I was in the middle of trying to get into Flying Warrior pose at my hot yoga class when it happened. My sweaty hand was slipping a bit on the mat which was making it difficult to get into the pose. That is when I noticed that there was some sweat on my mat. My amateur detective kicked in and I realized that the sweat was causing the slippage.
I wasn’t alone in noticing this however. The teacher walked over and said “Hmm, that’s not a good mat…Maybe look into getting a better one.”. It was kind of embarrassing to be told my mat was subpar in front of the class. In any case, it led me to look for a higher quality mat. It even got me thinking that there must be a mat specifically suited for hot yoga or Bikram yoga (as it was previously known). Now, I know that you are supposed to use a towel during hot yoga to help with grip but it’s nice when your mat is also on your side (for the moments when there is no towel)! Some of these mats don’t even require a towel and some have a towel built in.
I looked up what yoga mats there were specifically for either hot yoga or people who sweat a lot. I bought all of the top ones who seemed to be marketing their mat as both:
- No slip – nonslip – anti-slip surface
- Have some kind of system to mitigate sweat. (Absorb it etc.)
I tried these mats for a minimum of two to three classes per mat and ranked them for you guys. Some of these mats even grew a special place in my heart and are my goto for whenever I go to hot yoga now (which is often!). Although, we break down each one below, we took the liberty of providing you with our top overall pick directly below for those who are in a hurry.
Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Our Top Pick
- EXTRA THICK YOGA MAT: Lightweight PVC backing, durable and extra-thick for additional cushioning
- CLOSED CELL CONSTRUCTION: Mat works to seal out sweat and odors
- GREAT FOR HOT YOGA: Stay-dry top coat wicks away moisture for ultimate grip. Recommend storing your mat in a mat bag when not in use
Yoga Mats Being Reviewed:
- The Combo
- Aurorae Synergy 2 in 1
- Matymats Non Slip TPE
- Gaiam Sol Studio Select Dry-Grip
- Manduka PRO
What is the Difference Between a Nonslip Yoga Mat and a Regular One?
Before the embarrassing slipping incident, I spoke about, I was in the camp that said “A yoga mat is a yoga mat”. I would simply go on Amazon and sort the yoga mats by price and get the cheapest one. Well, as I found out, this wasn’t exactly ideal (especially if you sweat a lot or are into hot yoga). There are a few key differences between a no slip yoga mat and a regular one. Note that not all nonslip mats have every single one of these features as I will go over below when I review them in detail. They will be reviewed based on these factors:
The Way They Handle Sweat
Some yoga mats have features such as Dry-Grip and Dry-Tech which enable them to wick away or otherwise mitigate the sweat for a dryer experience. This technology makes your yoga mat an anti-slip because you slip less because your yoga mat stays dryer. Others mitigate the sweat by bonding or fusing a microfiber cloth (similar to a common hot yoga towel) to a mat. The way they handle sweat is, in my opinion, the number one factor to consider when choosing a nonslip yoga mat. If it doesn’t handle sweat well, it is going to have a hard time providing stickiness or grip.
Stickiness / Grip
When you think of stickiness, you probably think of it as a gross feeling that you might get when you touch somewhere that soda has recently spilled. In regards to yoga mats, this isn’t the type of stickiness we are talking about. This is more of a suction cup type of stickiness which helps make your mat more grippy (if that is even a word).
Each company uses different (sometimes proprietary) ways of increasing the stickiness or grip of the yoga mat. Some use custom materials while others use microfiber cloths attached to the mat or special textures.
A yoga mat that is textured properly provides a surface that is physically varied which also helps in the prevention of slipping. Yoga mats range from extremely smooth to very textured. Although, I have been noticing textured yoga mats becoming more and more common lately. Be that as it may, I have noticed that not all textures are as good as other.
Yoga mats are usually made from Rubber, Foam, Cotton/Jute or PVC. There are even mats made up of new ecofriendly materials such as Polymer Environmental Resin (PER) and Thermal Plastic Elastomer (TPE) which are earth healthy alternatives to PVC.
The stickiness will vary depending on which one you choose. Rubber seems to be the best material for stickiness with Foam coming in second. PVC is usually not ideal for stickiness. Also, Cotton/Jute mats provide good stickiness but almost no cushion.
However, the best stickiness is achieved when you combine two kinds of materials such as a stay-dry layer (as in the case of the Gaiam Mat) on top of PVC. The mats with microfiber cloths bonded to the mats are pretty sticky also. I will discuss these microfiber mats in more detail in the next section.
These are fairly new kind of mat that work perfectly for hot yoga or any other time where there is going to be a large amount of sweat. These mats are usually a microfiber top layer bonded to a rubber or similar base. These are cool because you get all the grip of a towel and the cushion of a yoga mat.
You may be thinking “Well, I always use a microfiber towel when doing hot yoga. Why would I want it bonded to the mat?”. The reason is the towel doesn’t move around or bunch up during your practice. Also, you don’t have to reach for it and set it up.
