If you have sensitive knees and joints, then choosing a proper yoga mat can be the difference between a happy practice and one that leaves you worse than when you started. And since most yoga classes are on hardwood floors and require you to put excess pressure on your knees, it's worth doing a little digging to find a mat you’ll be happy with. After all, if you're in pain, you probably won’t practice - and that's the last thing we want.
We went ahead and did some digging for you and came up with our top 5 yoga mats for bad knees so you can practice happy.
Best Yoga Mats for Bad Knees:
1. Jade Fusion
2. My Eco Yoga Extra Large Mat
3. Manduka Pro
4. Sivan Health 1/2 Inch Mat
5. Manduka eKo
What Makes a Good Yoga Mat For Bad Knees
While you may think the thickest mat is going to provide the best support, this isn’t always the case. Unfortunately, many of the popular materials used to make these mats are cheap and harmful to both your body and the environment. When choosing a mat, think about the thickness AND density of the material.
A thicker mat made from soft material is going to indent more when you concentrate pressure on your knees. And when this happens, you’ll feel the floor and probably the accompanying pain.
Consider a mat made from dense material such as natural rubber, TPE, or PVC (eco-certified). Finding one that’s a minimum of 5-6 mm thick and made from these materials will minimize the feeling of the floor. Further, the material is dense so it won’t indent as far with pressure and interfere with your balance.
Another addition, if you have extremely sensitive joints is to get a yoga knee pad to use on top of your mat. This ensures you have the maximum cushioning under your knees and shouldn’t feel any discomfort even on the hardest floors.
The Best Yoga Mats For Bad Knees
1. Jade Fusion
The Jade Fusion is one of our favorite mats for a number of reasons. But when it comes to a quality mat that's thick, dense and slip resistant, the Fusion is top of the line.
Its made from an open celled, natural rubber with a gentle texture on the top that's semi-sticky without leaving residue on your hands. This is great because you'll have plenty of grip so slipping shouldn't be an issue.
It's 8 mm thick or about 1/3 of an inch and since its made from rubber, its dense enough to provide great cushioning for those with knee problems.
That being said, no mat is without its faults. Natural rubber is both a gift and a curse depending on how you look at it. For one, its usually heavier. And for two, it smells like natural rubber. The rubber smell isn't overwhelming but when your nose hits the mat, you will smell it. The good news is that it should diminish in time but if you can't stand the smell of rubber, or have a latex allergy, you may want to keep reading.
- 74" long so it can accommodate taller yogis
- Made from natural rubber which is both dense and recyclable
- Non-toxic and contains no harmful chemicals
- Extra thick to provide plenty of padding for sensitive joints
- A tree is planted for every mat sold
- Has a rubber smell
- Its a heavier mat
2. My Eco Yoga Extra Large Mat
The My Eco Yoga mat is a good choice if you want some extra room on the sides. Its 30" wide making it one of the widest on the market - which is great if you have the space for it. It's also 74" long making it long enough to accommodate taller individuals. If you're over 6' 2" though, you may feel a little cramped in plank pose.
What makes this a great mat for knee pain is that its 8 mm thick and made from TPE material which is a medium/high density and provides adequate cushioning for most people. Its also a very lightweight material with the mat weighting only 2.8 lbs.
The main dislikes about this mat are that, since it is so lightweight, it has a somewhat cheap feel and the ends have a tendency of curling. However, the mat is non-slip and does provide good cushioning for most people making it a great option for bad knees and sensitive joints.
- Extra wide (30 inches) giving you plenty of space around you
- Extra long (74 inches) meaning it works well for taller people
- Lightweight material which makes it easy to transport
- Non-slip surface so you'll hold your grip in most environments
- Includes a free carrying strap
- Currently offered in both black and purple
- Not as dense as other mats in this range
- Material can feel cheap
- Ends tend to curl
3. Manduka Pro
The Manduka PRO has been a favorite among experienced yogis for many years. Part of that is because it comes with a lifetime warranty - making it friendly on the wallet. And the other part is that its made from a high density PVC material which is 6 mm thick and provides great cushioning for your joints.
