Gaiam Athletic Yoga Mat

Last updated date: June 18, 2019

DWYM Score
7.5

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Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in the category.

We looked at the top 1 Yoga Mats and dug through the reviews from 3 of the most popular review sites including New York Times Wirecutter, Best Products and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Yoga Mat you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 132 expert reviews, the Gaiam Gaiam Athletic Yoga Mat placed 10th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note September 20, 2019:
Checkout The Best Yoga Mat for a detailed review of all the top yoga mats.

Expert Summarized Score
8.0
3 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
6.4
48 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
If you’re allergic to latex or are put off by rubber odors, you’ll want to go for a rubber-free product. The Gaiam Athletic Duramat is composed entirely of PVC foam, so it’s odor-free, won’t trigger latex allergies, and still offers comparable support, surface area, and stickiness to our top rubber picks.
- New York Times Wirecutter
This mat is 10 inches longer and 2 inches wider than your standard yoga mat, which means this is great for anyone whose Warrior 2 stance tends to stretch beyond the mat.
- Best Products
October 22, 2018 | Full review
What experts didn't like
Because it’s made of a type of plastic, the Duramat doesn’t absorb moisture at all, making it slick with pools of sweat in vigorous or heated classes; our hot-yoga instructor commented that she was often wiping it with a towel until she finally just put the towel down on top of the mat.
- New York Times Wirecutter
The Gaiam Athletic Duramat is totally fine to use, but I find it's a little too hard and slippery for me to recommend. While durable, it’s hard to fall in love with an uncomfortable mat.
- Reviewed
September 17, 2018 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

Gaiam's Athletic Yoga duraMat is built for repeated use and guaranteed for life. Longer and wider than traditional mats, the duraMat utilizes matDD (Dura-Dense) technology for firmer support, cushioning and long-wearing performance. Dual surfaces - stick and textured - increase versatility. Made from compressed PVC, the duraMat is the most durable of the Gaiam Athletic Yoga Mats. 78 inch L x 26 inch W x 5mm Thick.

Overall Product Rankings

1. Manduka PRO Yoga and Pilates Mat
Overall Score: 9.3
Expert Reviews: 23
AmazonBasics 1/2-Inch Extra Thick Exercise Mat
2. AmazonBasics 1/2-Inch Extra Thick Exercise Mat
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 4
3. Sivan Health and Fitness Yoga Mat
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 22
4. Jade Harmony Yoga Mat
Overall Score: 8.9
Expert Reviews: 27
5. YogaAccessories Yoga Mat
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 10
6. Lululemon The Reversible Mat
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 11
7. Clever Yoga Yoga Mat
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 11
8. HemingWeigh Yoga Mat
Overall Score: 8.4
Expert Reviews: 7
9. REEHUT Yoga Mat
Overall Score: 8.3
Expert Reviews: 11
10. Gaiam Athletic Yoga Mat
Overall Score: 7.5
Expert Reviews: 3

An Overview On Yoga Mats

Although yoga became a fad several years ago, many who participate in yoga do not know the entire history of it. The practice began thousands of years ago to give individuals a well-rounded approach to health, including mental, spiritual, emotional and physical.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Founded in India and encompassing many different types, hatha yoga is what is most commonly practiced today. This is a fraction of the entire yoga philosophy, but has taught so much to many individuals nonetheless. From stress-relief and fitness to healing and mental clarity, yoga has become an integral part of many people’s lives. Part of the attraction to yoga for many people is the ability to do it anywhere, anytime. It does not require excessive gym equipment or bodybuilding weights or a home gym room. All you need is a good yoga mat that stores neatly in your closet or in a duffel bag for traveling, and you are all set.

So much more than just a tool, the yoga mat is a representation of the space that one sets aside for their stress-free yoga time. The yoga mat can be traced back to Angela Farmer in the late 1960s. She really wanted to practice yoga, but a medical condition didn’t allow for the average traction that most people have with their hands and feet. She discovered that a piece of cushion from underneath a carpet was working really well for her, and when her students saw hers, they wanted one of their own. Her father turned to a German carpet company to create and sell yoga mats. He started this home business in Vancouver Island in his home. Although it was started as an adaptation for Angela’s medical condition, it became a symbol of yoga around the globe.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Yoga mats can be used for more than just yoga, too.

Stephanie Mansour, a certified personal trainer and the founder of fitness brand Step It Up With Steph, says this is the No. 1 investment she recommends to clients who want to get in a good workout at home.

