Ah, the yoga mat: It’s arguably the only piece of equipment you really need to practice, and it can make or break a class. Start sliding all over a too-slick surface and there goes your alignment; try to hold Low Lunge on a too-thin mat and bam: knee pain. Yet with so many options when it comes to materials, designs, and price, it can be tough to single out The One. That’s why we tested the new crop—so you don’t have to. Use our guide to find your mat match, and in honor of September's National Yoga Month, enter now to win one of our favorites.
Have Mat, Will Travel
On the road a lot? Jade’s new Voyager mat takes up about as much space in your suitcase as a pair of folded jeans—and at 1.7 pounds, it’s lighter. We also love the YOGO Mat Ultralight, which has a built-in carrying handle that makes it perfect for far-away festivals.
Not only did the Liforme mat take no time to break in—and by “no time,” we mean the mat kept us in place from our very first Down Dog—it also has a subtle graphic that helps newbies figure out proper foot and hand placement. Bonus: It’s made from planet-friendly naturally sourced rubber.
There’s nothing worse than your hands and feet sliding all over a mat, and our testers with the sweatiest extremities loved the stickiness of the Jade Harmony. Bonus: All of Jade’s mats are super sticky, and you can choose from vari- ous thicknesses and gorgeous colors to find one that feels customized for you.
Want a mat that motivates by beauty and will score you compliments every time you roll it out? California-based artist Sophie Leininger hand-paints designs that she prints onto her Magic Carpet Yoga Mats. Yet these aren’t just pretty mats: Our testers didn’t slip in the slightest on the non- latex PVC surface.
The Manduka Black Mat PRO ($108) and PROlite ($80, shown here in red) are the top choices of many yoga teachers for good reason: They’re sticky from the get-go, offer good cushioning, and last so long you won’t have to take advantage of the lifetime guarantee.
BareFoot Yoga Co.’s Original Eco Yoga jute mat is made from all-natural rubber and hessian, the material woven from jute fiber, making it one of the most sustainable on the market. Even better, our testers loved how sticky it was from the outset.
Gaiam’s Sol Dry-Grip Yoga Mat is an all-around great mat, thanks to rubber-free material (read: it’s not as stinky as some rubber mats initially are) and a polyurethane top layer that wicks away moisture and provides a slip-free grip.
Oftentimes, dry-grip rubber mats don’t offer much cushioning. But lululemon athletica designed The Reversible Mat 5mm to feel softer on your knees and hips in floor poses. Plus, our testers’ hands didn’t budge—no matter how hot and sweaty class got.
They were used in India for centuries, and now yoga rugs are a growing trend. Our testers loved Yogasana’s Earth Yoga Mat and Barefoot Yoga Co.’s Extra Long Mysore Practice Rug. Both have a tight weave that feels smooth on hands and feet, and are made of grippy, 100 percent cotton that works whether palms are dry or a bit moist. Bonus: They’re machine washable.
Hugger Mugger’s Para Rubber Yoga Mat is the Goldilocks of the yoga-mat world: It’s just right when it comes to comfort, support, and grip. The mat is made from natural rubber that has a soft texture, its 1⁄4-inch thickness means plenty of padding, and it provides solid traction so that you won’t slip—starting with your first use.
It’s a double-duty genius: Kulae’s Elite Hybrid mat combines a mat and towel in one, with the top layer made from a sweat-absorbant bamboo/microfiber blend and a bottom layer constructed from eco-friendly polymer environmental resin (PER) that kept the mat perfectly in place on jump-through after jump-through.