What Are the Best Yoga Cork Mats?
Yoga mats made from cork are a surprising product for yogis valuing eco-friendly products without sacrificing functionality. These mats are produced with sustainable material and appeal to avid practitioners for their sweat absorbent quality.
Cork mats have been on the market for enough years that there is now a variety of options to choose from. Take a look at some of the available products below.
The Difference Between Normal Yoga Mats vs. Cork Yoga Mats
Tradicional Yoga Mats
- Vary widely in durability.
- Often made from PVC, a synthetic material.
- Not biodegradable or recyclable.
- Cleaning requires special products.
- Often have a distinctive harsh smell.
Cork Yoga Mats
- Sustainably sourced.
- Companies selling cork mats are more eco-friendly and ethical.
- Naturally antimicrobial. (Source)
- Easy to clean and maintain.
- Gets stickier as it gets wet.
- Available in a variety of densities.
- No harsh chemical smell.
- Often more expensive.
- Requires air-drying after use.
- Heavier and less transportable.
- Slippery when dry.
The Major Benefits Of Using a Cork Yoga Mat
Cork is sustainably harvested from the bark of Quercus suber, a tree native to the Mediterranean region. The requires stripping the tree of its bark, which regrows naturally (Source).
Cork mats do not require breaking-in and are ready to go right after purchase. There is usually a layer of rubber on the underside of cork mats to ensure that they stick to the floor and do not roll up at the corners.
Cork is naturally antimicrobial so will ward off germs and bacteria, preventing the growth of mold and mildew and lacks the chemical smell that accompanies other mats (Source). It becomes stickier as it gets wet so holds up well for Bikram hot yoga SUP (Stand Up Paddle Board) Yoga.
These mats have a solid surface good for stability, but the rubber bottom still provides comfort and cushion. Many companies that sell cork mats do so because they value ethical and sustainable business practices, so buying a cork mat often means supporting a company with a commitment to giving back to the environment and community.
The Best Cork Yoga Mats 2018
The products below are separated by values important in your search for a cork mat.
Yoloha Nomad Cork Yoga Mat
Best Ethical and Sustainable Mat
Dimension: 72" x 24" | Thickness: 5mm | Weight: 6 lbs.
This company sells a variety of cork products with a commitment to sustainable, local, and ethical values. Yogis who have a Yoloha mat report positive reviews about interacting with the company (Source).
The Nomad is handmade in America with sustainably sourced cork and backed with the rubber from recycled car tires. Yoloha makes five different materials and styles, each best suited for a specific type of yoga practice and ranging in thickness from 6mm to 1.5 mm (Source).
They sell a sampler pack containing swatches of each of their mats so potential customers can compare the feel, texture, and density before purchase. Yoloha has a strong commitment to sustainability and works to ensure that their mats are made with zero waste (Source).
This is a good option for anyone looking to buy a cork mat for the eco-friendly and sustainable merits. Yoloha partners with Empowered Minds in Charleston, SC to donate a free yoga mat to a child for every Aura mat purchased on their site (Source).
This particular mat is thinner than other ones available, so is probably not the best purchase for anyone with sensitive knees or joints. Yoloha mats come with a lifetime guarantee and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
ARC Fitness Project Cork Yoga Mat
Best Cost-effective Mat
Dimensions: 70" x 25" | Thickness: 4mm | Weight: 5.5 lbs.
The ARC mat comes with a complimentary yoga sling that doubles as a yoga strap. In addition, ARC donates 3% of their profits to Good Sports, Inc. to help support the next generation of athletes (Source).
This is a versatile, durable mat with medium density and thickness good for a variety of practices and uses.
It is a mid-range mat with less specialization than some of the pricier mats but with a better build than the cheaper cork mats available and therefore makes our pick for the most cost-effective mat.
ARC mats come with a 30-day money-back guarantee to be sure you are satisfied with your purchase.
Gurus Sprout Travel Cork Yoga Mat
Best Latex Allergy-friendly Mat
Instead of a rubber backing, the Gurus Sprout Travel mat is made with biodegradable TPE, which is latex-free for those with allergies. This mat is also designed to be travel-friendly and comes from another company focused on sustainability in their business practices (Source).