There are some cons to these types of mats though. They are typically heavier than your traditional mat. Also, they usually don’t come in the extra thick variety. If a lot of cushion is important to you, you might want to skip this type. The biggest problem I found with these types of mats though is that, because of the microfiber layer, you NEED to air them out between classes or they will absolutely stink!
Other Things to Look for When Choosing One
Yoga mats generally come in three different thicknesses. People with sensitive knees and other joints often prefer thicker ones.
- 1/4″ (6mm) Mats: These thicker mats offer more cushion and are great for people with sensitive knees. Premium mats usually come in this thickness. This is the most comfortable thickness for mats but its comes at the cost of portability as they are often quite a bit larger.
- 1/8″ (3 mm) Mats: It is easy to see why this thickness is actually the most popular (and the standard). They provide a nice balance between comfort and portability.
- 1/16″ (1.5mm) Mats: These super portable mats are great if you need a lighter yoga mat. They are great for travel. In fact, these wafer thin mats are often called travel yoga mats.
Yoga mats are commonly 2 feet wide and 68 to 74 inches. Although, some will be 84 inches or longer. Most people will do fine on a regular sized mat. However, if you are extremely tall you may want to opt for a larger one. Keep in mind though: The prices go up as you go lager in length for a yoga mat. Some people like the extra room when they are doing yoga, even if they are not particularly tall.
A good yoga mat will cost anywhere between $35 and $120 on average. You need to balance your personal budget with what features you think you absolutely need. It is important to consider your current level of devotion to yoga. If you are just starting and go a couple of times a month, maybe opt for a less expensive one. If you are even somewhat devoted to yoga, it is worth shelling out a few dollars for a better one.
Here are the five mats that stood out to me the most when I put them to the test in my 105-degree class. I felt like my stinky and sweaty yoga class was the ultimate stress test! I have rated them according to how they performed in my hot yoga classes based on how well they did once my hands and feet were sweaty (doesn’t take long). I also have mini-reviews of each product which goes into more detail about the benefits and shortcomings of each.
Aurorae Synergy 2 in 1
Matymats Non Slip TPE
Gaiam Sol Studio Select Dry-Grip
Note: Feel free to click on any of the links above or read below for detailed reviews of each.
The Combo Yoga Mat
The combo mat is a different kind of mat than I was used to (or even seen!). The manufacturer describes it as “natural tree rubber bonded to an ultra-absorbent microfiber towel layer”. That right, folks. There is actually a microfiber “towel” (the same kind you likely usually combine with your mat as a hot yoga towel) bonded to the actual yoga mat. This makes having a separate yoga towel obsolete. However, it comes at a (stinky) price which I will discuss later.
The microfiber texture really helps you stick to the mat. Even during very intense and sweaty hot yoga sessions. I could not get this thing to make my hands or feet sleep no matter how much I was sweating. That is because the microfiber part absorbs the sweat (killing two birds with one stone).
In fact, sweat actually improves the grip of this yoga mat. If you are not sweating, you will need to spray it down first. However, when using it for hot yoga, I never had to spray it down as my own sweat was enough! It’s something to keep in mind though if you plan on using it for other forms of yoga besides hot yoga (Bikram).
At 3.5mm (approximately 1/8th of an inch), this was the thinnest yoga mat out of the bunch. That is not to say it was thin though. The average yoga mat is 1/8th of an inch so its right on par with most mats (thickness wise). I didn’t have enough issues with it but if your knees and joints require a thicker yoga mat, then skip this one.
The main issue that kept me from making this my main yoga mat was that it needed to be aired between yoga classes. If you forget to air it out, it will smell funny the next time you use it. I noticed this first hand when I forgot to air it out because it stunk up my whole house! I then had to wash it in the middle of the night. I live a busy life and an extra errand is an unwelcome guest in it as far as I’m concerned.
- Eco-friendly, biodegradable, recyclable
- No towel bunching
- Very good at preventing slips.
- Price is decent.
- Aesthetically pleasing design if you like a little color on your mat.
- Not very good for other forms of yoga besides hot yoga.
- Not available in a super thick variety. It is a decent thickness but thinnest out of bunch.
- Needs to be aired out between classes or it will smell funny.
Aurorae Synergy 2 in 1 Yoga Mat
I won’t repeat myself with everything I said about “The Combo Mat” above. This is basically pretty similar except it is thicker (5mm instead of 3.5mm) and it currently costs $18 less. Also, the material of this one is made from ecofriendly Polymer Environmental Resin (PER) while “The Combo Mat” is made from natural tree rubber (both ecofriendly choices).
There are several yoga mats out there with a microfiber attached to ones side. These are perfect for hot yoga as they get stickier the more you sweat. Aurorae claims that their mat is the original yoga mat with a microfiber cloth attached to it as they have the patent to this technology.
