The 14 Best Exercise Mats for Every Workout

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Whether you're a bonafide yogi, a barre aficionado, a pilates stan, a HIIT enthusiast, loyal to CrossFit, or dabble with all of the above, a good exercise mat is a must. So, which one is best? It depends partly on what activity (or activities) you're using it for and where you're going to use it—at home, on the road, in the gym, at a boutique fitness studio, etc. There are, of course, some stellar all-purpose workout mats for those who like to mix things up.

"Whenever I'm in the market for a new workout mat, there are a few things I look for when purchasing it," says certified personal trainer Dianna Falzarano. "The mat needs to be thick enough so I'm comfortable while kneeling or on my forearms or wrists, it needs to be sturdy when I'm working out so it isn't moving around, and the material needs to be sweat-absorbing."

With these pointers in mind, we rounded up the best exercise mats out there today.

Our Top Picks
This grippy, all-purpose mat is nicely plush to minimize pressure on the knees, elbows, and other joints.
This affordable pick is made from durable rubber and boasts a non-slip, moisture-resistant finish.
This innovative mat is made from an antimicrobial, puncture-resistant material and boasts .75 inches of plushness.
This all-purpose mat is made from high-density foam to provide optimal cushioning, no matter the workout.
This durable rubber mat features a microfiber surface for comfortable support throughout your flow.
Crafted from natural latex, this mat has unbeatable surface traction that's perfect for hot yoga.
This mat's cushioned rubber base and grippy antimicrobial top layer make this pick ideal for pilates.
The ultra-dense cushioning and textured antimicrobial surface make this mat a great fit for barre classes.
This mat boasts a 1-inch surface with an extra plush feel, ideal for anyone looking for more cushioning during a workout.
This mat features a rigid bottom and a slightly textured surface for extra grip.

Best Overall: BalanceFrom GoCloud All-Purpose 1-Inch Exercise Mat with Carrying Strap

What We Like
  • All-purpose design

  • Reasonably priced

  • Several colors available

  • Thick, plush cushioning

What We Don't Like
  • Relatively bulky when rolled up

The BalanceFrom GoCloud is in a league of its own. This all-purpose exercise mat boasts 71 x 24 inches of surface area, plus 1-inch thick plushness to minimize pressure on your knees, elbows, wrists, spine, and tailbone when performing various moves.

The high-density foam is lightweight and impressively grippy but also resistant to tearing. What's more, sweat won't soak into the moisture-wicking material, so you don't have to worry about it harboring bacteria and odors. We also like that it comes with a stretchy carrying strap for easy storage and transport.

Material: High-density foam | Features: Carrying strap, moisture-resistant technology

Best Budget: Mind Reader All-Purpose 1/2 Exercise Mat with Carrying Strap

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • All-purpose design

  • Large surface area

What We Don't Like
  • Rubber has a distinct smell

For something slightly more wallet-friendly, check out the Mind Reader All-Purpose Exercise Mat. Made of ultra-durable rubber, the non-slip design resists moisture while cushioning your body as you power through your workout.

Material: Nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) | Features: Moisture-resistant technology, carrying strap

Best Splurge: WellnessMats FitnessMat

WellnessMats FitnessMatt
What We Like
  • 7-year warranty

  • Antimicrobial

  • Thick, plush cushioning

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Doesn't roll up

If you're willing to shell out a little extra for something truly exceptional, take a peek at the options from WellnessMats. Crafted from an innovative, antimicrobial, puncture-resistant material with 0.75 inches of plushness and a beveled edge to prevent it from curling up, the FitnessMat pulls out all the stops. It's also backed by a 7-year manufacturer warranty.

Material: Polyurethane | Features: No-curl beveled edge, puncture-resistant design

Best All-Purpose: Nike Training Mat 2.0

Nike Training Mat 2.0
What We Like
  • Compact when rolled

  • All-purpose design

What We Don't Like
  • Relatively pricey

Nike makes an excellent all-purpose mat too. Made of high-density foam, the Training Mat 2.0 provides optimal cushioning on hard surfaces while still rolling up into a conveniently compact configuration—extra points for the included carrying strap.