Gurus sources their rubber from family farms in India and plants a tree for every one of their products sold (Source). This lightweight mat would be a good option for anyone needing to carry their mat on long commutes or worried about putting stress on their back and shoulders.
Gurus website suggests simply wiping the mat down with water after use and letting it air dry. This mat is also designed for use on both sides for added versatility, perhaps for anyone wanting to experiment with textures during hot yoga sessions.
Platinum Sun Natural Cork and Rubber Yoga Mat
Best Mat for Design and Aesthetic
Dimensions: 73" x 25" | Thickness: 4.5mm | Weight: 6 lbs.
The Platinum Sun mat is a good choice for a cork mat with design appeal. There are three different designs available for the same mat, which is a medium density and thickness.
This is a solid quality mat similar to many of the other cork mats listed in this review; however, what we like about these mats is the option for a pretty, laser-etched design to look at while you practice.
Platinum Sun also includes a strap with the purchase of any of their yoga mats.
IcyFit Cork Yoga Mat
Best Budget-friendly Mat
Dimensions: 72" x 24" | Thickness: 4mm | Weight: 1.95 lbs.
This mat comes at a much lower cost than other cork mats on this list. Keep in mind that this means some customers found the mat to be less than durable (Source).
This is also probably not the best mat for anyone wanting to switch to cork for the eco-friendly and sustainable value: the IcyFit mat is backed with rubber made from TPE (Thermal Plastic Elastomer).
While not considered as harmful as PVC, TPE is still a less sustainable material than other alternatives and may dry out over time (Source).
However, for anyone wanting to try out the versatility and functionality of practicing on cork without investing in an expensive mat, this could be a good option.
WODFitters Cork Yoga Mat
Best Mat for Versatility and Durability
Dimensions: 72" x 24" | Thickness: 4mm
The thickness and flexibility of this mat make it a good option for anyone looking for versatility. The WODFitters website advertises this mat for both yoga and other floor workouts (Source).
A few users reported a slight rubber smell coming from the backing of this mat, which is made from natural rubber (PVC free) to help the mat stick to the floor. However, letting the mat air dry before use may help with any odor.
WODfitters is convinced enough of the durability of their mat that website also offers a 100% money back guarantee if customers are not completely satisfied within 60 days of purchase (Source).
How to Clean Your Cork Yoga Mat
Cork is an antimicrobial surface, meaning it repels the germs and bacteria that cause mold and mildew on yoga mats (Source). Most companies and users agree the best way clean a cork mat is to let it air dry flat after use. Using soap and water or water and vinegar to lightly wipe off your mat after use is also a good way to ensure it stays clean.
Saucha Natural Yoga Mat Cleaner (Here) is a plant-based spray containing essential oils designed to disinfect and prevent odor-causing bacteria. The lavender scent keeps your mat smelling nice without the toxic effect of harsh chemicals. This product does not leave an oily residue and will dry quickly after use. It also comes with a microbial cloth for a reusable alternative to paper towels.
Aurorae Aromatherapy Essential Oil Yoga Mat Wash Cleaner (Here) comes in four different scents each designed to offer a different aromatherapy benefit. This spray is a 100% organic and natural method of extending your mat's lifespan by killing the bacteria and fungus that cling to its surface.
Cork Yoga Mat Bags
A mat bag is a great way to increase your mat's portability and keep all of your yoga essentials in the same place. It is also safer for your back and neck to carry your mat in a bag with a supportive strap.
The Yoga Mat Bag Tote by SW Athletic (Here) is made from cork that softens with age. This is an environmentally friendly option with adjustable cotton straps, extra storage area for personal belongings, and grommets lining the base of the bag to allow ventilation and prevent your equipment from becoming smelly. The bag is 28" long, large enough to accommodate your mat and a few other accessories or change of clothes.
Yoloha also makes a cork yoga mat bag (Here) that is similar in style and dimension to the one above. This bag is made from sustainably sourced cork that is soft to the touch. It is 28" long and 7.5" in diameter with an additional zipper pocket on the side for smaller items. This bag also has ventilation at the bottom to keep your gear dry, and a J-shaped zipper at the top for easy access to your mat.