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The best exercise mats, recommended by fitness experts

When it comes to exercise mats, we’re spoilt for choice. We spoke to fitness experts to get rid of the guesswork and get their take on what to look out for and what to avoid when finding the best exercise mat for you.

the best exercise mat

In recent years, home workouts have revolutionised the way the world approaches fitness. More and more of us are passing on the aggressive music and awkward interactions of the gym and are instead opting to get a sweat on in the comfort of our own bedrooms and living rooms.

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At-home workouts require at-home equipment, from dumbbells to resistance bands and exercise mats, the right kit can help you progress and keep your exercise routine varied. When looking to buy an exercise mat, there’s a lot to think about. The right exercise mat will reduce pressure on joints, aid balance and be tailored to your needs to support you in reaching your fitness goals.

If you’re in the market for an exercise mat (and I mean, why else would you be here?) you’ll know you’re pretty spoilt for choice. Well, at The Recommended, we’ve done our homework. We spoke to two leading fitness experts to get their take on what to look out for, and what to avoid when looking for the best exercise mat for you.

Our fitness experts

fitness experts

Louisa Drake and Tom House are fitness experts with years of experience in the field. Through one-to-one training, bespoke programmes, group classes, and online sessions, Louisa and Tom have helped hundreds of people reach their fitness goals.  

Our first expert is Louisa Drake, founder and creator of the Louisa Drake method; a unique fitness-fusion approach to working out. With over a decade of experience in the fitness industry, Louisa has drawn upon her fitness expertise and background as a professional dancer to train and acquire a star-studded client list; including Victoria Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow. Louisa launched her own studio in London two years ago and runs weekly sell-out, fitness classes.

A qualified personal trainer and women’s health specialist, Tom House, founder of Tom House Fitness, runs a variety of fitness classes, one-to-one sessions, and online workouts from central London. Using his knowledge of women’s health, Tom creates tailored pre-natal and post-partum workout regimes as well as sessions aimed towards menopausal fitness. Tom favours outdoor workouts, removing often intimidating gym environments to help his clients become stronger, fitter, and above all, happier.

What should you look for when buying an exercise mat?

When choosing an exercise mat, Louisa tells us to consider the surface you’ll be working out on; “comfort is very important, particularly if you plan to work out on unforgiving flooring like hardwood, concrete or tiles”. Louisa then went on to discuss the thickness of the mat “while the average yoga mat tends to be about 4-6mm thick, you might want to invest in a thicker mat for more padding. I’d recommend around 8mm plus for optimum comfort and support”.

When it comes to exercise mats, it seems size really does matter. According to Tom “They should be long enough for your head and torso”. Tom also tells us to consider our specific needs when choosing a mat; ask yourself “will you need to travel with it? does it come with a carry case and handles?”. A good grip is also important to both of our experts with Louisa telling us “a mat with a good grip, stable and non-slip surface is ideal”.

What should you avoid when looking for an exercise mat?

When shopping for an exercise mat, our experts encouraged us to stay away from anything that doesn’t cater to our specific needs. For example, if you plan to use heavy weights during your workouts the standard 4-6mm think mat may not be the best choice. Louisa suggests opting for a “thicker mat” as it ‘should be able to withstand weights being dropped on it without marking or denting and be noise-reducing”.

Tom tells us to avoid mats that ‘look like camping mats – you’ll slide off them and they don’t age terribly well”.

Which is the best exercise mat?

Louisa has a few favourite mats that she uses for her own workouts, she tells us “my favourites are from Fable Yoga as these have great grip, are slightly wider than usual yoga mats and Lululemon’s reversible 5mm mat is the perfect all-rounder”.

The best exercise mats:

Best overall exercise mat: Lululemon The Reversible Mat 5mm

Long-lasting quality 

best overall exercise mat

Recommended by our expert Louisa as a ‘perfect all-rounder’, Lululemon’s reversible 5mm mat provides supportive cushioning and textured grip to help you find balance in your exercise routine.

Made with a natural rubber base, The Reversible 5mm Mat provides support to joints while the polyurethane top layer absorbs moisture for added grip. Crafted with an antimicrobial additive, this exercise mat prioritises hygiene and longevity, and its wipe-clean material allows for easy maintenance.

Best multipurpose exercise mat: Maximo Exercise Mat

Durable comfort 

best multipurpose exercise mat

Portable and lightweight, this exercise mat is a real all-rounder. Whether it’s hot yoga or weight training, this mat covers all bases with extra-thick materials and a non-slip surface.