“Not only is a yoga mat great for stretching, lying down on the ground, and padding your knees and feet, but it’s also a great signal that you’re setting up your workout and getting in the zone,” she says. “Rolling out a yoga mat tells your brain that it’s go time, and it can be easily tucked away next to the couch or in a bedroom where it’s not distracting but still within eyesight so that you don’t forget to do your workout.”

When looking into buying a yoga mat, there are several things to keep in mind. When you strike that combination of perfect features, you’ll enjoy yoga much more.

First, you’ll want a perfectly thick mat. The right thickness for you will give you the right amount of comfort and stability. If your mat is too thick, you won’t be able to balance well, and if it is too thin, you’ll hurt your body on the floor. Standard mats are 1/8 inch thick but for a cushier mat, go for the ¼ inch thickness. If you are a frequent traveler, the 1/16 inch mats will be the lightest and most compact for you. For the maximum thickness, Sivan Health and Fitness ½ inch Extra Thick Mat will give you excellent support during yoga routines.

Make sure you consider how you’ll be using your mat.

“If you want to do HIIT [high-intensity interval training] workouts barefoot on your mat, investing in a mat with more grip and traction that’s more resistant to sweat would be a wise spend,” Mansour says.

Second, always check the material list on the tag. The average yoga mat is PVC or vinyl. Since yoga is entirely about connecting with nature, newer model yoga mats are made of organic cotton, jute or even recycled rubber. Make sure to avoid the natural rubber mats if you have any issues with latex. Although the Manduka PRO Yoga Mat is made from natural rubber, it is 100% latex-free and offers excellent density for maximum support.

Third, texture is also very important. You will need traction for many of the poses and positions in yoga. Usually, you’ll find grooves of some sort in the mat to help with the grip during positioning. The more modern, natural mats made of jute or cotton have a natural grip to them whereas the PVC has added texture such as bumps.

Next, the sticky factor. The yoga mats you grab at the gym aren’t sticky from overuse in a public place. The stickiness is intentional in yoga mats. It is what keeps the mat in place throughout the routine. In addition, it helps to keep your body in alignment with the yoga mat when you change positions. The stickiest mats are the ones made from PVC.

Eco-friendly is always a matter of conscience when buying a new product, and yoga mats are no exception. This is where you can find the organic yoga mats made from jute, organic cotton, or natural cotton. These materials will not harm the environment before, during or after production or once disposed. When you want an additional environmental friendly option, check out Jade Harmony Yoga Mat. The company promises to plant a tree with every sale.

Lastly, budget is always something to keep in mind. Most of the time, the thinner the mat, the less expensive. If you choose an eco-friendly option, those might be on the pricier end of the budget. Be mindful of the reviews when consumers speak of durability because that will be a factor that is worth the money.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Once you’ve discovered the comfort level, stickiness and environmentally safe option for you, then have some fun with color and patterns. There are endless options for yoga mat styles, so don’t be shy and get one that matches your personality.

DYWM Fun Fact

Yoga instructors are called yogis. Yogis used to believe (well, some still do!) that our lives were marked by a certain number of breaths.

Shamanism, a Stone Age healing practice, has many of the same aspects as yoga, although it’s not related at all.

Some famous historical figures have practiced yoga. Emerson shared with Thoreau what he had learned about the Hindu law and yoga. Carl Jung was also knowledgeable about Kundalini yoga. George Harrison, one of the Beatles band members, loved yoga.

In 2016, a study was released that over 36 million in the United States alone practice yoga. A whopping $16 billion has been spent on yoga gear. As of 2016, there were over 52,500 yoga teachers registered and double that enrolled in training programs.

The Yoga Mat Buying Guide

  • Beware of toxins in your mat. Some yoga mats will give off a toxic smell, and while most are harmless, be sure to check with the company to see what they used in production. PVC yoga mats can give off potentially harmful toxins, so be careful when you purchase your yoga mat.
  • Grip is so important. It can be extremely dangerous to use a yoga mat that doesn’t have the right texture for maximum grip.
  • Padding is something to really think about in combination with the floor you are using for your routine. If you are on wood floors (suggested), then you’ll want a well-padded yoga mat.
  • Think twice before pinching pennies. That cheaper yoga mat will wear out quicker than you think and cause twice as much damage to the environment versus the mat that has marked durability from its consumers.