of the Harmony. “They have the best traction for your hands and feet, so no slipping,” they told us. The mat is also lightweight and rolls up easily, making it particularly storable if you’re using it to practice at home (and ideal for one day carrying it to the studio).
Best lightweight yoga mat
Sharron Lynn, founder of Breathe Flow Be, also recommends Jade’s mats, and she’s particularly fond of its travel mat, which can be used even if you’re not on the go. She calls the mat “lightweight” (it’s just over three pounds), “easy to clean,” and great for “outdoors and indoors” alike. Best of all, she says, is that it contains nonslip technology. She heard about the mat from a fellow yogi who thought it would give her better traction in practice. “I was taking a ton of hot yoga classes and had issues with my hands slipping due to sweat and moisture from the heated room. She recommended Jade’s mats about three years ago, and I’ve been using them ever since.”
Best cushioned yoga mat
Yoga teacher Hannah Gardner says she prefers a thicker mat because “the little extra cushion feels better on my joints.” Since it’s reversible, you basically get two mats in one. “I use the smooth side up during a Vinyasa flow, allowing easy transitions,” Gardner says, and then for hot yoga, “having the grip side up keeps me from sliding around.” Plus it’s easy to clean after each session.
Best supportive yoga mat
Sarah Neufeld, co-founder of Modo Yoga, tells us that she “always uses Manduka mats” and that the PRO is her go-to for at-home practice. “When you get the PRO, at first it feels slippery, but then a couple of weeks into using it, it starts to get perfect,” she says. “Five to ten years later, it gets even better and stays grippy.” Neufeld notes that the Manduka PRO mat is “really heavy,” but that it gives “a lot of support.” Heather Lilleston and Katelin Sisson, the founders of Yoga for Bad People, agree: “For home practice, a bit more cushion and density are sometimes nice,” they told us. “For that, we love the Manduka PRO.” And though it’s a bit more expensive, Neufeld says it’s a worthy investment: “It’s thicker and will last forever, so I’m willing to spend more on it,” she says.
Best wide yoga mat
Michael Patton, the founder of YogaVida, told us that the B Mat Everyday is a favorite of all those in the Yoga Vida sphere. “Students love the B Mat Everyday,” he says. “It has great grip, and it’s durable.” It’s another one that works especially well for at-home practice: “Studios don’t always love it because they’re wider and longer, so they mess up our rows a bit,” says Patton. But if you have the floor space at home, it’s a good option for spreading out — and for giving yourself a little extra padding, should that side angle bind leave you on the ground.
Best sustainable mat
While several of the mats on this list come from brands with a focus on sustainability (Jade’s mats are made from ecofriendly natural rubber, and the brand plants a tree for every mat sold) SugaMat’s offerings take it a bit further: Each mat is made entirely from recycled wet suits. Miller told us the mats are a favorite at the Love Yoga studio in Los Angeles: “They’re comfy, very cool-looking, and nonslip,” she says. The mat comes in a regular (72” x 25”) size as well as an oversize version (74” x 26”), which might come in handy for those who are on the taller side or who simply would like some more room to spread out.
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