If you are looking to get into this popular exercise regimen, you’ve probably noticed that quality yoga mats are pretty expensive. Now, we know what you’re thinking, “is it really necessary to have an expensive yoga mat?”.
We completely understand why you might feel skeptical about expensive yoga mats. Why on earth would you spend $100 on a thing that lays on the ground? Especially when you could get it for $20, right?
Let us be the first to tell you that you do not want to skimp on quality when it comes to yoga mats. A quality mat can make the biggest difference in the way you experience your yoga practice. So if you really want to know why certain yoga mats are more expensive, keep reading to find out.
What’s the difference between an expensive yoga mat and a cheap yoga mat?
A question that a lot of people tend to ask is whether expensive mats really differ from cheaper mats. Are these more expensive mats really worth the extra money?
To answer the question—yes, there are a couple of significant differences between a cheap yoga mat and an expensive one. By the end of this article, you’ll have an in-depth understanding of the major differences.
Expensive yoga mats are better for the environment
Yoga mats made from eco-friendly biodegradable and organic materials are usually more expensive than cheaper mats made from chemicals and other synthetic materials. There are currently seven kinds of yoga mat materials available on the market.
Yoga mats made from natural tree rubber, cotton, jute, and cork are eco-friendly and biodegradable. These options are more expensive – but for good reason.
On the other hand, PVC, TPE, and NBR yoga mats are more affordable options. However, they’re made from either plastic, rubber, or a combination of both. As such, these are not eco-friendly or biodegradable. But, there’s more.
These varieties also contain many carcinogenic chemicals that can have negative impacts on our health.
The Problem With Synthetic Yoga Mats
Take PVC yoga mats, for example. These are by far the cheapest yoga mats you can find on the market today. And because they’re the cheapest ones out there, a lot of yogis—beginners in particular—opt for PVC. But a lot of experts have raised their concerns about the use of PVC because of the risks they pose to humanity.
PVC yoga mats have been found to contain phthalates 1, dioxins, and heavy metals such as lead and cadmium. These are listed as carcinogens or possible carcinogens to humans 2. If you aren’t familiar with what carcinogens are, these are basically substances that are known to increase the risk of cancer in humans.
PVC mats do not have any immediate side effects on our health (unless you’re allergic to latex, then you might have an allergic reaction to the latex found in PVC mats). But they do expose you to chemicals that, over time, may pose a risk to your health. In fact, this is often overlooked, but PVC mats are required to come with a warning label that says it might cause cancer and reproductive problems 3.
Expensive yoga mats are more durable
If you like to participate in more dynamic forms of yoga such as Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Bikram, or Power Yoga, mat durability is extremely important.
The cheaper PVC, TPE, and NBR yoga mats tend to be less durable than the more expensive yoga mats and it shows. You can clearly see and feel the difference between cheap and expensive mats because cheaper yoga mats feel flimsy.
Cheaper mats also usually last for only 8 to 12 months. You’ll notice that after a few weeks of use, little flecks and pieces will start to flake off the cheaper mats.
Yoga mats do more than just protect you from the cold ground, they actually give your joints added protection and cushioning. So as time goes on, more flakes will come off. And soon, you’ll be left with a yoga mat that barely has any support. This can make you more prone to joint pain and makes your yoga experience extremely uncomfortable.
Pricier yoga mats such as the ones made with cork will last up to one or two years—even with regular use. And no matter how long you use it, you won’t see any signs of flaking thanks to its molecular closed-cell structure. An expensive yoga mat also tends to be thicker, giving your joints more support during practice.
Expensive yoga mats are “stickier”
Please don’t get the wrong idea. The word “sticky”, when it comes to yoga mats, is meant to describe how strong the yoga mats traction or grip is to the floor and to you. So if someone says a yoga mat is sticky, it’s not the bad kind of sticky that probably came to mind. It just means you won’t be slipping or sliding on your mat while you do your flow.
That’s why you’ll notice that a lot—if not, all—owners of PVC or NBR mats tend to put a yoga towel on their mats. This is to prevent their hands and feet from sliding while they’re doing poses such as downward dog or other poses that require a lot of traction and balance.
Expensive yoga mats are better for hot yoga
Remember that thing we said about PVC and phthalates? Well, when you heat phthalates they start leaching out chemicals from whatever material they come from. And that includes yoga mats.
