The perfect mat for a hot yoga session - or any other yoga session really.
Ever tried to endure a hot yoga sessions with a cheap yoga mat?
No? Well...good for you!
Because I had to!
For me, a fantastic yoga mat is a must.
I once purchased some flat, bland no-name yoga mat from Walmart. All I can say is, my vinyasa class was a slip-sliding nightmare. For me, searching for the best yoga mat for sweaty hands became somewhat of a priority as I began to take my yoga practice more seriously.
Slipping and sliding around on your mat isn't just annoying and distracting, but it can also be dangerous... as I have found out the hard way (yikes!). So, I have began my journey for more high-end yoga mats that are best for, well, handling sweat!
All the mats I will be sharing with you are mats that I use in rotation for my own classes. There are different features each mat has that I think are REALLY cool; which is why I am recommending more than one.
At a glance: The Best Yoga Mats for Sweaty Hands
- Gaiam Sol Dry-Grip
- Lululemon Athletica "The Reversible"
- Jade Yoga Harmony Professional
- Manduka PROlite
- Hugger Mugger Para Rubber
**Below, you'll find our hand-tested reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
My Criteria for choosing the right mat for sweaty hands and intense yoga sessions
This is generally the criteria that I look for when I choose a yoga mat:
Sensitivities - Is the mat made with latex? Is it made with hypoallergenic material and/or non-permeable microfiber?
Dry Tech - Is your mat made with the latest technologies that keep your mat dry, and increase in grip as the temperature increases?
Weight - is the mat to heavy to lug around or is it too late to lay flat when it's unrolled?
Stickiness – does the mat keep me from sliding around?
Feel - do I prefer a textured mat or a smooth one?
Durability – how long is this Matt going to last me (how many intense yoga sessions can it withstand)? And is it easy to keep clean?
Thickness – do I want lots of cushioning to kneel on? Or less cushioning to stand on?
Eco-friendly - this is important to me, since I like to protect the environment.
Size – is the mat long enough for me to lie down on? If you're tall, this will be important to you.
Appearance - might not be important to some people, but if you're going to spend your hard earned dollars on a mat, you might want it to be in your favorite color. I have noticed that darker colored yoga mats hide sweat stains better.
The Hot Yoga Mat Showdown
Getting into a bit more detail, I will now list 5 of my favorite yoga mats -- each providing most of the essential features I look at when it comes to choosing the best yoga mat for handling sweat!
Lululemon Athletica's "The Reversible Mat"
I loved this 5mm mat by Lululemon - sooo comfortable and cushy on the joints! It retails for around $70, is made from natural rubber, and is very cushiony.
With this mat, I noticed it helps keep odor at bay (probably because they are made with an anti-microbial additive that helps to prevent mildew and mold).
This is also available in a lighter weight mat (3mm), but I personally do not find the 5mm Lululemon to be too thick. It provides ample comfort and cushion.
Since this mat had a lot of hype about being the best mat for people who sweat frequently (me - someone who does hot yoga daily), I decided this would be the perfect fit. During my asana session, this mat was amazing.
It immediately absorbed all my sweat. I didn't even need to drape a microfiber towel over my mat. I endured no sliding or slipping.
One notable problem with this mat is that when I first purchased it, I noticed a very pugnet rubber smell. I then noticed that it took a few weeks until that rubber smell faded away. But hey – I would much rather smell rubber than sweat!
If the rubber smell really bothers you, however, Lululemon has recommended that you wash your mat with baking soda and water.
I have noticed that this made a huge difference in the rubbery stench. Many users of this mat have noted that you must not use soap or detergent to wash this mat.
If you do, it is near impossible to rinse the soap out (likely because of the absorbency of the mat).
One of my friends claimed that after she had used a dollop of laundry detergent to wash her mat, she left the mat in the hot shower for 40 minutes and the detergent still did not fully rinse out.
This must demonstrate exactly how absorbent this mat really is!
Pros and Cons
- Thin polyurethane top layer wicks away sweat and absorbs moisture to help you get a grip
- 3mm or 5mm thick layer provides optimal cushioning
- 9 different color combination designs to choose from (each one is reversible) so there’s something for everyone.
- Lululemon is famous for providing soft, luxurious-feeling athletic wear (yoga mats included).
- Reversible, which allows you to choose a surface based on your practice or preference
- Antimicrobial additive to help prevent mold, sweat, bacteria and fungi from invading your mat
- Made with latex – do not use if you have allergies
- Natural rubber gives off a slight smell when first purchased, but don't worry – the smell fades over time or can be softly scrubbed away with water and baking soda.
