Buying your first yoga mat? Your 10th? Whether you’re just getting on the mat or looking to replace your tattered but well-loved piece of rubber, our experts agree that’s it all about stickiness, knee support, travel- and eco-friendliness. Below, five of our favorite yogis reveal what they look for in a mat and why- plus, the brands they love.
Kristen Dollard, Yoga Journal’s Brand Director and author of The Yoga Body Diet: Slim and Sexy in 4 Weeks (Without the Stress)
Stickiness is the absolute most important. If you slip, you’ve thrown money out the yogic window. Also travel-ability, because I am always on the go. I throw it, fold it, flip it…but I carry it and I don’t want it unraveling or smacking other people so I tend to go thin. Normally, style is #1 on my list, but when I am in yoga, I’m not there for show. But your mat says a lot about you: Is it uber-eco (I like to make sure my mat didn’t destroy a forest and won’t create carcinogens), hipster, pretty, worn out (that’s how I prefer mine—well-loved!)
Recommended brands: Baron Baptiste let me use his Jade mat in the sweatiest yoga class I ever took. The next day, I bought mine. That was 10 years ago, and I still have it. I’m terrible with
attachment…but I’m working on that in yoga!
I also own the Manduka PRO original mat. It costs $100, and it’s like brand new. It’s like owning a vintage Porsche. I love it more and more each time I practice.
Lauren Imparato, NYC-based yoga teacher and owner of lifestyle company and yoga studio I.AM.YOU.
I look for a mat that is not glossy, of medium thickness, with no rubber smell. Not slippery but not super grippy. A natural feel without endless squish at the bottom.
Recommended brands: I love Jade. It’s standard, durable, easy to clean. Lole just came out with a travel mat I love—it folds up into a tiny square, so it’s ideal for travel and major days of schlep. Light and compact! Aside from my recommendations above, you can also check out the yoga mat collection on Mindful Market.