The 6 Best Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats

Your yoga mat should be safe and comfortable place to sweat and stretch, but if you’re trying to find an option that’s also good for the planet, you’ll have to do a little digging. The best eco-friendly yoga mats are made with materials that do minimal harm to the environment, like natural tree rubber, cork, jute, or recyclable thermoplastic elastomers (TPE). Plus, some offer helpful features like alignment lines or extra thickness to cushion your joints.

Natural materials such as cork, jute, and tree rubber (not to be confused with synthetic rubber) are renewable and biodegradable options, and they’re definitely your best bet if you want to avoid plastics. Keep in mind that these eco-sustainable materials tend to have a little less give than synthetics, but generally, their natural surface texture will give you adequate grip. That being said, natural tree rubber will likely offer the most grip of the three, while jute will offer the least — so it’s perfect if you’re up for a challenge. Cork is also on the smoother end of the spectrum, but gets grippier when you sweat, making it a great option for hot yoga or intense flows.

If you want something that has the give and grip of a standard mat, however, know that certain synthetics are better for the planet than others. Your best bet is probably TPE, which is recyclable. Of course, it’s made from a non-renewable fossil petroleum, so it’s not at the top of the list as far as eco-friendly materials go.

Last, you might want to consider alignment lines to help you get your poses right, or an extra-thick mat that cushions your joints. (Keep in mind that thicker mats can make balancing poses a little harder.) With all that in mind, the best eco-friendly yoga mats below are designed to suit a range of preferences, so you can find one that complements your practice perfectly.

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1. The Best Natural Tree Rubber Mat

This Jade Yoga natural rubber yoga mat is a hit with yogis — it has a stellar 4.7-star rating on Amazon and more than 4,000 reviews. Made from biodegradable tree rubber, it has a naturally grippy surface and a bit of give that’s arguably superior to synthetic mats, which means this option really is worth the price tag. The natural yoga mat measures just under 5 millimeters thick, and the lightly textured surface and dense construction provide traction, comfort, and stability when holding a variety of poses or moving through flows. Jade Yoga mats are manufactured in the United States, and eco-conscious shoppers will appreciate the brand’s practice of donating a tree with every purchase.

One reviewer wrote: “I love that I do not slip or slide on this mat. I own a cheap mat that slides when I use it. This mat is much safer and it helps me achieve my positions. I also love that it is made from natural rubber and that a tree was planted when I purchased it. I was concerned that it might have a rubber smell, it was minimal and it dissipated quickly.”

  • Available sizes: 24 x 68 inches, 24 x 74 inches
  • Available colors: 8

2. The Best Cork Mat

Both sides of this cork yoga mat are made from plant-based materials, making it 100% biodegradable and eco-friendly. Unlike synthetic materials, cork actually gets grippier with moisture, so you don’t have to worry about losing your footing or positioning during sweaty yoga practices. The natural rubber base adds nonslip durability and prevents the mat from shifting while you flow. This mat has a thickness of 4.5 millimeters and comes with a carrying strap for portability. Aside from using eco-friendly materials in their mats, Hautest Health donates a percentage of their profits to support ocean conservation efforts.

One reviewer wrote: “This is an amazing mat!! It has such great grip, even with heavy sweating. This is by far the best yoga mat I’ve owned.”

  • Available sizes: 24 x 72 inches
  • Available colors: 1 (natural cork)

3. The Best Jute Mat

The upper surface of this natural yoga mat is made from jute fibers, while the base layer is constructed from durable and nonslip natural rubber. Both materials are biodegradable, and the mat has a thickness of 6 millimeters, so it has a bit more padding than previous options featured here. Plus, at under $30, this is also one of the best cheap eco-friendly yoga mats.

Keep in mind that this jute mat will have the smoothest top surface on the list, which might be a drawback for beginners, but if you’re up for a practice that challenges you to rely even more on your muscles and balance, this is a great pick.

One reviewer wrote: “I LOVE this, I was worried that it might be too thin as the only pad I have used is a random one from walmart and its over half an inch thick but this was very comfy and grippy. I am very glad I got this pad over one of the $60 ones and the shipping was wonderful!"

  • Available sizes: 24 x 68 inches
  • Available colors: 8

4. The Best Recyclable TPE Mat With Extra Thickness

Certain yoga postures can be uncomfortable for joints, and a thicker mat can help provide additional cushioning. This one offers a full half-inch of cushioning (or 12.7 millimeters), which means it’s more than twice as thick as any other option on the list. The extra-thick mat is made from high-density TPE foam, and it has textured nonslip ridges that keep you and the mat securely in place on the floor. Two things to keep in mind: A thick mat can make balancing poses a bit more challenging, and although TPE is recyclable, it is a synthetic polymer made with non-renewable resources.

One reviewer wrote: “This mat is the perfect size & thickness. It is wide enough to do whatever it is I want to do, and long enough that I can stretch out on it completely. The thickness is very comfortable and I feel it adds to the strength & durability of the mat.”

  • Available sizes 32 x 72 inches
  • Available colors: 5

5. The Best Cork Mat With Alignment Lines

If you want guidance for positioning yourself in poses, you can’t beat this natural yoga mat with alignment lines. It’s made with a renewable cork surface and a natural rubber base, and it features multiple markings, like a center point, gaze point, and 45-degree lines. It has a thickness of 4 millimeters and comes with a convenient carrying strap. And while some yogis might find the surface more slippery than rubber or TPE, the biodegradable mat is perfect if you plan to do Bikram yoga or swift, sweaty flows, since cork becomes more grippy with a little moisture.

One reviewer wrote: "The markings make it easy for a beginner to navigate the map of the mat and get an idea of centering in the mat, finding their own hip width and shoulder width and getting the right placement for the feet and knees while flowing through a series.The cork feels really nice and natural. I prefer it to a standard mat texture."

  • Available sizes: 24 x 72 inches
  • Available colors: 1 (natural cork)

6. The Best Recyclable TPE Mat With Alignment Lines

One of the best yoga mats for beginners is one that also features alignment lines, but the TPE material of this option will make for a grippier surface than the previous cork mat. It has a center point and a variety of lines and markers to guide you through your flow. The mat’s two sides are textured in a diamond pattern that helps prevent slipping and skidding. With a thickness of 6 millimeters, this pick comes with a Velcro closure and carrying strap, so you can easily pack your mat to bring it with you on the go. And while this mat is a good option for recyclability, it’s important to note that TPE is not a renewable resource.

One reviewer wrote: “Nice size. […] I’m just beginning to do yoga and I find the center line and markings for hands/feet super helpful in finding proper alignment."

  • Available sizes: 24 x 72 inches
  • Available colors: 8

Studies referenced:

Markarian, J. (2004, December). Processing and recycling advantages drive growth in thermoplastic elastomers. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1464391X04003010

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