The best yoga mats 2017

Escape sneaky slip ups with our list of the best yoga mats — feel like a pro whether you’re sweating it out in bikram, getting in the flow with vinyasa, or taking it easy with hatha

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Downward dog, king pigeon, cat, cobra — no, it’s not a motley crew of animal buddies from Disney’s upcoming blockbuster (don’t even bother, we’ve already sold the rights), it’s just a handful of the poses that we yogis and yoginis frequently twist ourselves into in the name of tranquility. But whether you’re still looking forward to your first sun salutation, or you’re a rubber-boned vinyasa devotee fluent in sanskrit, you have at least one thing in common with each of your fellow practitioners: that barest of essentials, the yoga mat.

This little mat can have a big influence on your practice. In the first case, there’s nothing more likely to kill our vibe than a well-worn, distressingly damp communal gym mat.

Not only does it have the ick factor (all those people! All that sweat!) it’s unlikely to be the right mat for your individual needs, whether it’s yoga, pilates, or conditioning that floats your boat.

How to buy the best yoga mat for you

For more intense classes such as Bikram Yoga, or for stretching after a workout, opt for a mat with strong grip to avoid sweaty-palm related accidents. If you have sensitive joints, especially in your lower back or knees, then look for a thicker mat to protect your muscles and provide added comfort. 

For daily use, look for an easy-clean, eco-friendly PVC or similar material, but bear in mind that these can prove more slippery than rubber.

Other than that, it’s down to personal preference and budget. If you’re a dedicated meditator then you may want to invest in a high quality mat with more stamina, but if you’re looking to make your first purchase, there are great value yoga mats under £20 that will get the job done. Many come with funky patterns and colours, but if you think that’ll give you a headache, there are plenty of basic mats, too. All together now: ommmmm

Our pick of the best yoga mats to buy today

1. Yogi-Bare 4mm Professional Yoga Mat

Get to grips with this smarter-than-your-average yoga mat

Specifications
Best for: Grip
Material: Natural Rubber & Polyurethane
Thickness: 4mm
Dimensions: 180x66cm
Reasons to buy
+Excellent grip+Professional look
Reasons to avoid
-Too pricey for some 

If you’ve been practising yoga for a while and want to take it to the next level, then consider the Yogi-Bare 4mm Professional Yoga Mat. Designed with grip in mind, this is one of the best mats for hot yoga, with its Griptech surface and 4mm thickness for ultimate comfort. The natural rubber is also environmentally friendly, and is recommended by the professionals as the best type of material for frequent practice. It comes in grey and red, both subtle shades that won’t give you a headache when performing tricky poses. 

2. Gaiam Print Yoga Mat

A slimline and stylish addition to your first yoga kit

Specifications
Best for: Beginners
Material: PVC
Thickness: 3mm
Dimensions: 172x61cm
Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Funky design
Reasons to avoid
- Not the comfiest 

Signed up to a course but don’t want to splash out on an expensive mat until you’re sure it’s for you? The Gaiam Print Yoga Mat is a stylish option that won’t cost the earth. It isn’t the thickest out there, but provides a good level of support, making it one of the best yoga mats for beginners. Users say it has a good grip, and while it’s slightly smaller than some of the more professional yoga mats out there, we really dig the design. 

3. Manuka Life Linen Yoga Mat

An understated mat made from natural materials to match your earthy vibes

Specifications
Best for: Unisex
Material: Linen
Thickness: 5mm
Dimensions: 183x61cm
Reasons to buy
+Natural materials+Unisex style
Reasons to avoid
- Can be rough on hands 

A far cry from standard plastic gym mats, the Manuka Life Linen Yoga Mat is an elegantly unisex yoga accessory that’s ideal for practicing yoga or meditation at home or outside. The slubby linen makes it naturally anti-slip, and it has a slightly larger footprint than most, giving you more space to perform your poses (although you might incur some tutting in overbooked classes, in which case the slimmer Gaia mat is a great alternative) however some users found their hands sore after a long session. 

4. The Combo Yoga Mat by Yoga Design Lab

A funky mat for all-round use, great for bikram or ashtanga

Specifications
Best for: Style lovers
Material: Natural Rubber
Thickness: 3.5mm
Dimensions: 178x61cm
Reasons to buy
+Variety of designs+Grips sweaty hands
Reasons to avoid
-Not the cheapest 

This mat comes in a borderline ludicrous number of designs, with everything from tranquil sunsets to on-trend mandalas and geometric patterns that will be the talk of your yoga class (and offer a distraction from less-than-optimum posture). This is a combination mat/towel that’s grippy and absorbent enough for any workout class, and while pricey, it’s worth the investment for frequent use. Plus, it’s machine washable. Effective, cool-looking, and low-maintenance? We’re sold. 

5. Yoga Mad Warrior Plus Yoga Mat

Don’t let discomfort get in the way of perfecting your poses with this thick, joint-friendly mat

Specifications
Best for: Bad knees
Material: PVC
Thickness: 6mm
Dimensions: 186x61cm
Reasons to buy
+Cheap+Extra cushioning
Reasons to avoid
-A bit slippery 

If sensitive knees stop you from enjoying your class, the Yoga Mad Warrior Plus Yoga Mat is a must-try. At just £18.00, this mat is the cheapest on our list, but with its positively plush 6mm thickness — around 30% thicker than other yoga mats on the market — we also rate it as the best yoga mat for bad knees, offering maximum cushioning and comfort to allow you to give your full concentration when practising poses. It’s not the grippiest, though. 

6. Jade Harmony Professional Yoga Mat

A naturally-sourced mat for eco-warriors, with a charitable cause behind it

Specifications
Best for: Reducing carbon footprint
Material: Natural Rubber
Thickness: 5mm
Dimensions: 173x61cm
Reasons to buy
+Environmentally friendly+Variety of colours
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive 

It’s tempting to think that exercise is all about looking after numero uno, but yoga is a completely different story. The Jade Harmony Professional Yoga Mat helps up the social responsibility factor by planting a tree for every mat purchased, so not only will you reap the benefits of its cushioned base and excellent grip, you’ll be contributing to saving the planet. Although a little pricey, you get double the value: a high-quality and long-lasting mat, and a little bit of smugness over your reduced carbon footprint. 

7. PrAna E.C.O Yoga Mat

Be at one with nature with this outdoor yoga mat, cushioned on both sides for comfort

Specifications
Best for: Outdoor use
Material: 100% Thermoplastic Elastomer
Thickness: 5mm
Dimensions: 182x60cm
Reasons to buy
+UV resistant +Affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Plain design 

The PrAna E.C.O Yoga Mat is a lightweight and UV resistant mat ideal for exercising in the garden or park. If you’re looking to invest in the best yoga mat for outdoor use, this is the surefire winner. For a very reasonable price, you get a textured grip and double-sided cushioning for ultimate comfort during inversions. It also comes in black and pink, so the choice of whether to stand out or blend in is up to you.