The beauty about yoga is that it can be done anywhere, anytime…meaning the best yoga mats can be as simple as a bare floor. Of course, not everyone may feel comfortable doing sun salutations on a cold, hard surface or damp patch of grass—and if that doesn’t sound like your vibe either, it’s worth investing in a mat that’ll get you excited about practicing at home or at a studio.
Naturally, you’ll get the most out of your practice when you feel stable and supported in your poses, which is why we went to yogis to find out what the hallmarks are of a great yoga mat. Is it grip? Thickness? Material? Price? The answer really depends on you and what makes you feel most safe and secure during your practice, but it helps to know what features to look out for when shopping for a new mat. Read up on what tips we learned from the pros, below.
What features should you consider when shopping for a yoga mat?
“Everyone’s ‘soul-mat’ needs differ depending on what they crave in their everyday yoga practice,” Liza Colpa, certified yoga instructor at YogaToday, tells Glamour. But certain features worth keeping an eye out for include grip and thickness. For beginners, she recommends styles with “great grip to avoid slipping, and a medium thickness to prevent putting too much pressure on the knees and wrists.”
For those with a consistent yoga practice, you may want to experiment with length and material, which will determine the overall texture, stickiness, durability, and eco-friendliness of the mat. For instance, says Colpa, tall people may want to swap their existing mat for a longer one that provides extra legroom, while others may want designs specifically made of sustainable materials (think: all-natural or recycled rubber, cork, or jute) in lieu of the standard PVC options.
Price can also be deciding factor—and if you’re just starting out, you can find great options under $60. (Some of which you’ll see below.) If you want to level up your routine and invest in something more durable, you’re looking at prices between $100 and $200.
What is the best thickness for a yoga mat?
Yoga mat thickness is measured in millimeters—2 mm, 4 mm, and 6 mm being the most common—and what you’ll like will, again, depend on a number of things. First, you have to think about how “close” to the floor you want to be when practicing, says Ezra Shipin, creator of Common Cause Movement and Y7 instructor. Shipin says she personally prefers thin, non-slip mats when teaching hot yoga—sweaty palms on a slick surface are a recipe for slipping—but says that people with wrist problems or joint issues may prefer something thicker and softer to relieve pressure.
Next up, Shipin says you should consider where you’re practicing most often. Thicker mats tend to be heavier and denser—and depending on how far you have to “travel” with your mat, you may prefer a foldable, lightweight option over, say, a thick cork or rubber mat that you can simply drag-and-drop beside your bed or couch.
Between the key features, varying price points, and sheer number of yoga mats on the market, there’s a lot to take in, which is why we took things to the next level and combed through hundreds of reviews to help you find the mats most suitable for your needs. Ahead, 11 of the best yoga mats to shop now.