10 Best

Thick Yoga Mats

of September 2023

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A Guide to Selecting a Thick Yoga Mat

Yehudah Posnick

If you’re new to yoga, you might ask, “Why should I shell out over $100 on a yoga mat? What’s wrong with exercising on the floor?” Well, a yoga mat offers you a layer of cushioning that helps protect your joints, such as your knees, elbows, and wrists, from the hardness of the floor. The padding offered by a mat can make your yoga practice more comfortable, especially during poses that involve kneeling, sitting, or lying down. This can be very important if you suffer from pain in your joints, or if you’re recovering from injury.

However, sometimes a thick yoga mat can have drawbacks. If the mat is too thick, you may not feel stable in certain standing yoga poses. It’s harder to maintain your balance when you’re standing on a very thick cushion. You’ll also find it heavier and more bulky when you roll it up. Nonetheless, beginners are encouraged to start with a thicker yoga mat, because they may make a mistake when first trying certain poses. A thick mat will cushion your fall and will be more forgiving if you struggle to maintain a pose..

We’ll look at various types of yoga mats, and select the thicker versions of each type. Once you familiarize yourself with yoga poses, you may want to try thinner yoga mats.


How thick should a yoga mat be?

The thickness of a yoga mat is a matter of personal preference and intended use. Yoga mats generally range in thickness from 1/16 inch (1.5 mm) to 1/4 inch (6 mm) or more. Here's a general guideline to help you choose the appropriate thickness:

  • 1/16 inch (1.5 mm) to 1/8 inch (3 mm): These mats are considered ultra-thin and provide a close connection to the floor. They are lightweight and easy to carry, making them suitable for travel or people who prefer a firm and stable surface. However, they may not provide as much cushioning for joints and may not be suitable if you have sensitive knees or require extra support.

  • 1/8 inch (3 mm) to 3/16 inch (4.5 mm): Mats in this range offer a good balance between portability and comfort. They provide some cushioning for joints while still maintaining stability. They are suitable for most yoga practices, including gentle and moderate styles.

  • 1/4 inch (6 mm) and above: These mats are considered thick and provide extra cushioning, making them ideal for individuals with joint issues or those who prefer a softer surface. They offer more support and can be particularly beneficial for practices that involve long holds or kneeling poses. However, thicker mats are generally heavier and bulkier, which may make them less convenient for travel.

Keep in mind that personal preference plays a significant role in selecting the right thickness. Some people may prefer a thinner mat for better stability and balance, while others may prioritize extra cushioning for joint protection. It's also worth considering your body type, the type of yoga you practice, and any specific needs or sensitivities you have. Ultimately, choosing the right thickness will depend on your comfort level and how the mat supports your practice.

Types of Thick Yoga Mats

There are several types of yoga mats available, each designed to meet different needs and preferences. Here are some common types of yoga mats:

  • Standard Yoga Mats: These are the most common and widely used mats. They are typically made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or a similar synthetic material. Standard yoga mats offer a balance of comfort, grip, and durability. They come in various thicknesses and are suitable for a wide range of yoga practices. The Manduka Pro Lite Yoga Mat is one such model. It’s 4.7 mm thick, and it’s made from a closed-cell material that repels moisture. That way, your mat won’t absorb sweat.

Manduka Pro Lite Yoga Mat

  • Eco-Friendly Mats: As environmental consciousness has grown, so has the demand for eco-friendly yoga mats. These mats are typically made from natural materials such as rubber, cork, jute, or organic cotton. They are a great choice for those who prioritize sustainability and want to reduce their environmental impact. An example is the Primasole Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat. It’s made from Polymer Environmental-Friendly Resin, and is 10 mm thick.

Primasole Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat

  • Travel Mats: Travel mats are designed to be lightweight, compact, and easy to carry. They are thinner and often foldable or rollable, making them convenient for frequent travelers or yogis who want to practice outside of a studio. Travel mats may sacrifice some cushioning for the sake of portability. An example is the Meileer Travel Yoga Mat. It’s made from suede and natural latex. It’s only a bit more than 1 mm thick, meaning that you can easily fold or roll it up and carry it anywhere!

