Top 11 Best Cork Yoga Mats - Ultimate 2022 Buyer's Guide
Looking for a more natural solution for your yoga mat?
Some mats can be made with harmful chemicals so choosing something a bit more organic is always a wise choice.
Let’s help you find the best cork yoga mat for your needs. Be it hot yoga, travel, or just every day usage, I’ll guide you through 11 options and answer a few important questions along the way.
Let’s dive in with the top one now…
If you have never used a cork mat then you’re missing out.
These mats perform well in many different conditions. They provide a unique padding and feel that’s unlike any other style of mat. Furthermore, they even repel odor!
Each cork mat on this list will have minor differences. Some may feel the exact same, but are more environmentally friendly than other mats.
I’ve placed this Gurus mat at the top of the list because it’s a good blend of everything. That being - feel, thickness, price, anti-slip, and overall performance.
The TPE bottom layer is the only tiny downside. It’s still decently ecologically friendly, but not quite as much as a rubber bottom. The trade-off is that you’ll save about $40 with this mat over other ones with a rubber bottom layer, but we’ll get there.
- Gurus Natural Cork Mat
- Body By Yoga Cork Thick Mat
- Yoloha Cork Yoga Mat
- Yoga Design Lab Cork
- Masdery Cork Mat
- 4 Piece Cork Set
- Earth Goods Eco Friendly Mat
- Gaiam Cork Yoga Mat
- Hautest Health Cork Mat Sustainable
- LUSH VALLEY Cork Mat
- Repose Cork Travel Yoga Mat
It’s personally my number one choice on this list, but I have to keep in mind a bit of objectivity here. It’s not for everyone primarily because it’s so big.
I like to have room to move around and this mat definitely provides that. It’s 80”x26” which means you’ll have to reposition a lot less as you move from pose to pose.
The cushion is also fantastic. It's 6.5mm thick which is ideal for those who practice on tile or hardwood floors. If you have joint pain then this would also be a good choice. Furthermore, the thickness isn’t so much that it affects your balance.
So what’s the downside?
It’s big and heavy. If you take classes at a studio where space is limited you’ll get a few odd looks when you flop down your oversized 80” long yoga mat. It’s just cumbersome overall.
If you are taller than 6 foot, love hot yoga, and there’s plenty of space in your local studio then go for it… This mat will be ideal. If not, you might want to pick up something else.
Here’s a standard size mat that delivers…
If you want to stay away from something big and heavy then the Yoloha is a good middle-ground.
This mat is surprisingly lightweight - only 2.5lbs. This is due to the foam bottom layer. Fortunately, this company does not use any harmful PVC chemicals to create the bottom layer.
That’s always the trade-off with finding the best cork yoga mat. Having a rubber bottom is the best option in terms of stability and ecologically speaking, but they tend to be a bit heavy. Nonetheless, this mat still has a good bottom layer that grips well and provides the user with plenty of cushion.
What Is A Cork Mat Used For?
Cork yoga mats are really good for warm and hot classes. These mats are typically a bit slippery until they start to get wet. Dry hands on a dry mat will have a tendency to slide.
As soon as either your hands or the mat gets wet then things really start to come together. This is why you may want to get a spray bottle with your cork mat. A small spritz and you’ll have much better traction.
The bottom is made from rubber which gives it a study foundation. It won’t slide on the floor or bunch up around your feet while shifting from pose to pose.
Because of the dense rubber layer, this mat can get away with being a bit thinner. It’s only 3.5mm thick which means you’ll have a much easier time carrying it.
The downside is that it doesn’t provide a whole lot of cushion. If you like a lot of padding on your mat then you’ll be left wanting. That being said, this mat would be ideal for someone who’s of a smaller height and build.
Some mats have a smell to them and others don’t…
The cork part of your mat won’t typically ever be an issue. The top part is easy to clean after each use. The rubber layer is what’s sometimes the problem.
The biggest complaint people have about rubber mats is the smell. They perform great, but the odor is enough to make people return the mat altogether. Some mats with rubber in them will smell pretty bad for a few weeks and others may not have much of a scent at all.
There are many factors that go into this, but the biggest one is often the manufacturing process. Harvesting rubber from rubber trees and then forming that into a yoga mat is a process. Each company will do things a bit differently.
Having said all of that the Masdery is a fantastic yoga mat. Sadly, it just tends to smell for longer than it should. You’ll need to air it out for a day or two in the sun before using it.
Are Cork Yoga Mats Good?
All around, yes they are really good! If you have issues with slipping because of wet hands or feet then you’ll love cork yoga mats. The more damp things are the better you’ll grip. If your hands are constantly dry, then this mat may not be for you.
I wouldn’t urge people who don’t sweat that much to use these mats. If you enjoy doing a few mellow stretches in your air conditioned living room then you may find these mats to be too much.
Why not get a few awesome items at the same time?
For those who know they love cork this is a really good combo set. If you don’t already own a yoga block then you’ll want to pick one up soon. If you’re already buying a mat then why not just kill two birds with one stone?