- Thicker than “Combo Mat” reviewed above. (5mm instead of 3.5mm)
- No towel bunching
- Very good at preventing slips.
- Requires excessive wetting or sweat to achieve full grip.
- On the heavy side
- Needs to be aired out between classes or it will smell kind of funny
Matymats Non Slip TPE Yoga Mat
I really wanted to like this yoga mat. I really did. However, it made it really hard for me to like it. From the day I opened the box, I noticed an amazing strong chemically smell from the box. This is probably due to the mat being made from TPE (Thermal Plastic Elastomer). TPE is one of the newer and more ecofriendly options for yoga mats. As nasty as this smell was, it went away on its own after a few weeks. Thank the lord!
It has a nice texture which helps a lot with grip. Its stickiness was better than the average mat but under extremely sweaty conditions, I noticed a few slips. It absorbed sweat very well and never released any kind of odor from it as long as I washed it every 10 classes or so. That sweat absorption made it nice for hot yoga but the lack of stickiness during super sweaty classes made it not an option for me.
The funniest part about this yoga mat was that I left it in the car one day in the hot California sun and it totally warped. I had to throw it away as it had warped so much it was completely unusable. It is kind of ironic that a mat mainly designed for hot yoga can’t take the heat.
The price is low but what is the use when it’s not sticky and warps in heat. Being somewhat scatterbrained at times, I’m someone that often forgets my mat in my car. A yoga mat that melts in your car is NOT for me.
- Absorbs sweat very well and doesn’t smell.
- Pretty affordable for a high end mat.
- Eco-friendly TPE material
- Weird smell when you get it.
- Noticed some slippage during extremely sweaty hot yoga sessions.
- Warps in extreme heat such as a inside a car on a hot day.
Gaiam Sol Studio Select Dry-Grip Yoga Mat
The Gaiam Sol Studio Dry-Grip Yoga Mat is a great all around mat. However, it really shines when used during hot yoga or really sweaty classes. It has a “stay-dry” top coat that absorbs sweat very well.
The mat feels very grippy without any obvious texture. I am guessing this is due to the material of the “stay-dry” top coat. I tested this thing in extreme conditions and I would not slip no matter how sweaty my hands were. Unlike combo mats, this mat is sticky from the second you step on the mat. It doesn’t require sweat or water to increase stickiness. The main benefit I saw when compared to combo mats, was that this mat didn’t need to be aired out between classes.
The thickness is 5mm, which is to say it is thicker than the average yoga mat however not the thickest there is out there. It is 10 inches longer and 2 inches wider than most yoga mats. During certain poses, I felt the extra space was nice.
I also wanted to note about the Gaiam lifetime guarantee. I have several Gaiam products and returning them has never been a hassle. This mat may cost a bit more than other mats (although not as expensive as the Manduka below), it is very much worth the money. You can really feel the quality of this mat when you use it. Between that and the lifetime guarantee, this is a pretty good value.
The one main thing I didn’t like was that, being PVC, it wasn’t as ecofriendly as some of the other options. However, since the quality is so high, I told myself I will probably end up keeping this a lot longer. I rather have one quality yoga mat I can keep for years (or maybe life?) rather than filling the landfills with several ecofriendly options (that warp in your car!).
- Lifetime Guarantee from Gaiam
- 2 inches wider and 10 inches longer than the standard Yoga Mat
- Very Aesthetically pleasing if you like a clean, black look.
- Stay-dry top coat wicks away moisture for ultimate grip without the hassle of sometimes having to wet it like the combo mats.
- Doesn’t need to be aired out between classes.
- On the expensive side. Not as expensive as Manduka. If you can afford it though, it’s worth it.
- The PVC side is not as ecofriendly as other materials
Manduka PRO Yoga and Pilates Mat
This yoga mat was expensive, so I had a lot of high hopes for it. However, although it has some anti-sweat and anti-slip features, it seems this mat is not ideal for hot yoga or other times where you will be sweating a lot.
It has a closed cell surface which prevents sweat and dirt from absorbing into the mat. However, that doesn’t go far enough. It was an extremely slippery mat when used for hot yoga. I even think it was slipperier than your average mat that you get for $20. The company told me to treat it with sea salt and gave me instructions. I tried it and it helped a bit but the stickiness still paled in comparison to the Gaiam or one of the combo mats.
It was 6mm, so it is actually a decent thickness. It is great for other types of yoga, however I cannot recommend it if you are doing Hot Yoga or sweat a lot.
- Closed cell surface prevents sweat and dirt from absorbing into the mat.
- Proprietary dot patterned bottom prevents sliding
- Feels very heavy-duty. Super durable mat
- 2 inches wider than most yoga mats.
- Very high price
- Requires salt treatment to make it sticky. Even then, it wasn’t as sticky as other mats I tested.
- Has a bit of a smell at first but goes away.