A towel just for yoga? We know, we know, but like so many things designed specifically to aid in your comfort and safety while you're spending time on the mat, it's really not as barmy as it sounds. Rather than functioning like a gym towel for mopping off sweaty brows and equipment after a particularly strenuous sequence, our best yoga towels are designed to sit on top of your yoga mat, adding an extra grippy layer to keep you from slipping in your own sweat (ew) or on top of communal mats to stop you slipping in someone else's (double ew). Not so silly now, are they?
While the best yoga mats are designed to minimise slippage, none are foolproof, and a yoga towel is a smart idea if you're practicing in the summer or doing hot yoga. They can also be used as a protective layer to keep your yoga mat clean and stain-free. And if you're very short on space, a yoga towel can even be used in place of a mat.
These aren't the kind of thing you'd find in our best bath towel guide. Yoga towels are typically lightweight and thin, with soft-touch absorbent toweling on one side and grippy silicone dots on the other to adhere to the mat. They're also shaped in a long rectangle, like your average yoga mat (makes sense). Our top pick is the Hot Yoga Towel by Yoga Design Lab, which comes highly recommended by enthusiastic yogis and yoginis for its ability to keep sweaty hands and feet in place. Its quick-drying fibres mean you won't be left lumping around a damp rag after practice. For the rest of the best yoga towels, keep reading.
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Best yoga towel 2021
The more you sweat, the more it grips: that's the promise from the experts at Yoga Design Lab, who say this yoga towel not only keeps bikram practitioners from slippy situations, but dries in minutes, making it our best towel for hot yoga. It comes in a range of designs both out-there and pared-back, depending on how much you want to stand out in class, and the use of non-fading eco-friendly inks ensure you can pop it into the washing machine after a particularly sweaty sesh without worrying about ruining the design, or polluting the waterways.
The fleecy look of this microfibre sandwash towel might not fill you with confidence on first glance, but as well as providing a plush, comfortable surface on which to practice those tricky inversions without hurting knees or hips, this tie-dye towel includes a moisture-wicking protective layer to reduce the risk of harbouring bacteria and – we’re not going to be coy about it – sweaty smells. It’s said to absorb, and dry, quickly, and comes with an attached elastic loop for easy packing and carrying, so it can be used wherever you fancy.
If a series of tiny silicone dots alone doesn’t sound like enough grip to stand firm in the face of your killer moves, then you might want to take this non slip towel out for a spin. As well as a two-layer microfibre and silicone construction, resulting in what Heathyoga call a “grip-grid” texture designed to help you stay stable in poses for longer, there are corner pockets that slip over your mat and hold the towel taut and firm. Just simple physics, but very helpful. Of course this does mean it might not fit all yoga mats, so you might want to check the dimensions before you buy.
Testers loved the feel of this ultra-soft yoga towel, saying that while it was gentle on bare feet and hands and comfortable enough to do floor poses on, it wasn’t so plush that it left imprints as a terry cloth towel would. They did find that it wasn’t the most slip-resistant mat out there, so it might not as suited to twisty-turny or upside-downy poses as, say, our previous pick, but with its soft feel, ultra-absorbent fibres and beginner-friendly price, it’s hard to go wrong for the casual practitioner.
One of the most absorbent options on our list, this is a strong contender for the title of best hot yoga towel. The low-pile microfibre is said to feel less like a traditional towel, and more like suede, making for the most non-intrusive inclusion to your practice. As a hygienic layer between you and the mat, it protects you from other people’s bacteria or your own mat from wear and tear, and as well as offering traction to slippy, sweaty hands and feet, it’s highly durable and stands up well to frequent washing.