Equipped with Louisa’s recommendation of a non-slip surface and Tom’s considerations of portability, the Maximo Exercise Mat is both versatile and practical. Providing comfort and support with extra thick materials, this exercise mat is water-resistant and easily wiped clean helping keep both your form and your mat fresh.

Best latex-free exercise mat: Toplus Training Mat

For a complete workout

best latex free exercise mat

Toplus Training Mat speaks to all our expert recommendations; with 6mm thickness, a non-slip surface and lightweight portability all made using latex-free materials.

Made with eco-friendly, non-toxic materials, the Toplus Training Mat features a double-layer structure design and a non-slip texture for optimal stability. This high density, versatile mat offers added support and cushioning to the joints and can be used for various forms of exercise.

Best thick exercise mat: XN8 Padded Exercise Mat

For optimal support 

best thick exercise mat

When it comes to comfort, the XN8 Padded Exercise Mat more than lives up to our expert’s standards. Made with 15mm thick, quality NBR foam, this exercise mat adds protective cushioning to any surface.

Created with a non-slip surface this exercise mat helps you keep your balance while reducing stress on joints. Compact and lightweight this mat can be used on a multitude of surfaces and its wipe-clean surface keeps maintenance simple.

Best exercise mat for travel: Navaris Exercise Mat

For use on the go 

best travel exercise mat

This exercise mat lets you work out wherever you are. Weighing just 2lb, this foldable exercise mat delivers on convenience without compromising on quality.

Created with a non-slip, skid-resistant texture as well as a memory shape function, the Navaris Foldable Exercise Mat provides support and comfort during your workouts. This exercise mat champions convenience, is easy to clean and extremely lightweight, this mat is ready wherever you are.

Best non-slip exercise mat: KK Exercise Mat

Strong and stable

best non-slip exercise mat

Durable and of a professional-grade, the KK Exercise Mat is made with innovative TPE materials.

This non-slip exercise mat isn’t going anywhere. Louisa told us how important grip is, and this mat delivers with a lightly textured top and non-slip base for optimal stability. Durable and free from PVC, this mat comes with a convenient carry handle and wipe-clean material.

Best cork exercise mat: KAIZENLY Natural Cork Exercise Mat 

Supportive and eco friendly 

best cork exercise mat

This sustainable exercise mat promises to help you find balance both mentally and physically. Made with durable cork, this mat uses eco-friendly materials to provide comfort and stability.

Our expert Louisa often uses cork mats in her own fitness routine, and we can see why. Water and sweat-resistant, this cork exercise mat provides stability without sticking to your skin. 5mm thick, this exercise mat provides cushioning to joints while alignment indicators help to guide your form.

Best exercise mat for kids: Yogi-me Mat 

For your little work out buddy 

best exercise mat for kids

6mm thick and tear-resistant, the Yogi-me Mat provides a versatile base to help your little one burn off some energy. Lightweight and skid-resistant, this exercise mat is made to keep kids moving safely.

Made with soft, eco-friendly TPE, this exercise mat provides optimal cushioning for little joints. This non-toxic exercise mat prioritises durability, using screen-printing technology to create an engaging design, the Yogi-me Mat promises to hold up against wear and tear and will not fade with use.

Best large exercise mat: Karma Fitness Large Exercise Mat 

Extra-wide mat

Karma Fitness exercise mat

This mat is 33% wider than standard exercise mats, letting you move without limits. Delivering on size without compromising on convenience, the Karma Fitness Mat comes with carry straps for ease of use.

If, like our expert Tom, size is important when finding the best exercise mat for you, this Karma Fitness mat has you covered. Extra-wide and 10mm thick, this durable exercise mat is ready for anything. Made with double-layered TPE material and a textured, non-slip top, this mat provides both stability and support.

Best sustainable exercise mat: FABLE 4mm Pro Grip Mat 

Planet-friendly performance 

best sustainable exercise mat

Crafted using biodegradable natural tree rubber, the FABLE 4mm Pro Grip Mats come highly recommended by our expert Louisa.

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Non-toxic and made without PVC, the Fable 4mm Pro Grip Mats are wider and longer than standard mats to help you get the most out of your workouts. The non-slip upper layer provides optimal grip while, the natural, sustainably sourced materials work to bring comfort and support to your exercise routine.

If you would like to read more expert-recommended fitness round-ups, check out our Fitness page for a full list of recommendations, including the best resistance bands recommended by personal trainers and the best yoga mats recommended by yoga teachers