This mat from Yaego has a beautiful design as well. Naturally the print that’s on a yoga mat isn’t going to help your physical performance, but there is the added benefit of a pleasant mental distraction in a 100 degree hot room.
About the block…
Having a block made from cork is the only option if you want to use it for help with balance. Foam blocks can bend and wobble when you put your weight into them. Cork, on the other hand, is solid and helps keep you steady and balanced.
This Earth Goods Mat may be one of the best on this list. The cork top is made with naturally harvested cork. It’s done sustainably every 9 years so as not to disrupt the tree’s lifecycle.
The rubber bottom is very grippy and won’t shift around when you’re moving. Even in a hot vinyasa class. It has a bit of that natural rubber smell to it, but that’s to be expected.
So what’s the catch?
This mat hasn’t been around long enough to know if it stands the test of time or not. It doesn't have very many varying reviews to prove it's a good mat long term. The few reviews it does have though, are quite good.
Are Cork Yoga Mats Slippery?
It all depends on how much you do or do not sweat.
You're going to slip on a cork mat unless you add a little bit of moisture. Using a spray bottle is often helpful in this regard. Many people who do hot yoga find that cork mats are wonderful because they only get grippier the more sweat you make.
Dry hands and dry mat are not a good combination with cork mats. You’ll have issues with slippage unless you dampen things a bit.
Here’s a good mat if you plan to leave it alone…
I don’t mean that you should never use this mat. This is actually a really good yoga mat. It’s 5mm thick, it has a good TPE bottom layer and the top cork layer is also fantastic. You will genuinely enjoy practicing on this mat.
The issue is that it doesn’t unroll very well. Or perhaps the problem is that it rolls too well. This can cause you to have to fight with the ends of your mat while praticing. That can really annoying pretty quickly.
However, if you want the best cork yoga mat that’s reliable and super affordable for less than $40 then this is a good pick. Just set it up once and leave it alone.
How Do You Clean A Cork Mat?
Unlike other other yoga mats, cork yoga mats hold up well when using a simple essential oil mixture. I’d recommend adding in a few drops of tea tree oil and lavender into your spray bottle.
Spray down the entire mat as best as you can. Then leave the mat outside in the sun to dry. The combination of tea tree and sunshine should take care of most of the problems. The lavender is there just to make it smell nice.
Here's a pretty good buy for those who want cork, but don't want to pay that much.
This mat has a TPE bottom so it will have a hard time staying flat. But beyond that it's actually a really good mat. The 4.5mm thickness is prefect for your average person. As with all cork mats, it cleans up easy and provides good traction when wet.
This mat is typically less than $40 which is a good price for cork!
This is a standard cork top layer mat with a rubber bottom. The rubber bottom will have a bit of a rubber smell to it, but not too bad.
The cork is naturally harvested in Spain and the rubber comes from Malasian rubber trees. This is an eco-friendly mat that performs well.
The only downside is the price. At $110 you should probably get a block and strap with this set up. Again, the mat is really good… It’s just a hard pill to swallow when you could get another mat from this list and pay two-thirds less.
Are Cork Mats Good For Hot Yoga?
Having a cork mat for your next hot yoga session is a good idea for a few reasons. Let’s look at each just briefly…
The more you sweat in yoga the more you’ll love these mats. When cork is damp it gains a lot more traction than when it’s dry. This means you’ll only have better and better grip as the class progresses.
Cooler Top Layer
Cork doesn’t absorb heat as much as rubber or other TPE mat materials. While your yoga mat won’t stay “cold” in a hot yoga class, it will be a bit cooler than other mats. This is especially nice if you set up your may under the heat lamps.
No Towel Needed
This is not a feature of the mat, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. I find using a yoga towel to be a big hassle when I’m in the hot room. They never stay in place, they bunch up at your feet, and it detracts from the overall process. With a cork mat you can ditch the towel and just focus on the present moment.
Best Cork Travel Mat
At only 2mm thick, this travel mat is quite impressive.
If you are planning a trip and need an more luggage-friendly version of your larger cork mat then take a look at the Repose mat
When I’m out of town and visiting a new studio, I like to use this mat on top of the public mats. Most public yoga mats are made from PVC and act like a sponge. That’s pretty gross if you think about it. This is why having a smaller 2mm mat like this to throw on top can be so valuable.
Obviously, this is a travel mat. The only reason you wouldn’t like it is if you were somehow expecting this mat to provide more cushion. Most people who use a travel mat will either have another mat underneath or they are practicing on carpet.
When selecting the best cork yoga mat it’s important to know the difference between a rubber bottom and a TPE bottom. If you hate the smell of rubber then maybe go with a mat like the Gurus Natural brand.
For those who want the feel of cork and travel a lot you may even consider getting the 2mm thin Repose. It travels well and will be good to use in your hotel room.
Do you have a cork mat you absolutely love? Let me know below in the comments!