10 Perfect Workout Mats for Every Possible Activity

Choose a Fitness Mat for Your Favorite Home Workout

Workout mats are practically a prerequisite for getting active, whether you're hitting the floor for some ab exercises or you're getting bendy during yoga. But because mats are such a staple accessory, stores are flooded with options, making it hard to know which mats are worth a purchase. 

Ultimately your selection should come down to a few factors: 

  • Price point. You can pay anything for anything, so whether you want to spend $10 or $200, there's a mat for that. Set a budget before making a purchase, but do understand the cheapest options on the market are cheap for a reason - they often break down quickly, don't offer as much support and are difficult to keep clean. If you want your mat to last, it's worth budgeting a little more. 
  • Comfort. Some mats offer significant padding while others provide little support. Think about the exercises you want to perform on the mat and choose a cushion level accordingly. 
  • Purpose. If your mat is going to be used primarily for hot yoga, you'll want to select an absorbent option with a non-slip surface. If, however, you plan to use your mat for lots of ab work and seated stretching, you're unlikely to care as much about the mat's traction and more about its level of comfort. Likewise, some mats are more portable.
  • Style and personal preferences. Mats range significantly in style and features. For instance, some mats are extra long or extra short. Some mats come in an array of colors and patterns. Some mats feature eco-friendly materials or are naturally anti-microbial. If any specific features are important to you, go ahead and factor them into your buying decision. 

1
When You Want to Get Bendy in Style

La Vie Boheme Zion Mat
La Vie Boheme

There are lots of reasons to love the La Vie Boheme Yoga Zion Yoga Mat

  • At 74-inches long, it's a cut longer than most standard yoga mats, great for those with extra height
  • The 6.2-milimeter thickness offers extra support during seated and lying poses
  • The mat's grip is better than lower cost mats, such as Gaiam's 5-milimeter mats

But most of all, it's just really pretty! Who wouldn't want to do a downward dog while enjoying the cactus-spotted landscape of this Zion, Utah-inspired mat?

2
When Comfort and Support Are Your Priorities

FitnessMat
WellnessMats

Most yoga mats simply don't offer enough support for stretching, foam rolling or ab work, particularly if you spend long stretches of time on the ground. The FitnessMat, designed by the company that offers the popular fatigue-reducing WellnessMats that help ease joint pressure when standing, is a cut above other padded workout mats. Its best features include: 

  • More than half an inch of polyurethane padding that offers incredible support in all positions - kneeling, sitting, standing and lying
  • A heavy, lie-flat construction that won't curl up at the corners or cause you to trip - once you've put the mat down, it won't budge until you move it again
  • Untextured, naturally antimicrobial surface that's easy to clean

While it's appropriate for practically any workout, you may want to use a traditional yoga mat for yoga sessions, particularly if you take classes at a studio. This mat, while excellent, is heavy, making it a less portable option if you're active on the go. 

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3
When You're a Frequent Traveler

Yoga Design Lab Travel Mat
Yoga Design Lab

If you're a frequent traveler, particularly if you tend to travel by air, standard workout mats aren't your best friend. Most mats are bulky and heavy, and they typically have to be rolled, rather than folded, making it hard to fit them into a suitcase or bag. The Yoga Design Lab Travel Yoga Mat stands out as a travel-friendly option for a number of reasons: 

  • It folds up extra small so you can fit it into a large purse or carryon bag - folding the mat won't lead to permanent creases
  • The mat features a slip-proof natural tree rubber base so the mat stays put while you exercise
  • The top layer is a soft and absorbent microfiber
  • The microfiber layer actually increases its grip the more you sweat, so you can use it for everything from high-intensity interval training to hot yoga workouts
  • The construction is 100 percent biodegradable and recyclable
  • You can even wash the mat in your washer! (just don't dry it in your dryer, okay?)

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4
When Your Workouts Get Extra Sweaty

prAna Maha Yoga Towel
prAna

You may already own a decent workout mat, but if it starts losing its grip as soon as your hands and feet get sweaty, then it's time to invest in a high-quality, slip-resistant towel you can spread over your mat during sweaty workouts. The prAna Maha Yoga Towel is a good option, providing an extra-absorbent, non-slip, and quick-drying surface you can use on top of standard fitness mats up to 72-inches long. 

This option is particularly nice because after each workout you can simply throw the towel in the washer and wash and dry it with your normal laundry. It is also a good option for outdoor or beach workouts. Rather than lugging your regular mat to the grass or sand, throw your towel in your bag and use it on the ground instead. 

