Lululemon's The Mat Review

The Mat product photo
Photo Courtesy of Lululemon

Lululemon entered the crowded yoga mat marketplace in 2011 with The Mat (or Le Tapis, if you parlez français). When I received one for review, I wasn’t expecting anything revelatory. I was pretty sure it was going to be a basic rubber mat with some Lulu logos splashed around to jazz things up. Well, I was right about the logos but I shouldn't have underestimated the design whizzes at Lululemon. The Mat turned out to be very different from any other mats available at that time and has proved to be a popular product for the yoga-wear giant.

What Sets The Mat Apart

The Mat is reversible and the two sides are very different. One side is natural rubber and the other is a smooth polyurethane, which provides a unique practice surface. The polyurethane has a satiny finish that provides great traction, yet is softer and more pliable than other premium yoga mats. It also absorbs moisture (otherwise known as the sweat dripping off your brow), wicking it away from the surface (because it wouldn’t be Lululemon if it didn’t wick). It's easy to clean and an "anti-microbial additive" keeps it from getting funky.

Unlike other mats, The Mat doesn’t get slippery when wet or require the use of a supplemental mat towel except in the presence of very heavy perspiration. All this adds up to a very pleasing mat experience, especially for the sweaty palmed amongst us. Some people have complained that the mat has a strong odor, but I have found it very tolerable compared to other rubber mats, many of which smell like a tire shop.

The odor will fade somewhat over time but could be a consideration for those with sensitive noses. Pro tip: Don't leave it in your hot car. Both the mat and the atmospheric conditions in your car will suffer.

The Competition

Other mats with a similar construction have since become available, most notably the Liforme Mat.

Since making yoga mats is the primary focus at Liforme, it's not surprising that their attention to detail, commitment to sustainability, and consistency results in a superior product and a higher price point, although not everyone wants alignment markings on their mat. Consistency is a big concern, as many people who have reviewed The Mat on Lululemon's website have complained that its quality has declined in recent generations.

 Lululemon now offers several variations on their original mat concept, including a lighter, thinner version; a much lighter, much thinner version for travel; and a longer, wider version for longer, wider people. To find the best mat for your practice, see how The Mat stacks up to 4 other popular yoga mats in our ultimate mat comparison chart.

Disclosure: Product samples were provided by the manufacturer for review purposes.