Gaiam Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat Review

A cushy yoga mat that grips damp hands and feet like magic

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3.9

Gaiam Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat

Gaiam Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat

Verywell Fit / Joy Merrifield

What We Like
  • Better traction as it gets wetter

  • Thick and cushiony

  • Lifetime warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Quite heavy

  • Strong chemical scent

  • Marks easily

  • PVC isn’t recyclable

Bottom Line

The Gaiam Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat may have some long-term durability issues, but it performed well under hot, damp conditions.

3.9

Gaiam Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat

Gaiam Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat

Verywell Fit / Joy Merrifield

It’s hard to concentrate on how “restful” downward dog is supposed to be—so they say—when you’re afraid you might face-plant. Whether you’re into hot yoga or just prone to sweaty palms and feet during mat exercise, the Gaiam Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat may be the solution to your Bambi-on-black-ice problems. Gaiam claims that your traction will actually improve the damper the Dry-Grip mat gets. That seems hard to imagine, considering the existence of physics, but I was eager to test the “Longer and Wider” version of this top-rated yoga mat to its limits.

Gaiam Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat
Verywell Fit / Joy Merrifield 

Grip: It must be magic

At first sight, I wasn’t sure if I could take the claims of the Dry-Grip mat’s extra tackiness seriously. The finish is luminous and smooth—much smoother than the nubby texture on mats you usually find in a standard yoga studio or gym. When dry, it feels like a normal mat. Once the Dry-Grip is damp, though, your hands and feet just stick. Gaiam says this is due to a special topcoat that wicks away moisture and gives you a better grip when wet, but it works so well, I’m pretty sure it’s sorcery.

When dry, it feels like a normal mat. Once the Dry-Grip is damp, though, your hands and feet just stick.

Design: A bit limited

At the time of this review, I could only find the longer and wider version of the Dry-Grip mat in black, with a large, glossy peony surface print. The option to go sans peony would be nice since flowers aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the design isn’t really a deal-breaker. I just like options.

The mat is made of PVC (and it’s 6P-free, meaning it contains none of the following phthalates: DEHP, DBP, BBP, DINP, DIDP, and DNOP), which is great news for people who have a latex allergy. Unfortunately, that’s not so great for the planet, since PVC isn’t a sustainable material and is difficult and costly to recycle. If you prioritize eco-friendliness, there are responsibly and sustainably made rubber, cotton, and jute mats available that may be more your speed.

Gaiam Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat
Verywell Fit / Joy Merrifield

Portability: Big and tall and a little heavy 

A standard yoga mat is usually around 68 inches long by 24 inches wide. Adding a full 10 inches to that length and 2 inches to the width, the Longer and Wider Gaiam mat I reviewed was a perfect amount of real estate for a broad, 6-foot-tall yogi. All of that space comes with a price, though. Unless you’re planning on storing a mat at your gym or studio, there’s a fine line it has to walk between portability and comfort.  

At 5 millimeters, the cushy depth of the Dry-Grip Mat is great for my sensitive knees, but at these larger-than-average dimensions, that density adds up to a hefty 5 pounds. That’s about 50 percent lighter than the Manduka Pro mat, which I also tested, but it still feels like a haul if you’re carrying it around every day. If you prioritize low weight to extra real estate, Gaiam also sells the Dry-Grip mat in a 68-inch length.  

Gaiam Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat
Verywell Fit / Joy Merrifield

Durability: The topcoat may have issues

Unfortunately, I found that the smooth surface shows scratches easily, and the logo along the edge peeled off after my second use. These things don’t affect the performance of the mat, but they’re not a great look for a higher-end mat either. 

I had a regular practice on this mat for about a month, using it two times a week during very sweaty yoga sessions, and I thought it performed beautifully. While I feel I could get a grasp of the performance quality in that amount of time, one expects a good yoga mat, particularly one that you dropped a little bit of money on, to last considerably longer.

The smooth surface shows scratches easily, and the logo along the edge peeled off after my second use.

The topcoat that makes this mat so sticky and great for sweaty palms may just be its downfall, as customer complaints have mostly centered on bubbling and wearing away of the surface. Bonding and special finishes are tricky business when heat and humidity are involved. I’m not too worried, though. Gaiam extends a (United States-only) lifetime guarantee for its mats that covers defects in manufacturing and workmanship. If you do experience any problems, Gaiam will replace it. Obviously, it would be better if the mat remained flawless for life, but rest assured that if you do experience an issue, the company’s customer service is top-notch and very responsive.

Gaiam Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat
Verywell Fit / Joy Merrifield

Ease of Cleaning: Pretty straightforward


Cleaning this yoga mat
is fairly straightforward: You can spot clean with a yoga mat wash, a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water, or a mild dish detergent with cold water.

Sensitive noses take note—when I first unwrapped the mat, it had that famously strong “yoga mat smell” to it. Gaiam recommends unrolling it and airing it out for a few days prior to use, which did take the edge off, but it’s still faintly detectable, even after a month of use. 

The magical non-slip properties, lifetime warranty, and excellent Gaiam customer service make it worth the price.

Price: Worth it

At around $75, Gaiam’s mat is a moderate investment in your yoga practice, but I think it’s justified. The magical non-slip properties, lifetime warranty, and excellent Gaiam customer service make it worth the price.  

Competition: Different approaches to the same problem 

Manduka GRP Yoga Mat: At around $100, Manduka’s GRP (“Grip. Ride. Performance.”) mat delivers slip resistance, but this time with responsibility. Like Gaiam’s Dry-Grip mat, the GRP’s surface gets stickier the damper it gets. Additionally, the charcoal-infused rubber core absorbs sweat and eliminates odors. But the big bonus is the fact that the GRP’s core and bottom layers are made from sustainably harvested rubber; plus, the production practices have eliminated toxic emissions. That should be important to the sweaty and the bone-dry alike.

Aurorae Synergy Hot Yoga Mat: If you’re sensitive to slick textures or prefer the grip of fabric to rubber, the Synergy Hot Yoga Mat from Aurorae stops the slide by bonding a non-slip microfiber towel permanently to a plush, 5-millimeter mat. I know what you’re thinking, and don’t worry—it’s all machine-washable.

Yogitoes Yoga Towel: For the ultimate solution in portability, convenience, and, let’s face it, hygiene, nothing can really beat a yoga towel. The Yogitoes Yoga Towel from Manduka is basically yoga canon, with silicone nubs on the underside to grip your yoga mat—and a soft, absorbent, low-pile towel surface to absorb sweat and keep you from slipping around. Folding down to purse-friendly dimensions and weighing in at just 1.25 pounds, it’s way more transportable than a traditional yoga mat, but the best part is you can just throw it into the wash as often (or rarely) as you like.

Final Verdict

Love it—for now.

If you’re as challenged by sweaty extremities as I am, then the Gaiam Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat is going to be your new best friend. It’s possible that there will be durability issues down the road, but Gaiam’s lifetime guarantee against manufacturing defects safeguards your investment.

Specs

  • Product Name Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat
  • Product Brand Gaiam
  • MPN 05-61626
  • Price $74.98
  • Weight 5 lbs.
  • Color Black, blue, purple
  • Thickness 5 mm.
  • Warranty Lifetime guarantee against manufacturing and workmanship defects
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