Yogamatters Aqua Evolve Yoga Mat review: an eco-friendly option that leaves the planet cleaner

The Yogamatters’ Aqua Evolve Yoga mat is made from pond algae – is this the future of yoga mat production? Here's our review

Yogamatters Aqua Evolve Yoga Mat
(Image credit: Yogamatters)
T3 Verdict

Made from EVA foam and algae from lakes and ponds, the Yogamatters Aqua Evolve Yoga mat helps to clean the environment and take care of the planet. But while cushioning is good, it lacks grip.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Cleans the planet

  • +

    Superb cushioning

  • +

    Extremely lightweight

  • +

    Hard wearing

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    No grip

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Yogamatters’ Aqua Evolve Yoga mat is a beautiful mat, in every way. It’s fully eco and uses an innovative technology that helps to clean the environment. The mat is made from an unparalleled combination of EVA foam and pond algae. Yes, you read that right, pond algae.

This mat makes us smile because not only does it not cause harm to the planet but actively helps to leave it cleaner than before. We can’t quite believe it could be this good, but it is. If you're looking for the best yoga mat then this should be your go-to vegan, eco-friendly yoga mat option if your yoga practice tends to lean towards the restorative and Yin Yoga styles. However it isn’t so suited to sweatier practices such as Ashtanga and Bikram (more on that later).

Algae blooms cause major problems for communities around the world, and to make this yoga mat Yogamatters has partnered with BLOOM to harvest algae from water, turning the algae into eco-foam and returning clean, filtered and oxygenated water to the lakes and ponds. Yogamatters also says that for every mat, 42 bottles of cleaned water are returned to the local habitat as well as 27 cubic metres of clean air. You can’t beat that!

Yogamatters Aqua Evolve Yoga mat review: performance

This unique yoga mat sounds very, well, quirky but it is in fact a really fantastic mat with all the right eco credentials without compromising on performance. It only weighs 750 grammes, making it incredibly lightweight and compared with other natural, eco-friendly alternatives, this is really lightweight. Size-wise it’s a long mat measuring 60x190cm. It’s ideal for most yogis, even the taller ones among us. We love the extra space it gives when you’re reclined in your practice, with your head and heels both easily cushioned. It’s a welcome change to having your heels dangle off the edge...

The materials that the Yogamatters Aqua Evolve Yoga mat is made from makes it rather springy. This combined with its length means that it doesn’t tend to want to roll up small. It likes to spread out so although it’s lightweight, carrying it without a bag is a bit of a faff as it constantly wants to unroll itself. This is something to bear in mind if you’re looking for a mat to use frequently outside of your home.

When you first unroll the mat, there is no weird smell to try and get rid of, which some of the rubber mats (eco and otherwise) can have. We really like this, no need for a spritz and wipe down. It’s ready to go as soon as the recyclable packaging is off.

With this mat being so spongy in its composition, it flattens out quickly and by the third or fourth use, the mat no longer rolls up at the ends. The Aqua Evolve Yoga mat definitely prefers being flat! This is a big revelation as other yoga mats sometimes keep a little curl at both ends for a long time but this mat doesn’t seem to have a tendency to do this, which is a relief (although as mentioned above, it becomes a little annoying if carrying the mat from class to class...)

Yogamatters Aqua Evolve Yoga Mat

(Image credit: Kat Bayly / Jason Parnell-Brookes)

After heavy use for a week or two, there isn’t a single sign that the mat has been used at all. It’s quite outstanding in this respect. There are no dirty feet or hand marks, nothing. Similarly, there are no marks or scuffs showing, the material isn’t wearing away or becoming flaky. It feels like a pretty indestructible mat for something so lightweight and made from algae!

One of the big things a yoga mat needs to have is grip. Sadly, this is where the Yogamatters’ Aqua Evolve Yoga mat falls short. There is a lovely, subtle texture to this mat and it suffices in standing postures or on all-fours where grip isn’t an issue. Your hands and feet feel firm and hugged by this mat in these less demanding postures. But the real test for any yoga mat is if you can hold a Downward Dog on it. The Yogamatters Aqua Evolve Yoga mat just isn’t cut out for holding Downward Dog. Within the first few seconds, your hands begin to slide and constant corrections are needed to maintain Downward Dog. 

This is such a shame as otherwise, it’s a stunning and great performing mat. Because of this, we don’t recommend purchasing this mat for sweaty yoga practices, or any yoga practices where you may be required to hold Downward Dog multiple times over the class. It’s definitely a mat more suited to low-key restorative yoga practices or Yin Yoga. And this is fine. Yogamatters doesn’t claim this is the go-to mat for a Bikram class after all.

Yogamatters’ Aqua Evolve Yoga mat review: comfort

Yogamatters Aqua Evolve Yoga Mat

(Image credit: Kat Bayly / Jason Parnell-Brookes)

The Aqua Evolve Yoga mat is a 5mm mat which offers a great amount of padding for sensitive knees or bony hips. We love how cushioned our bodies feel when using this yoga mat. It’s the comfiest mat we’ve had the pleasure to review. Sometimes 5mm mats can interfere with standing balances, causing your ankles to wobble more than if you were standing off the mat, straight onto your living room floor, for example.

However, we haven’t found this to be the case with this mat. Perhaps it’s the innovative materials and the way they’re compacted but we absolutely love the 5mm of cushioning for all types of yoga postures. We have no complaints regarding its comfort level and are now considering if 5mm will become the new 3mm for us...

Yogamatters’ Aqua Evolve Yoga mat review: Design and colours

Yogamatters Aqua Evolve Yoga Mat

(Image credit: Kat Bayly / Jason Parnell-Brookes)

The Yogamatters Aqua Evolve Yoga mat is one of the most stunning yoga mats we’ve had the pleasure to review. It’s outstandingly beautiful. We love the choice of colours and the pattern. The choice of teal brings an element of calm while the pattern itself reminds us of running water with its marble effect. To put it simply, it’s gorgeous.

As the marble effect reminds us of water, maybe this was an intentional decision seeing as the mat is made from pond algae. Furthermore, we have to admit that some of the beauty of this mat comes from the way it’s made, we can’t deny it.

Yogamatters’ Aqua Evolve Yoga mat review: verdict

We want to give this mat 5 out of 5 because it’s just fantastic in every way apart from its grip. Sadly, because this is such a key feature for any yoga mat, this moves it down. However, we don’t want people to be put off. This mat can help to save the environment and if your yoga practice is more chilled and restorative, we would highly recommend this mat. It’s comfy, colourful and totally capable of lasting a long time.

This is a yoga mat that not only doesn’t harm the planet but actually helps to leave it in a better state than before. We think this mat gives you a snippet of the future of all yoga mats and is worth investing in now.

Kat has 10 years of yoga teaching experience with further training in supporting injured students. She is qualified to teach Yin Yoga, Hormone Yoga Therapy and more traditional forms of Hatha yoga. She also has a certificate as a Yoga Therapy Practitioner.