There was a study back in 2018 that measured the degree to which phthalates are leaked from PVC when heated. It just so happens that one of the materials included in the study was a PVC yoga mat. The study found that when a yoga mat is heated at 104 degrees Fahrenheit—which is the typical temperature in a hot yoga room—it begins to release the phthalates into the air. These chemicals could even be inhaled 1.
With more expensive mats that are made with natural and all organic materials, you don’t have to worry about these kinds of things. If you were to ask us which kind of yoga mat is the best for hot yoga, we highly recommend getting a cork yoga mat. Not only do they not leak any chemicals into the air, but they are also water-resistant. So while you’re sweating buckets during hot yoga you won’t have to worry about slipping in your own sweat.
They help you commit to your practice
Let’s be honest, it’s really easy to give up on a new hobby or practice when the materials we use are cheap. You can stash a $20 yoga mat at home for years without touching it and it wouldn’t bother you. But when you invest in a pricier yoga mat it will help you invest and commit more to your yoga practice.
And this actually doesn’t only apply to yoga, it applies to any sport or hobby. If you’re buying something pricey you would want to make the most out of it and get your money’s worth. A yoga mat doesn’t even have to be for yoga only, you could use it for pilates or for any type of workout that requires joint support. You can even mix in an ab workout!
So, are expensive yoga mats worth it?
Yes, they are! But as usual, not all yoga mats are equal, even the high-end ones. There is always going to be one that stands out from the rest.
Currently, there are five kinds of yoga mats that are considered high-end and these are the yoga mats made from cork, cotton, jute, hemp, and natural rubber. Although all of these are made from eco-friendly and biodegradable materials, some have certain disadvantages.
Cotton and hemp are some of the most durable and eco-friendly materials to use for yoga mats. However, several people who have experienced using these kinds of yoga mats have said that they are pretty slippery on smooth surfaces.
A lot of people love natural rubber yoga mats because aside from being sourced from renewable material, it’s sticky and comes in a variety of yoga mat designs. The only problem with these mats is their durability. They can last up to one or two years of use but you’ll notice that certain spots where friction mostly happens, end up wearing off. It doesn’t flake it’s more like when you overuse your shoes and the heel starts to get flat.
Jute and cork are probably the two best kinds of yoga mats there are. They’re both incredibly durable, taken from a renewable source, have antimicrobial properties, and are very sticky. The only difference between the two is that jute has a texture. So if you prefer something that is smooth, go with cork.
Final thoughts on expensive yoga mats
In the end, different qualities result in different yoga mat prices. The reason why other yoga mats are more expensive than others is due to the different materials used in each mat.
The more expensive ones are made from high-quality eco-friendly and biodegradable materials, while cheaper ones are made with low-quality and harmful materials.
If you want to make a difference on the planet while taking your yoga practice to the next level, pricier yoga mats like cork mats are definitely worth the money.
Pureful Yoga Cork Mats That Are Worth Every Penny!
If you are an eco-conscious yogi looking for an environmentally-friendly mat… made from biodegradable resources… is durable with a strong grip… and is great for every kind of yoga practice… Pureful Yoga has just the thing for you! Our original cork yoga mat and cork alignment yoga mat check all of these boxes.
Our cork is sourced from the bark of a cork oak tree. But don’t worry because none of the trees we source from are cut down or harmed. The bark can regenerate so it’s a truly renewable source of the material.
The cork’s closed-cell structure is what makes our yoga mats super durable and long-lasting. Cork also has natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that keep your yoga mat 100% clean and free from odor-building bacteria, molds, and mildew.
That’s not all! Our yoga mats are also 100% anti-slip and water-resistant. So even when you’re super sweaty from a brutal hot yoga class, you don’t have to worry about needing a yoga towel to keep you from slipping. As a matter of fact, the more wet cork gets the more traction it builds. How cool is that?
If you’re interested in more of our products we also have a cork yoga block to assist you during your yoga practice and a cork yoga mat bag to help you carry around your yoga mat everywhere you go!
We admit it—our cork yoga mat is definitely a tad bit more expensive than the usual PVC, TPE, and NBR yoga mat you’ll find on the market. But we do guarantee that once you try it, you will see that its quality makes it worth every penny. And if we still don’t meet your expectations we always offer a 30-day return on all purchases with no strings attached.
Want to see and feel the difference between a cheap and expensive yoga mat yourself? Order one of our cork yoga mats from our website today and find out for yourself!