Are Cork Yoga Mats Worth It? [Pros & Cons]

Are Cork Yoga Mats Worth It? [Pros & Cons]

Published On: August 4th, 2021
Cork Yoga Mat Benefits

You might be wondering – are cork yoga mats good? Are they worth it, and how do they compare vs. other mats?

Keep in mind – there are so many different kinds of yoga mats:

  • Cork
  • Natural rubber
  • TPE
  • PVC

With all the choices… it can be a little overwhelming to know what’s right for you – regardless if you’re a beginner or advanced yogi.

Many yogis and instructors prefer cork yoga mats since they’re sustainable and eco-friendly… along with being non-slip, non-toxic, durable and perfectly cushioned – which is great for all types of yoga.

So if you’re looking for a yoga mat won’t hurt your knees or wrists… expose your skin to PVC and plastic chemicals… wear-down after only 6 months… or harm the planet… cork yoga mats might be your #1 option (with a few downsides – more on that below).

What is a Cork Yoga Mat?

To understand why use a cork yoga mat, it’s important to understand how they’re made.

  • Cork is sustainably harvested from cork trees – a process done without destroying or cutting down any trees.
  • This is because cork is harvested from the bark, which rejuvenates on its own – leaving the tree 100% unharmed.
  • In addition to cork being an eco-friendly material… it’s also anti-microbial, repels water, and has a tremendous grip to prevent slipping.

Underneath the cork, these yoga mats are typically made of rubber, foam, or other material – adding nice cushion for your knees.

Pros and Cons of a Cork Yoga Mat

When it comes to cork yoga mat pros and cons… you’ll want to judge each benefit and downside yourself. On average, these types of yoga mats receive slightly-higher ratings due to their unique abilities to keep you grounded in your mat, prevent slipping, and offer an organic + non-toxic surface you can practice on.

What are the Benefits and Pros of a Cork Yoga Mat?

Some of the benefits to using a cork yoga mat include:

  • It’s anti-microbial and anti-bacterial (no more pesky bacteria and smelly mats!)
  • It’s non-slip
  • Incredible grip for yoga poses
  • It’s eco-friendly (sustainably-sourced and all-natural)
  • Easy to clean
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • It provides a great cushion to your knees and wrists

What are the Cons of a Cork Yoga Mat?

While some of these factors listed may not be complete cons, they could be very important to some people. These cons include:

  • Unfoldable
  • Can be pricy
  • Only available up to 5-6mm (there aren’t any 8-10mm cork mats on the market, for ultra-sensitive knees)

Cork mats must be rolled to store them. So if space saving is a concern when choosing a mat, it’s important to remember that this type cannot be folded. Another con people bring up when discussing cork mats is their price. However, the mat is made of all-natural cork making it a high-quality product that is well worth the price.

Lastly, some yogis have said the grip is better with moisture. By spraying a bit of water on the mat (or keeping a wet cloth/paper towel next to you, for your hands), it’s a quick fix.

But some people also talk about yoga mats being TOO grippy, since it can be difficult to transition into your next pose. The majority of yogis prefer the default cork grip without water, so it’s all personal preference (unless you’re practicing hot yoga).

How Do you Maintain a Cork Yoga Mat?

Cork is self-cleaning and resistant to gross germs and dust — and it’s super easy to clean since all you need is a damp cloth with cold water.

  • Simply rub both sides, let it air dry, and you have a freshly cleaned mat.
  • If you want a deep clean (only needed on rare occasion) – you can fill a spray bottle of water, witch hazel, and an essential oil.
  • Then you spray your mat and use your damp cloth to rub in the mixture.

For more detailed instructions, you can check out this how to clean a cork yoga mat blog post.

Are Cork Yoga Mats Good?

Cork yoga mats are better than good, they are the best option for any yogi out there. With antimicrobial and water repellent properties, the mat basically maintains itself. It doesn’t absorb water or sweat that comes from use and keeps away any dust or dirt – making it an awesome yoga equipment piece.

These mats are better than the competing materials. Cork mats lead as the best material for performance, cleanliness, and practicing eco-friendly yoga.

Are Cork Yoga Mats Slippery?

Cork is a non-slip and water-resistant material that makes for a good grip. The mat contains suberin, a waxy substance that literally repels sweat and small particles. So there’s no need to worry about dealing with a smelly mat – or slipping and sliding during a hot yoga sesh. As it turns out, cork yoga mats are great for hot yoga.

With a little moisture, your grip should actually improve. You can even spritz a bit of water on your hands and feet to maximize your grip.

Are Cork or Rubber Yoga Mats Better?

Natural rubber and cork mats are often compared to one another because they both offer eco-friendly ways to practice yoga. However, we believe that cork yoga mats are better than rubber ones because they have way more pros.

  • Rubber mats are made from latex, a liquid that comes from rubber trees’ ducts.
  • Since it comes from latex, if you have an allergy to the material, rubber mats are not the right choice for you.
  • Aside from excluding those with allergies, these mats also are on the heavy side and come with a bad rubber smell that slowly fades over time.

Cork mats are incredibly lightweight and are practically odorless. These also become gripper while wet, meanwhile rubber mats lose grip. Although you can’t fold your cork mat like you could with a rubber one, the extra cushion provides more support to your knees and joints.

It’s clear that cork yoga mats are better than rubber ones, but if you really like both of the materials you can find mats that contain both. Some cork mats have a natural rubber base making them some of the most sustainable mats on the market.

Is TPE better than PVC?

PVC is a common & cheap yoga mat material. However, its low cost comes with a steep price to the environment.

TPE is another common yoga mat, can be recycled and is better for the environment compared to PVC. This is due to its low energy consumption during the manufacturing process.

PVC mats can be found anywhere from Walmart to your local yoga studio. They are super cheap which makes them a go-to product for beginner yogis. But, PVC is bad for the environment, not recyclable, and may contain toxic substances.

Between TPE and PVC, TPE is better because it’s not as harmful as PVC is to the environment. In fact, TPE is arguably the best option to use underneath a top cork layer.

Cork vs TPE vs PVC Yoga Mats

As mentioned earlier, PVC is not a sustainable or eco-friendly material. It’s very harmful to the environment, and while they may be cheap… there’s massive growing concern over using these mats in the long run.

Cork comes from the bark of cork trees making it a renewable and biodegradable resource to create yoga mats. Combined with TPE – cork yoga mats have a long-lasting lifespan and are:

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to clean
  • Anti-bacterial and non-toxic
  • Have a stunning appearance
  • Have perfect grip that improves with moisture

It has all the benefits of a PVC mat, plus the sustainability factor!

Should you Get a Cork Yoga Mat?

Most yogis and instructors prefer cork mats for their versatility – especially comparing vs. standard mats. Keep in mind:

  • You’ll never have to worry about slipping and sliding, even in the downward dog (because of the cork’s anti-slip properties).
  • You don’t have to deal with a smelly mat after a sweaty session (since cork is anti-microbial as well).
  • The thickness of cork yoga mats also provides a great cushion (for when you’re in those deep stretches).

Whether you love hot yoga or Hatha classes, this mat is perfect for any occasion. Not to mention how aesthetically pleasing a cork yoga mat is compared to other boring and bland ones. You can have the best quality mat and the most stylish one if you get a cork one!