8 best yoga mats
Avoid slips during your most impressive poses with a sturdy, cushioned mat
Most of us have probably arrived at an evening yoga class reeling after a manic day, only to find the mats provided are not only too thin but have little to no grip, leaving you sliding all over the place as you try to ignore just how hard – and cold – the floor is.
As the base of any practice (and the item you put your faith in as you try out those trickier poses), a decent mat is the most important accessory for any yogi – and getting it right is crucial.
There are lots of things to consider when buying a new mat, from size to “stickiness”. Grip is the key word and while most yoga mats promise it, it can be a mixed bag in terms of how much they actually prevent slipping.
If you’re a beginner, we would recommend also finding a mat that has enough padding for you to feel confident about trying new poses and ultimately not ending up with bruised knees.
If you frequently practice or are a particularly busy yogi, you may want to also consider some additional measures. Weight can be a particularly important, especially if you’re lugging the mat to a studio three times a week, while if you want to introduce something a little different to your practice, there’s linen and cork mats to try.
With so many mats on the market – and so many different things to consider – we understand it can be hard to choose. That’s why we’ve racked up more than 25 hours testing mats in dynamic Bikram and vinyasa classes, as well as in the comfort of our own living room.
Our checklist included how the mats performed in particularly sweaty sessions, their size and weight, how easy they were to look after and, finally, whether they looked any good.
We’ve whittled the options down to our favourite eight so, whether you’re looking for great performance or for a stylish mat to light up your Instagram feed, we can guarantee there’s something on this list for you.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
Super Grip Yoga Mat: £65, Sweaty Betty
Sweaty Betty was founded 20 years ago to create fitness accessories that not only do the job but also look good. It’s not surprising then that the brand’s sleek Super Grip Yoga Mat ticks all the right boxes.
Not only was this the first mat that made it onto our Instagram stories (a modern-day mark of success for any item), but it was also the one we kept returning to due to its superior comfort and grip.
At 4mm thick, it is slightly thinner than some of the other brands we tried, but we found that from shavasana to headstand, it provided all the padding we needed.
From day one, the mat was ultra-grippy and it remained virtually slip-free throughout our practices, whether we were dripping in sweat in our weekly Bikram class or squeezing in a quick 20 minutes at home.
The mat is made from natural latex, meaning it is biodegradable (although be careful if you have an allergy), and at 2kg it is light enough to carry around.
Make sure you take any makeup off before using this mat. We found it was prone to picking up small marks, especially foundation, which isn’t ideal when your favourite position is child’s pose.
It can be easily looked after, however, by wiping clean with a damp cloth and a little mild soap.
Liforme Yoga Mat: £100, Liforme
This Liforme mat was the most expensive one we tried so our expectations were sky-high before we’d even started to unzip it from the luxurious carry-bag that it arrived in.
Favoured by yogis across the world and with years of research behind it, this bold mat is described by the brand as “groundbreaking” and “truly revolutionary” and we can certainly see why.
The mat perfectly balances the right amount of cushioning with a high-grip surface to ensure a stable and solid practice. It is also wider and longer than most regular yoga mats at 185cm x 68cm, and comes with a unique “asana alignment guide” (for you and me, that’s lines etched on the mat) to help with positioning.
This means you don’t have to continually worry about overstretching or about stepping off the back/front/side of the mat when your three-legged dog goes awry.
It is predominantly made of naturally sourced sustainable rubber, meaning it is eco-friendly and completely non-toxic. However, we found it did have a slightly unpleasant smell when it arrived (nothing that a quick air outside didn’t fix, though).
Ultimately, if you’re looking to splash the cash, this is great mat that will take you morning sun salutations to pre-bed meditation.
The Reversible Mat (3mm): £48, Lululemon
This mat is ideal if you count yourself as a “busy person”; the kind of person who lugs their yoga mat into the office via a rammed commuter train to take part in a “quick” post-work class before heading to meet friends for cocktails in that new swanky bar.
At just 3mm thick and at less than 2kg in weight, Lululemon’s reversible mat was one of the easiest to transport and provided a stable base no matter where we practised. Made with a polyurethane top layer, which absorbs moisture during practice, we found this mat comfortable and grippy both during floor work and hot classes.
It is slightly smaller in size compared to some other models on the market (180cm x 66cm) and if you’re into longer, slower practices, we’d recommend going for the brand’s thicker 5mm model so you better protect your wrists and knees.
As with some of the other brands, Lululemon’s mat also had a slight smell when we received it, which faded over time, helped by cleaning the mat with warm, soapy water.