The Gaiam Sol Dry-Grip Yoga Mat
One thing that you might notice about sweating during the yoga session is that your mat can stink up a storm! This is because yoga mats are exposed to an exorbitant amount of bacteria.
The Gaiam Sol Dry-Grip yoga mat, one of my favorites, was created using this technology with a moisture-repellant material that allows the mat to stay dry, and increase in grip as the temperatures soar.
Yoga mats that use this technology, give you a slip free surface that is more secure than the average yoga mat.
This is perfect for yoga practitioners who sweat a lot or practice hot yoga. This is actually my preferred mat for taking to hotter, sweatier yoga sessions.
The topcoat of the mat was created to wick moisture away, and the grip increases as the temperatures get warmer.
This type of technology was also created from a closed cell material which keeps away germs, bacteria and odors.
If you’re a germaphobe, like me, this mat already seems like a dream come true. I personally still like to keep my mat as clean as possible.
Some people may prefer to scrub their mat more vigorously with a sea salt scrub or wipe down with water mixed with distilled white vinegar.
How you clean your mat is entirely up to you (although here is some great advice how to do it best) – provided that your specific mat does not come with a set of cleaning instructions.
Though, I found that the Gaiam Sol Dry-Grip yoga mat doesn’t absorb sweat odors, and also doesn’t smell like rubber upon purchasing it brand new.
With so much to talk about with this mat, I have broken down the pros and cons for you.
In comparison to the ever comfortable Lululemon Athletica's "The Mat", which retails for $70, I have discovered this mat to be a close contender.
If you are looking to spend an extra five dollars, you can get a completely odor-free mat (whereas Lululemon has that initial rubbery smell out-of-the-box).
Retailing at around $70, The Gaiam mat is made with superior PVC packing which makes it virtually slip-free.
This mat also seems to feel a little softer than Lululemon's. The Sol Dry-Grip is 7 inches longer than Lululemon's mat, or any other standard yoga mat.
It's also extremely lightweight in comparison to other yoga mats. However, if you like a medium thickness (5 mm or so), you might decide on a more heavy / cushiony mat.
Pros and Cons
- Very lightweight
- Virtually odor-free (no rubbery smell when taking it out of the package, does not absorb sweat odors like most other mats do)
- Extra cushiony for my knees and elbows
- Aesthetically appealing; sleek and stylish in black, sporting a cool design
- Dark color to mask any potential sweat stains (if they occurred; which they probably wouldn’t due to the cool moisture-repelling technology)
- Optimal Dry-Technology, providing me with a virtually slip-free surface
- The higher-than-average price tag, retailing for around $70.
- Gaiam’s mats are a bit narrower than I’m used to.
- No design options or colors to choose from (I have a friend who always buys her mats in pink)
THE JADE YOGA HARMONY PROFESSIONAL MAT
I generally look at grip first when I choose a new yoga mat.
I like to go for a more sticky texture so that my hands do not slip, but I also don't like the texture that is so grippy that it makes it difficult to glide. I like having mobility as well as stability.
I do not like feeling stuck to the mat. Last time I had to slide from downward dog flat onto my face, it was impossible with my no-name grip mat from Walmart.
I think I even got some type of "rug burn" on my arms and legs using a crappy mat like that.
When I first tried the jade mat (it was one of the first more professional mats I tried), I was quite happy with my new-found gliding ability.
If you don't like slipping around on your mat and you like to be able to keep your balance, more traction/grip might be important to you.
I've learned that PVC or natural rubber typically provides the best traction, while still allowing you to glide and remain agile.
Your mat should be cushiony, resilient and also provide an optimal grip.
For this reason, I really like the Jade Yoga Harmony Professional Yoga Mat because it is made from a natural rubber which provides a cushiony feel and optimal grip.
This makes the mat perfect for a hot yoga session. Another thing that I love about Jade, is that the mats are not made with PVC or any type of ozone-depleting substance.
Because of the open-cell rubber (which absorbs perspiration and oils) that the Jade mat is made with, it can absorb odors.
All that I do to combat this is either wash the mat with sea salt or a very mild, natural soap to keep the mat from fading and hang outdoors to dry.
In addition, Jade promises that they will plant a tree for each mat they sell in a partnership they have with Trees for the Future.
