Manduka Mat – An In-Depth Review
Manduka Mats are the most expensive, highest quality mats available on the market today. In addition to being the most expensive, they are also the heaviest and bulkiest mats ever made. Is the manduka product worth its price? Is it a good idea to haul this chunky piece of natural rubber that weighs like a small tire to class?
We performed a detailed analysis of the BlackMat Pro (the top of the line Manduka product) to assist people who are hesitant to part with almost $90 for a yoga mat.
Setting for our review:
During our review we tested the Manduka Mat during regular beginners practice, during an advanced ashtanga secondary series and in a hot and steamy Bikram yoga class. Our reviewers are mostly yoga practitioners with years of experience. In order to stay as objective as possible we surveyed a few beginners (though owners of manduka mats were hard to find among regular beginners).
The review and testing were conducted over a relatively long period of time. We were fortunate enough to find an owner who invested into Manduka Mats for her studio – not only did she let us practice on several different Manduka products, we were also able to ask other users about their experience with the Manduka Mat.
The short version reads – yes, this mat is worth every penny, but it’s not for everyone.
The longer version is as follows-
The Manduka Mat is made from high-quality natural rubber blend, that is extremely durable and sticky enough for 99% of surfaces. Most mats are double-sided – this means they can’t be too sticky, otherwise they would stick to your skin and make your practice really uncomfortable. The Manduka Mats have two distinct surfaces – one for practice and one for the floor. The floor part is extremely sticky and attaches to the floor firmly, the other side’s grip is more relaxed making your practice more enjoyable. We weren’t able to get this mat to bunch up under any circumstances, making it the most stable mat we’ve ever tried.
This mat is heavy, the 71″ version weighs almost 7 pounds. Weight is an important factor in durability – the material is very dense and will not wear out, and in stability – the mat stays on the floor no matter what you do. While the mat is extremely stable, the extra weight can be a factor when you carry it to the class. We think this mat is perfect for keeping at home or at a studio, but not for hauling around. Manduka people listened to this complain and created lighter travel versions, which are less expensive and definitely less durable.
The Manduka mat is 1/4″ thick, which is perfect for almost anybody. This thickness is considered to be above average, adding to the weight. Some people, however, may prefer a thicker mat for extra cushioning. Those who are just getting started and those used to pilates may need some time to adjust to this thickness. To us, a 1/4″ thick mat is perfectly fine.
Most regular mats on the market today suffer from one fatal flaw – once they get wet they loose surface traction. This is especially noticeable in hot yoga classes where people sweat excessively. There is a number of solutions – wiping your mat, using a special yoga towel that absorbs moisture, or finding a mat that has a natural fabric surface. The manduka mat almost does not suffer from this problem, the material is porous enough to absorb most of the moisture. During a hot yoga class we found that the sponge-like surface of the mat has an absorption limit, and once it’s reached moisture will start accumulating on the mat’s surface, creating an uncomfortable situation for heavy sweaters. To this day we don’t know of any mats that are completely sweat-proof. The Manduka products do a pretty good job, but they are also not 100% absorbent. We also found a small problem with the mat’ material – it absorbs moisture, and if not cleaned regularly, it will eventually start harboring bacteria in it’s pores. This mat needs maintenance, at least once a month.
Appearance, other issues.
As its name implies the BlackMat Pro is black like a tire. The look is classic, but may not attract many customers. On the other hand, we don’t know any other mats in this category that have the same appearance, so your mat is guaranteed to stand out.
The Company have recently released a limited edition Cherry version of their popular Manduka Mat at the same price. We would stick to a classic black.
The mat is made of natural rubber, which has a natural smell that most people find quite unpleasant. After washing the mat as the manual suggested we still found to be rather smelly. This is a problem with all rubber mats tested by YogaMatReviews, and it is something a customer has to live with for the first few weeks of practice. The smell eventually goes away and does not come back.
The Manduka Mat is a indeed a Rolls-Royce of yoga mats – it’s heavy, long, thick and extremely durable. If you are serious about your practice, you will need something like this mat, it is a worthy investment that will last years. The cushioning, slip resistance and floor grip are all well above average if not perfect. The only downsides of this mat are its weight and size. It’s perfect for home practice or to keep in a studio locker but not for carrying around, especially in public transportation.
Konstantin Tsiryulnikov, the founder of Yoga Mat Reviews is an experienced Yoga practitioner and a yoga accessories expert. You can read customer reviews and find more information on the Manduka Mat at his site.
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