Meileer Travel Yoga Mat

  • Thick Cushioning Mats: For individuals who require extra support or have joint issues, thick cushioning mats are a good option. These mats provide enhanced padding and shock absorption, offering more comfort during poses and movements. They are often made of thicker foam or have multiple layers for added cushioning. The Retrospec Solana Yoga Mat is made from foam and is 1 inch thick and weighs 2.2 pounds.

Retrospec Solana Yoga Mat

  • Alignment Mats: Alignment mats have visual guides printed directly on the surface to help users align their bodies properly during poses. These mats typically feature alignment markers or grids that can be useful for beginners or anyone seeking to refine their alignment and posture. You’ll notice that the Liforme Original Yoga Mat has alignment system markers. The markers are convenient even for experienced yoga practitioners to assume the proper pose. It’s 4.2 mm thick and is made from rubber, so it grips the floor without any risk of slipping.

Liforme Original Yoga Mat

  • Hot Yoga Mats: Hot yoga mats are designed specifically for practices that involve heat and sweat, such as Bikram or hot vinyasa yoga. They are typically made of materials like rubber or specially designed non-slip surfaces to provide excellent grip even when wet. The Crown Sports Exercise Mat is 1” thick, and is suitable for hot yoga techniques.

Crown Sports Exercise Mat

What reviewers say

We went over some customers’ impressions of the thick yoga mat that they bought:

  • Hygiene and Cleanliness: Using a yoga mat creates a barrier between your body and the floor, which can be particularly important in shared spaces or public settings. Yoga mats are easy to clean and can be wiped down after each use, helping maintain hygiene and reducing exposure to dust, dirt, or potential allergens that may be present on the floor. Also, many of them are made from non-absorbent materials, to allow you to rinse off any perspiration that accumulates.

  • Prefer dark color yoga mat: Customers say that, if you select a yoga mat with a lighter hue, it will eventually become grayish where you place your hands and feet most of the time. This is due to the oils in your skin and dead skin cells adhering to the mat. If you don’t want to contend with the discoloration, maybe you should prefer a yoga mat with a darker hue.

Important Features

Here are some tips and features to help you decide on which yoga mat to purchase:

  • Texture: Yoga mats come in various textures, each offering different benefits in terms of grip, traction, and comfort. Here are some common textures you may find among yoga mats:

    • Smooth Texture: Some yoga mats have a smooth surface without any specific texture. These mats provide a basic level of grip and are generally easy to clean. While they may lack the enhanced traction of textured mats, they can still be suitable for many yoga practices, especially if you don't sweat excessively or prefer a less grippy surface.

    • Sticky Texture: Mats with a sticky texture often have a slightly tacky or adhesive feel. This texture helps create a stronger grip, particularly when your hands and feet become moist or sweaty. The stickiness can be beneficial for maintaining stability and preventing slippage during poses.

    • Raised or Embossed Texture: These mats feature raised patterns or embossed textures on the surface. The patterns can vary, ranging from simple dots or lines to more intricate designs. The raised texture enhances grip and traction, providing additional traction points for your hands and feet. This type of mat is often preferred by individuals who tend to sweat during their practice or require extra stability.

    • Waffle Texture: Some yoga mats have a waffle-like or honeycomb texture. This texture offers an increased grip and traction, as the raised indentations provide more contact points for your hands and feet. The waffle texture can help prevent slippage, even in sweaty conditions.

    • Pebbled or Dimpled Texture: Mats with a pebbled or dimpled texture have small indentations or bumps on the surface. This texture provides a tactile grip and can help distribute pressure more evenly across the mat. The pebbled texture is often found in natural rubber mats and can be beneficial for practitioners who prioritize a strong grip and stability.

    • Ribbed or Grooved Texture: Mats with a ribbed or grooved texture have parallel lines or ridges running along the length or width of the mat. This texture enhances traction and grip, promoting better stability during poses. The ribbed texture can help prevent hands and feet from sliding, making it particularly useful for vigorous or dynamic yoga styles.

Final Verdict

We went through some of the features of thicker yoga mats. They’re recommended for beginners who are starting with various yoga poses and may take some time to get comfortable. Also, a thicker yoga mat will help people who have developed pain in their joints, either due to injury or loss of cartilage. In any event, if you’re a yoga enthusiast, you’re sure to find a yoga mat that just the right thickness for your needs!

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