Ultimately, if you’re all about yoga-on-the-go, then this mat should be right up your street – and, if you’re feeling particularly brave, opt for one of the brand’s bold printed designs.
Sticky Yoga Mat: £17, Yogamatters
This basic, great-value mat is a good purchase for any beginner or occasional yogi. It’s made from high-grade PVC (worth considering if you’re very eco-friendly) and is machine-washable so it is incredibly easy to look after – and we found almost nothing marks it.
At 4.5mm thick, this mat provides enough comfort for classes, while being thin enough to enable you to feel the floor so you can really get to grips with your poses. We found that it offered just enough “stickiness”, although in particularly sweaty or hot sessions we had to readjust our downward-facing dog a couple more times than we would have liked.
We would recommend having a little bit of patience with this mat, however. Having used it multiple times over the course of a month, we found that it does begin to wear in to provide the extra grip in the areas where you need it most.
If you’re looking for a travel mat, Yogamatters also does a great Eco Travel Yoga Mat, which costs £35 and is just 1mm thick, making it really easy to squeeze into your suitcase.
The Premium Yogi Premium Cork Yoga Mat: £85, CorkYogis
We’re not exaggerating when we say that this stylish and functional mat led to such a high-quality and smooth practice that we fell asleep during shavasana.
With 4mm of recycled rubber topped with 1mm of Portuguese cork, CorkYogis’ mat balances superior padding with the right amount of grip, making it easy to move between poses.
The premium mat, which we tested, weighs 3kg, meaning it is best for home practice or for leaving at the studio, although its extra thickness and size means it is well suited to the long poses of yin yoga, for pregnancy yoga or if you’re injured. (If you are desperate for a cork mat that you can transport, CorkYogis does have a classic mat available for £65, which is slightly lighter at 1.8kg.)
Unlike other brands we tested, this mat didn’t smell at the beginning and, as the cork is naturally antimicrobial, it is super easy to look after with users only needing to wipe it down with vinegar water if they want to get rid of any marks.
Not only that, but we’re promised the cork’s grip improves as it gets wet so the more you sweat the better! Plus, CorkYogis supports the Destiny Foundation, which works with victims of human trafficking, meaning for each mat that is purchased, the brand makes a contribution towards one girl’s training – what more could you want?
Yogi Bare Paws Mat: £52.99, Yogi Bare
Yogi Bare promises that you’ll want to “get your paws” on one of its sleek and functional Paws mats and, quite frankly, we can bear with the pun (sorry!) because this mat is one of the good ones.
Not only is it super stylish, with geometric-style patterning and a huge paw in the centre to keep you grounded, it is one of the grippiest mats we tried. We found it particularly good for longer, 90-minute sessions as its thick (4mm), cushioned structure, made from eco-friendly natural rubber and polyurethane, protects your wrists and knees.
At 180cm long, it is slightly shorter than some of the other mats on the market (we kept falling off in plough pose) but other than that, we can’t tell the difference between this and some of the more expensive brands.
Items can sometimes be out of stock on Yogi Bare’s website, but it’s worth the wait.
Heritage Linen Mat: £42, M-Life
If you’re looking for something a bit different, then this is the mat for you. M-Life’s high quality linen mat combines a soft, cloth surface, which is naturally sticky, with a PVC underside, which ensures your mat doesn’t slip on smooth surfaces.
At 5mm thick, it is perfect for floor work, particularly if you are practising poses that stack your weight over a particular point, as it cushions any pressure points well.
Every linen mat comes with a custom tie, which enables you to store and transport it easily (although at 2.5kg it’s a tad on the heavy side if you’re planning to carry it around all day). We loved the different feel of this yoga mat, particularly during evening classes after a hard day’s work.
Yoga Studio Grip Mat (4mm): £49, Yoga Studio
This lightweight and durable mat from Yoga Studio does what it says on the tin. Like many of the other mats on the market, it is made from two different materials to ensure an adequate level of grip and comfort.
The top “sticky” side of the mat is made from eco-polyurethane, which helps absorb sweat, while the bottom is made from naturally sourced rubber. We found that we had to readjust our position in particularly hot classes (we blame the heatwave!), but otherwise the grip on this mat was good and increased over time.
At 183cm x 68cm, this is one of the bigger yoga mats we tried and, as such, we tended to use it outside or for communal classes to ensure we stayed comfy throughout. Ultimately, this is a good basic mat, which provides good joint support and is easy to look after.
Verdict: Best yoga mats
Sweaty Betty’s Super Grip Yoga Mat was our clear winner. Since our testing, the mat has become a regular part of our daily routine, whether we’re booked into a studio class or just wanting to relax in our living room.
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