Best yoga mats: Durable, stylish and sustainable yoga mats

We've stretched and slipped on a host of mats to bring you the best
Durable and sustainable yoga mats

If there’s one thing you really need for yoga practice, it’s a mat – and buying the best can make all the difference to your practice. Too sticky and it’ll be lifting up with you as you move between poses. Not enough grip and you’ll be slipping out of your downward dog faster than you can say svanasana.

But one thing to remember is that there’s not one mat that will suit all. With so many different types of yoga out there – each requiring different sequences and movement – the best mat for you will depend on the style of your practice.

A general rule of thumb is: if you’re into more intense, sweaty yoga where you’re practicing stronger poses such as balances and inversions - go for a stickier mat with a strong grip. Without it, you'll slide during poses and risk injury.

But if you’re more likely to spend more time with seated poses, practicing a more low intensity type of yoga, such as Yin, then comfort may be a higher priority as you’ll be spending more time on the mat. Therefore, you should opt for a thicker, more cushioned material to provide adequate support.

Then there’s the question of sustainability. If you’re conscious of the impact your mat might have on the environment opt for a rubber, jute or foam mat, which can contain fewer harmful substances for the environment.

With so many mats on the market and so many different things to consider, it’s no mean feat deciding on the best one for you. So whatever your preference, here is our guide to the top mats out there - tried and tested - for all different types of yoga and the people practicing it.

Best all-rounder: Sweaty Betty Super Grip Yoga Mat

Buy now: Sweaty Betty (UK) / Sweaty Betty (US) | $85

Best yoga mats: Durable, stylish and sustainable yoga mats

Sweaty Betty’s Super Grip mat is a great all-rounder for practitioners who prefer to take their own mat to a yoga class. Weighing 2kg, it’s not too heavy, either, meaning you can carry it around with ease.

Once it’s rolled out, it has a super soft, comfortable finish but a strong grip at the same time. While perhaps not first choice for dedicated yogis with a daily practice, it still looks the part and offers great support providing all the padding you need, even in a strong and sweaty class and when doing headstands, for example.

It’s also made from natural latex making it biodegradable - take note if you have an allergies though.

Best for strong grip: Yogi Bare Paws Yoga Mat

Buy now: Amazon | £52.99

Best yoga mats: How to pick your perfect yoga partner

With a special non-slip technology, the Yogi Bare Paws yoga mat is one of the best out there for a juicy grip, making it ideal for those yogis who are dripping with sweat only ten minutes into practice but don’t want to slide out of a strong pose.

Crafted from eco-friendly natural rubber and polyurethane, it’s not only friendly on the environment but it’s also half the price of other yoga mats with a similar material and grip strength. The design includes subtle alignment lines on there as well, so you can keep yourself centered throughout the session.

We also found it one of the best out there for longer sessions due to its 4mm thickness, something which helps protect your wrists and knees when you throw yourself a little too hard into certain movements. While it’s a little shorter than some of the other mats on the market at 180cm long, all in all it’s a really great mat designed by a yogi, for yogis, which becomes more apparent the more you practice on it.

Best for sweaty yogis: Lululemon Reversible Yoga Mat

Buy now: Lululemon (UK) / Lululemon (US) | $68

Best yoga mats: Durable, stylish and sustainable yoga mats

This is one of stickiest mats on the market, making it perfect for those that like hot yoga, or genuinely just sweat buckets during class. This is thanks to its top layer of antimicrobial polyurethane, which helps to absorb moisture and prevent slippage.
It also has something most others don’t. It’s reversible, meaning it can be flipped over and accommodate different styles of practice. On the opposite side, you’ll find a more a grippy texture that gives better traction for less vigorous practices, or for trying out your inversions such as headstands and crow poses.

The mat also comes in a variety of sizes, both in the length of the matt and thickness. So you can pick and choose one that's right for your size as well as your style of practise.

Best for eco warriors: Jade Yoga Harmony Mat

Buy now: Amazon | $79.99

Best yoga mats: Durable, stylish and sustainable yoga mats

It’s not surprising that many of those practicing yoga have an active interest in sustainability and lowering the impact we have on the environment in any way that they can.

This is because many yoga students often try to incorporate the “eight limbs of yoga” (basically eight mantras that offer guidance on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life). One of these is “ahimsa”, or"do no harm", and means living consciously in terms of the environment.

US mat crafter Jade Yoga has taken note here, and ensured that its made from 100 percent natural rubber sourced from rubber trees instead of PVC, a material that many cheaper mats are made from and often includes harmful metals, and other ozone-damaging substances.