Since I love nature - I am still happy that my purchase of this made supported a great cause. The Jade mat provides me with minimal slippage during a typical one-hour hot Vinyasa session.
If my mat becomes too drenched, I simply place a towel on top of the mat for the remainder of the class.
Pros and Cons
- It’s eco-friendly
- Available in 9 colors
- Extra cushiony for my knees and elbows
- Comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty
- 4.7mm thickness for added comfort
- Non-slip performance
- Engineered with natural rubber
- Does not contain any synthetic plastics or chemically-made substances
- Created with renewable resources in the USA
- Delivers essential comfort without sacrificing stability
- Made with open-cell rubber, providing you with the ultimate grip
- Jade Yoga partnered with Trees For the Future, to plant a tree for every mat sold
- Allows you to glide while still providing grip
- The Dry-Tech feature is lacking
- Strong initial rubber smell
- Absorbs sweat odors over time
- Retails for around $80
The Manduka PROlite Mat
Another one of my favorite yoga mats (for the environmental and slip-free factors) is the Manduka PROlite.
I love how slip resistant this mat is and how it provides me with the perfect amount of padding.
The Manduka PROlite is "zero waste" mat as its manufactured using an emissions-free procedure.
Additionally, this mat also comes with a lifetime guarantee – a definite added bonus. Who wants to buy a new mat every year??
The Manduka mat seems to absorb sweat quite profusely, even though it’s manufactured with closed-cell technology.
I have noticed in lighter colors of this mat, it gathers sweat stains. The manufacturer has suggested scrubbing the mat with sea salt and then hanging outside to dry.
I have noticed that this has helped to alleviate a lot of that nasty sweat odor, but of course is very time consuming.
I noticed that my mat was frequently tied-up with these sea-salt treatments, so I had to head out to my class with another mat since this one wasn’t yet dry.
Many yoga practitioners are busy and don't have the time to hand wash their mat and hang dry daily.
It is sometimes OK just to spray the mat with an odor absorbing deodorant spray, or sprinkle a little baby powder or baking soda, roll up the mat and put it away so that it doesn't stink up your home (or car).
Pros and Cons
- Five colors to choose from
- Lifetime Guarantee Warranty
- Superior wear and longevity
- Superior wear and longevity
- Pattented dot pattern bottom to prevent sliding
- Travel-friendly for the yoga practitioner on-the-go
- Zero-waste, sustainable yoga mat
- Non-sticky surface, even with sweat
- Closed-cell surface prevents absorption of moisture and bacteria
- OekoTex certified
- Emissions-free manufacturing
- Not AS slip resistant as the other mats reviewed in this article (might be good if you really like to glide)
- One of the most expensive mats reviewed here, retailing at $80
- Requires frequent sea salt scrubs to keep it clean
The Hugger Mugger Para Rubber Yoga Mat
Like the other mats mentioned above, the Hugger Mugger Para Rubber Yoga Mat is yet another contender as it is also made with natural rubber, and contains extra padding.
This mat is about 2 inches longer than the Jade mat and is slightly softer to the touch than the other mats.
This may be a pro or a con to different people, but this mat is 33% heavier and 33% thicker than the Jade mat.
Pros and Cons
- Manufactured with all-natural rubber from Indonesia and Malaysia
- Durable and long-lasting
- Natural, sustainable, and renewable
- Heavier and thicker than most mats with a quarter inch of padding
- Does not move around or slide from underneath you because of the weight
- This mat does not include Dry-Tech features
- Weighs 6 pounds
- Not very easy to transport or stuff into a bag
- Available in only two colors: Pastel Turquoise (Rainforest) or Pink (Tropical)
- Retails for $70, similar to the other mats reviewed here today
Who would've thought that there were so many features available when choosing a yoga mat? Reflecting back on my Walmart yoga-shopping days, I certainly didn't. I thought a yoga mat was a yoga mat! Like, come on!
But in all seriousness, comparing the most popular mats with the features you are looking for is one of the best ways to ensure you are happy with your buy.
My personal favorite, the Gaiam Sol Dry-Grip mat, has proved to withstand sweaty hands with the most minimal slipping and odor (while still providing optimal comfort).
I might be a bit biased here because I happen to love the sleek black design -- a definite bonus.
Whichever mat you decide on, I hope this review helped you make the right choice; I know how overwhelming it can be to make a decision in selecting the perfect mat for sweaty hands.
So, what is your favorite yoga mat? Did I forget an important one? Let me know in the comments!