Material: High-density foam | Features: Adjustable carrying strap

Best for Yoga: Sunia Yoga Chakra Premium Yoga Mat

Sunia Yoga Chakra Premium Yoga Mat
What We Like
  • Rubber backing

  • Designed for yoga

What We Don't Like
  • Relatively pricey

Calling all yogis! Sunia Yoga's Chakra Mat is just the thing for your next flow. With durable rubber backing and a printed microfiber surface, it's comfy, supportive, and stays put between poses.

Material: Rubber, microfiber | Features: Printed surface

Best for Hot Yoga: Sweaty Betty Super Grip Yoga Mat

Sweaty Betty Super Grip Yoga Mat
What We Like
  • Biodegradable

  • Excellent traction

  • Large surface area

What We Don't Like
  • Not suitable for those with latex allergy

If you're into hot yoga, we recommend Sweaty Betty's Super Grip Yoga Mat. It's crafted from natural latex for unbeatable surface traction. It's also slip-resistant underneath, so you can be sure that sweat won't get in the way of your flow.

Material: Natural latex | Features: Non-slip design

Best for Pilates: Lululemon The Reversible Mat 5mm

Lululemon Yoga Mat
What We Like
  • Excellent traction

  • Antimicrobial

  • Absorbent

What We Don't Like
  • Relatively pricey

"My favorite mat is Lululemon's Reversible Mat 5mm," Falzarano says. This mat is designed for yoga, but it's a go-to for the pilates set, thanks to its cushioned rubber base and grippy, absorbent, antimicrobial top layer.

Material: Natural rubber, polyurethane | Features: Antimicrobial, textured top layer

Best for Barre: Manduka Pro Yoga Mat 6mm

What We Like
  • Dense cushioning

  • Antimicrobial

  • OEKO-TEX-certified

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

If you're all about the barre, the Manduka Pro Mat has your name on it. While it's technically designed for yoga, the ultra-dense cushioning and textured antimicrobial surface are perfect for leg lifts, back dancing, and whatever killer core moves your instructor thinks up.

Material: Polyvinyl chloride | Features: Textured top layer

Best Plush: HemingWeigh 1 Inch Thick Exercise Mat

What We Like
  • Thick, plush cushioning

  • Reasonably priced

What We Don't Like
  • Relatively bulky when rolled up

If you have bad knees or just want plenty of cushioning when you hit the mat, check out this extra-thick option by HemingWeigh. It's made of high-density, tear-resistant rubber and boasts a sizable, 1-inch-thick surface. The included carrying strap makes it a breeze to tote around, too.

Material: Nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) | Features: Carrying strap, anti-tear technology

Best Grip: Adidas 7mm Fitness Mat

What We Like
  • Excellent traction

  • Lightweight

  • Reasonably priced

What We Don't Like
  • Shorter than the average mat

Adidas' take on the exercise mat is this ultra-grippy, lightweight number. A rigid bottom ensures it stays in place and a slightly textured surface prevents you from slipping while getting your sweat on.

Material: Nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) | Features: Rigid bottom

Best Portable: Gaiam Folding Exercise Mat

What We Like
  • Fold-up design

  • Budget-friendly

  • Grippy surface

What We Don't Like
  • No cushioning

If you want something you can stash in your gym bag, suitcase, or backpack, the Gaiam Folding Exercise Mat is just the thing. At just 2 millimeters thick, it can be folded up into a compact 10 x 12-inch rectangle. Plus, what this portable mat lacks in cushioning, it makes up for in grippy surface texture.

Material: Polyvinyl chloride | Features: Foldable design, sticky texture

Best Non-Slip: Therabody Multi-Purpose Yoga & Fitness Mat

Therabody Multi-Purpose Yoga & Fitness Mat
What We Like
  • Non-slip bottom

  • Multi-purpose design

  • Generous surface area

What We Don't Like
  • Relatively heavy

We're also loving this multi-purpose fitness mat from Therabody (formerly Theragun). Made of high-grade polyurethane with a non-slip elastic rubber bottom, it provides ample cushioning and stability while supporting your balance.

