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Buying a new mat is a big decision. It should be as adaptable as you are, able to go from a rigorous vinyasa flow to a soothing Restorative Yoga class on a whim. Cushion is essential for protecting your joints, yet yoga mats that are too soft will create an unstable base. And of course, durability and sustainability are at the forefront—you’ll want something that can last for years and progress with you, but won’t wreak havoc on the environment when it reaches the end of its life cycle.
Mat manufacturing is constantly being improved. PVC is all but out, while natural rubber mats are beginning to incorporate thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) to make them biodegrade quicker. Cork and organic cotton have also taken strides to be of exceptional quality, yet not all are made equal. The yoga industry is advancing, which allows you to be a more educated buyer.
What to consider when buying a mat
Before we dive in to the list of the best yoga mats of 2021, there are a few things you’ll want to consider before you buy:
- What yoga style do you typically like to practice?
- How often do you get to the studio, or do you regularly practice at home?
- Do you have achy joints, or are you comfortable on just about any surface?
- Are you new to yoga or do you have an advanced practice?
The answers to these questions will affect which mat is the best for you. Price points, open vs. closed cell, weight, thickness, and tech all play a factor in pairing you with the best mat for your practice. We believe that you can’t go wrong with any of these picks.
The 7 best yoga mats of 2021
A teacher once told me that we put our energy into a mat every time we practice on it, and after two years of using this mat, I still feel that connection—and its benefits. At 5mm thick, Hugger Mugger’s mat comfortably cushions my wrists and knees, noticeably reducing discomfort. I typically practice Yin and Restorative Yoga, making the closed-cell structure of this mat suitable for its durability—especially since I’m not sweating much in those classes. But when I do take a vinyasa class, it’s still grippy enough to lock me in place amidst multiple Sun Salutations. And the biodegradable and recyclable TPE used to create this mat make it an eco-friendly pick. $57.95–$82.99
Best for Beginners
This mat has everything that you need to get you started, including an affordable price. It’s lightweight and durable for easy carry and will last over a year of regular use, the 6mm cushion is standard for protecting your joints, and its non-slip surface will help you stay planted in more intermediate and advanced poses. $13.93–$46.78
Best for Vinyasa
Manduka’s famed PRO mat has been a staple in the yoga world for over 20 years, and for good reason. The 6mm cushion protects the joints without being too squishy, enabling stability in postures, and it has a nonslip texture so you and your mat won’t slide around while pressing into Warrior II. As a closed-cell mat, it’s extremely durable and can last for multiple years of practice. Anyone from beginner to advanced can progress safely and comfortably with this classic. $108–$249.98
Best for Hot Yoga
For hot yoga, you’re going to want an open-cell mat since they absorb sweat as opposed to having it pool on top. Yoloha has perfected the cork mat, providing an extra-grippy surface that dries rapidlyand actually gets stickier as you sweat, with vegan foam on the bottom to safeguard the mat from sliding. Plus, it’s lightweight, which makes carrying it around town seamless. $119
What if we told you that cotton can actually be sustainable? That’s right, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) cotton uses 91 percent less water than nonorganic cotton, 62 percent less energy to produce, cannot be grown with chemicals so runoff is negated, and is completely biodegradable. Öko Living takes their focus on sustainability a step further: their mats are dyed using plants and come with no plastic packaging. Plus, its 5mm thick, which still provides an ample amount of cushion. $174
Best for Travelers
Portability is key for this mat—it folds up to be smaller than a yoga block. At 1/16” thick and only 1.5 pounds, it can easily fit in a backpack, suitcase, or tote bag. Carry it with you around town to catch an afternoon class while you’re on-the-go, or toss it into your luggage when traveling. Even though it’s thin, the natural rubber provides excellent grip and a small cushion (and that price tag is nice, as well). $39.95
Get a mat, a class, and an instructor all in one. YogiFi is changing the at-home yoga experience by providing a mat that lights up to offer corrections in your posture, speaks to you for step-by-step instruction, tracks your calories burned, heart rate, and many more health stats. It also comes with an app equipped with multiple classes and programs, so you can start practicing immediately—no studio required. $399
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