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5
When You're a Fit Kid

Gaiam Kids Camo Yoga Mat
Gaiam

There's nothing like buying your children their own yoga gear to help get them excited about exercise. Gaiam's Kids Yoga Mats are sized specifically for children's smaller bodies and are geared to children between the ages of five and eight. They're reasonably priced (less than $20), and are latex and 6P-free, so parents can feel comfortable about their use. Choose from a variety of fun patterns and colors, including the bright camo version featured here. 

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6
When You Want an Eco-Friendly Workout Experience With a Lifetime Guarantee

Suga C2G Mat
Suga

The SügaMat C2G (Cradle to Grave) gets some serious "cool kid" cred. The mat goes beyond simply using eco-friendly materials, and is actually completely manufactured from recycled wetsuits. Yes, recycled wetsuits. 

In addition to being a solid, high-quality, high-performance yoga mat, the 5-milimeter thickness offers extra support for comfort during almost any activity. Plus, because the mat is made from recycled wetsuits, all you have to do to clean it is hose it down in the shower. Care couldn't be simpler.

When you opt for the C2G version (you can choose from the standard 72-inch mat or the extra-large 75-inch mat), you're basically signing up for a lifetime guarantee. If the mat is damaged for any reason, ever, all you have to do is send it back to the company and they'll send you a new one, no questions asked.

7
When You Need Extra Space to Move

Square36 Extra Large Exercise Mat
Square36

The Squre36 Extra Large Exercise Mat won't win any awards for comfort - it's nothing more than a thin rubber-blend surface - but what it lacks in comfort, it makes up for in sheer size. At 8-feet by 6-feet, it's the perfect option for home-based exercises that require extra space. Think jumping rope, HIIT cardio sessions, or dance fitness, just to name a few. 

The material offers great traction, and its hefty 28-pound weight means it'll stay in place once you lie it flat. For safety reasons, this is great - you don't have to worry about the mat slipping or sliding under you as you jump, run, or dance.

Throw it down in your living room for all your home-based workouts, and if you need it out of the way, simply roll it up and slide it under your couch or into a closet. 

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8
When You Share Your Mat With Others

Airex Coronella
Airex

There's a reason Airex mats are often found at gyms and therapy centers. In addition to a thick, supportive surface perfect for stretching and abdominal work, they also feature an active antibacterial substance and closed-cell construction. This protects against mold and pathogenic organisms, even the antibacterial-resistant cMRSA strain that, let's be honest, no one wants to get. If you share your mat with family and friends, it can't hurt to use one designed to limit the transmission of bacteria and microbes.

The Airex Coronella 200 mat, in particular, features extra dampening support for joints, ligaments, and tendons, making it appropriate for everything from stretching to plyometric jumping workouts. 

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9
When You're a Yoga Pro

Manduka Black Mat Pro
Manduka

Manduka's Black Mat PRO is revered in yoga circles as the go-to mat for committed yogis and yoga professionals. Like the SugaMat, the Black Mat PRO features a lifetime guarantee, so while its upfront cost of more than $100 might seem steep, it evens out over time if you stick to one mat for years. 

Both the standard (71-inch) and extra long (85-inch) mats offer 6-milimeters of cushioning support while its closed-cell surface keeps bacterial buildup at bay. The fabric-like surface is comfortable to the touch and its proprietary dot pattern bottom prevents the mat from sliding during use. The manufacturing of the mat is also guaranteed to be emissions-free, making it a more eco-friendly option than most other PVC yoga mats on the market. 

Best of all? The mat actually gets better with use, so you can break it in without breaking it down. 

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10
When It's Time to Relax

Bed of Nails Acupressure Mat
Bed of Nails

Alright, so an acupressure mat isn't necessarily a standard exercise mat, but I've had my own version for years and I swear by its use when I'm dealing with exercise-induced back pain. While these prickly mats take some getting used to (I won't claim they don't hurt the first few minutes of every use), they certainly provide a relaxing and numbing effect when you lie on one for several minutes. 

The Bed of Nails version features 210 acupressure plates (more than most mats on the market), with a total of 8,820 "nails" per mat. The first few times you try the mat, you'll probably want to lie on it with a thin t-shirt between the mat and your skin to reduce the "sticking" sensation, but over time you can ditch the t-shirt for a more pronounced meditative effect.  

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