But the Harmony mat isn’t just about keeping the earth happy. It also makes for a great balance of grip with the just the right amount of cushioning, ideal for those practicing a mix of both seated poses and balances.

Best for alignment: Liforme Yoga Mat

Buy now: Amazon | $149.99

Best yoga mats: How to pick your perfect yoga partner

The Liforme mat has quite the following in the yoga sphere. If you’ve been to a busy yoga class before, chances are you’ve seen at least one of these there, as it’s garnered a name for itself over the years with dedicated yogis.

Made popular by its distinctive design and durability, what we love about the Liforme mat is that it’s an unbelievably sticky bit of kit, making it ideal for strong postures and inversions that require a good grip. It has excellent eco-credentials, too.

Best of all is its alignment markers that are lasered into the mat. Called AlignForMe, this design feature will help anyone - even the more experienced - remember where to place their hands and feet for proper posture during practice.

The Liforme is definitely one of our favourite mats, but at $149.99 a pop, it doesn't come cheap so we’d only suggest this if you’re serious about your practice. Saying that; even with regular use it will last you years, and it even come complete with its own carry bag, so take these into consideration when considering a purchase. Weighing 2.4kg it is, however, quite heavy, so not ideal for travel.

Best for travel: Manduka eKo Superlite Travel Mat

Buy now: Amazon | $43.99

Best yoga mats: How to pick your perfect yoga partner

Manduka is a big name when it comes to yoga mat brands and is used by some of the world’s biggest commercial gyms for their dedicated yoga classes.

One of the company’s best-recognised mats is the eKo Lite, which provides a naturally grippy surface, an eco-friendly and biodegradable material but all in a lightweight package that’s ideal for travelling.

It’s also super slim in design, which means you can fold it up and pop it in any bag and you won't really feel it's there. Obviously it’s not the best for cushioning, so not ideal for regular use if you’re into more seated yoga such as Yin, but perfect for one off use here and there while travelling around.

And as its name suggests, it's made from biodegradable, non-Amazon harvested, natural tree rubber with non-toxic foaming agents and non-AZO dyes, so no environment guilt here, either.

Best for playtime and inversions: Form Carbon-negative Circular Yoga Mat

Buy now: Amazon | $89

Best yoga mats: How to pick your perfect yoga partner

British fitness firm Form haven’t been around all that long but they’re already shaking up the yoga accessories space. The startup hit the headlines late last year when it created one of the world’s first carbon-negative circular yoga mats that isn’t only friendly on the environment, but is a helluva lot of fun to play on.

What makes the mats so friendly on the environment is that they are made from recycled natural rubber and recycled plastic bottles, meaning no extracting of resources and thus helping the fight against single-use plastic waste.

We’ve also been told that the production and delivery of the mats follow a carefully monitored carbon-negative assessment taking into account the carbon emitted per mat, distance traveled, and modes of transport used to ship to customers (presumably that doesn't apply to Amazon, so check out theform.co.uk). And while the mats are designed to last, they are also designed to be recyclable when the time comes for their replacement.

More importantly, the Form’s size and cushioned material mean they're also great for inversions and playing around on, too.

Best for beginners on a budget: Yogamatters Sticky Mat

Buy now: Yogamatters (US) / Amazon (UK) | $20

Best yoga mats: How to pick your perfect yoga partner

If you’re just starting out and not sure whether yoga is definitely for you yet, then you shouldn’t go splurging your hard earned wages on a mat, especially if you aren't sure you’ll be practicing yoga regularly.

This basic Sticky Mat from YogaMatters is the perfect starting point. It has just the right amount of and enough stick to do the job for a beginner, without breaking the bank.

Stickiness is important for a yoga newbie as it might take some time before they can learn to ground through their hands and feet more strongly. If that’s the case for you, you’ll need this bit of extra grip from your mat.

The cushioning helps, too, as you’re likely to fall from time to time during your first couple of months practicing yoga. This will also help to protect knees, bottoms and backs from hard surfaces below, especially at the end of the class when it’s time for savasana.

Crafted from PVC, this Yogamatters Sticky Mat might not be made from the best material if you’re conscious about your impact on the environment, but at least it's a “high grade” PVC, so free from latex and other nasties. It’s also machine washable, unlike most yoga mats, which will definitely come in handy if you sweat a lot.

Tags:    Yoga
Tagged    Yoga