Additionally, the Manduka PRO comes in both 71" and 85" lengths (both 26" wide) making it a great option for taller practitioners. The mat is certified toxin-free and sports a closed cell surface which is easy to wipe clean after class. The fabric like texture on the surface also provides excellent grip that improves as you break your mat in and feels nice against your skin.
The primary dislikes with this mat are that its one of the heaviest mats on the market. The 71" weighs 7.5 lbs and the 85" weighs 9.5 lbs. This may not be a big deal if you have a yoga bag or strap but its something to be aware of before buying.
Other than the weight, this is a great option for sore joints and one you'll be happy to own for many, many years to come.
- Lifetime warranty so you never have to buy another mat
- Extra long to work for even the tallest person
- 26" wide so you won't find yourself going over the sides onto dirty floors
- Offered in many great colors (at the time of writing)
- Toxin and latex free so its a good option for those with allergies
- Closed-cell surface is super easy to clean
- One of heaviest mats
- At the time of this writing, its a moderately expensive mat
4. Sivan Health 1/2 Inch Yoga Mat
The Sivan Health mat is (at the time of this writing) one of the most affordable mats on the list. The good thing about it is that its super thick making it versatile enough to be used in both Pilates and Yoga. The material is similar to memory foam so you won't feel the ground excessively but it does have a lot of give to it.
Its currently offered in a 71 x 24 inch size making it slightly longer than standard yoga mats but the same width. So, if you've used standard sized yoga mats and been comfortable, this will provide you about the same space.
The primary dislike about this mat is, in fact, the thickness. Because its a softer material, it may interfere with your balance quite a bit until you build your stabilizer muscles. The material also has a tendency to stretch a little when you put your weight in opposing directions (such as downward dog).
But if you're just doing a light, non-heated yoga and want something versatile, this mat is a good option.
- Extra thick and soft making it a versatile mat that can be used in yoga, Pilates and as an exercise mat
- Ribbed surface to prevent slipping
- Memory foam feel makes it very comfortable for sensitive knees
- Closed-cell surface so its easy to wipe clean
- At the time of writing, a very affordable mat
- The squishiness of the mat can interfere with balance
- Has some stretch when you put weight in opposing directions
5. Manduka eKo Yoga Mat
The Manduka eKo is the little brother of the Manduka PRO. Its slightly thinner at about 5 mm thick but still dense and provides good cushioning. What I like about this mat is that its a closed-cell rubber (most are open celled) making it easier to clean. You can literally wipe it clean after class. Additionally, its maintained the grip you would expect from an open celled rubber which means you shouldn't slip in mild to moderate sweat conditions.
The primary dislike about this mat is that it is on the heavy side (7 lbs) but you're buying quality rubber so you can expect it to weigh a little more. Still, its less than the Manduka PRO.
Its currently offered in a 71 x 26 inch size so its long and wide enough to work for you if you're around 6' and under. Further, its completely free from harmful dyes, heavy metals, toxic foaming agents and everything else that could harm your body. The natural rubber scraps that come from the manufacturing process are also collected and made into other products so its a zero waste mat. Overall, if you've been considering the Manduka PRO but don't want the weight, the eKo is a great alternative.
- Closed cell rubber surface is super easy to clean
- High grip surface helps to prevent slipping
- 71 x 26 inches so it can accommodate individuals up to about 6 feet tall
- Currently offered in multiple fun colors
- Provides great cushioning for sore knees and hips
- Natural rubber has a rubbery smell
- Does not include the lifetime warranty of the PRO version
While all the mats on this list are good options for sore knees, the best mats for sore knees (or at least our favorites) are the Manduka PRO and Jade Fusion.
They both offer excellent support for sore joints, they're body safe and sustainably made, they have long lives and they're overall quality mats you shouldn't have problems with.
However, they both have their strengths and weaknesses.
If you're a taller person who doesn't mind a heavier mat then you'll want to use the Manduka PRO. It comes in several large sizes and it comes with a lifetime warranty.
If you desire the most cushioning and a dense material, you'll want to use the Jade Fusion. It's 8 mm thick and made from a natural rubber which is sticky and dense to keep you in place and well supported.