Material: Polyurethane, rubber | Features: Elastic rubber bottom, carrying case

Best Cork: New Balance Cork Yoga Mat

What We Like
  • Naturally antimicrobial

  • Eco-friendly

  • Reasonably priced

What We Don't Like
  • Shorter than the average mat

Cork is naturally antimicrobial and resistant to punctures and dents. New Balance combined the sustainable material with sturdy and supportive thermoplastic to bring you this beauty of a workout mat.

Material: Cork, thermoplastic elastomers | Features: Closed-cell design

Best Tiles: Yes4All Exercise Mat with EVA Foam Interlocking Tiles

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Versatile

  • Multiple colors available

What We Don't Like
  • Tiles may come apart during high-intensity workouts

Tiles are great because you can move them around, use as many as you need, and turn any space in your home into a workout zone. With that said, we're big fans of this set from Yes4All. It includes 12 interlocking pieces (each is 24 x 24 inches), which is enough to cover 48 square feet. Not only that, but it comes in several colors, including options that mimic various flooring materials like wood and granite.

Material: High-density foam | Features: Noise-reducing design

Final Verdict

The BalanceFrom GoCloud All-Purpose 1-Inch Exercise Mat is hands down the best option. We appreciate the high-density yet lightweight material, extra-thick cushioning, moisture-resistant technology, and reasonable price tag. However, if you want something a little more affordable, you can't go wrong with the non-slip, moisture-resistant Mind Reader All-Purpose 1/2 Exercise Mat. It's not quite as thick, but still plenty plush and suitable for a range of activities.

Meet the Expert

Dianna Falzarano is a certified personal trainer, functional strength coach, and the founder of Dynamic Fitness LLC. She earned her personal training certification through the National Council of Strength and Fitness (NCSF).

What to Look For in an Exercise Mat

Activity

When shopping around for an exercise mat, the first thing to consider is the activity (or activities) you plan to use it for. There are lots of all-purpose options on the market, which you can use for virtually any workout. Having said that, yoga mats are traditionally much thinner, as they're designed to help you achieve a stable connection to the floor or ground underneath.

Thickness

This brings us to our next point. As Falzarano mentioned, you'll want to look for a mat that's thick enough to alleviate pressure on your wrists, elbows, forearms, knees, and spine when performing various moves. The plushest options are about 1 inch thick, though 0.5 inches may be enough for most people.

Sweat-wicking

Lastly, the material should be designed to either absorb moisture or wick it away. Sweat-wicking options will help keep the surface dry while repelling bacteria and odors. Absorbent exercise mats also keep the surface dry, but they soak up moisture instead of wicking it away.

FAQ
  • How do you clean an exercise mat?

    Most exercise mats can be wiped down with a clean damp cloth, a mild soap-and-water solution, or a disinfectant wipe. A mixture of distilled white vinegar can also work for cleaning and disinfecting. If you're worried about damaging the material, check the manufacturer's care instructions before cleaning your mat.

  • Can you use an exercise mat for yoga?

    Yes, it's always fine to use a traditional exercise mat for yoga. The extra thickness can be beneficial for those with bad knees or joint issues and anyone who simply prefers more cushioning. That said, yoga mats are typically much thinner to help you connect with the flat floor during your flow.

  • How often should you replace your exercise mat?

    While it depends on how often you use it and what you use it for, most exercise mats should be replaced once or twice a year. There are usually some obvious signs a mat is at the end of its rope, like tears, flattened areas, or odors that don't come out with cleaning.

Why Trust Byrdie

Byrdie contributor Theresa Holland is a seasoned freelance writer with a background in fitness and self-care. As someone who used workout DVDs to stay in shape long before streaming classes were cool, she knows how to find the best at-home exercise equipment. She has tried several workout mats over the years, including options from BalanceFrom, Mind Reader, HemingWeigh, and Yes4All. For this story, she spoke to a personal trainer, pored over products from a wide range of retailers and brands, read reviews, and carefully considered the key features before making her selections.

According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough exercise mats from Black-owned and/or Black-founded businesses to meet this percentage. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at contact@byrdie.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Gonçalves F, Correia P, Silva SP, Almeida-Aguiar C. Evaluation of antimicrobial properties of cork. Bowater L, ed. FEMS Microbiology Letters. 2016;363(3):fnv231. doi: 10.1093/femsle/fnv231

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