Yoga Mat Base: Rubber or TPE?
Yoga mats are a basic for yogis of any experience. While choosing this yoga staple may seem easy at first, you soon realize that there are tons of yoga mat options. Each option comes with advantages and setbacks that can impact your performance and satisfaction.
Among one of the important factors to consider is the material that the mat base is made out of. The base of your mat is responsible for keeping your mat from slipping and sliding across the floor during your sessions. Without any gripped bottom, the mat will slide right out from under you and put you at risk for some serious injury.
While there are countless substances they could be made of, any eco-conscious yogi looking to minimize their carbon footprint will narrow it down to rubber or TPE.
Rubber vs. TPE?
Rubber and TPE are the most sustainable options for your yoga mat base. While they have this In common, they are some major differences between the two.
Natural rubber comes directly from trees and is harvested through sustainable techniques that don’t kill the trees in the process. Natural rubber yoga mats have a great texture that remains firm and comfortable. They are good for any kind of yoga in any environment – whether it be at the park or in a steam room. Natural rubber is both elastic and waterproof. This makes the material very easy to clean and fights mold growth. If you are looking for a new mat, natural rubber mats are recyclable. Rubber does tend to be heavier and more expensive than other materials; however, it is considered superior quality.
What yogis benefit most from rubber-base mats?
Rubber mats are by far the best choice if you are looking for the most environmentally friendly option. They are also the best in terms of quality and grip for a yogi that exercises a lot. Rubber-base mats are built to last for years and last longer than other types of eco-friendly mats. If you are someone who frequents hot yoga sessions, a rubber-base mat is your only option if you don’t want to haul around a dirty towel with you every time you go to class.
Thermoplastic Elastomere, or TPE, is created from various recycled materials. Although it is not as environmentally friendly as rubber, it is still better than other alternatives. It’s incredibly flexible and has a pretty good grip. There are two types of TPE – “open-cell” and “closed-cell.” “Open-cell” TPE mats can become dry and brittle rather quickly. “Closed-cell” TPE prevents liquids from being soaked into the mat. Since they don’t absorb water and sweat, they stay hypoallergenic and are easy to clean. Unfortunately, these properties also mean that they’re not good for hot yoga on their own. In order to safely use these mats for hot yoga, you will also need to invest in a moisture-absorbing mat towel. For the most, they are good for other types of yoga. They are very lightweight and soft. They do tend to run cheaper than rubber mat bases; however, they tend not to be as durable in the long run.
What yogis benefit most from TPE-base mats?
While rubber-base mats are considered the better quality mat, there are some factors to consider in favor of TPE-base mats. For one thing, TPE is much lighter than rubber, making them much more portable. If you are someone who needs to carry your mat with you to class or balance your work-out bag on your bike, it may make sense to have a TPE-based mat (at least for traveling). Another reason one would decide against rubber-mats is due to allergies. While both materials are fairly hypoallergenic and prevent mold and mildew – there are rare allergies that may make rubber impossible. Those who suffer from a latex allergy may exhibit reactions from contact with the rubber mats. It’s important you test out your reactions beforehand. Talking to a manufacturer or your physician for more information can be helpful.
Is rubber worth the investment?
Mats with a rubber base are considered to be superior quality. In terms of comfortability and grip, rubber performs better. Most yogis agree that investing in a good rubber-base yoga mat is well worth the investment in the long run. They are durable and will likely save you money in the long term if you have to keep replacing a lesser quality mat.
When researching the best yoga mats for you, it’s important that you consider the relevant factors seriously. Investing in a good yoga mat is an investment in you.