Are you slipping and sliding on that non-skid mat they sold you at Lululemon? It's a common occurrence with the massive surge in the popularity of hot yoga. These days there are as many yoga products as there are yogis and with each of us having different needs (and some of us have slippier hands than others) how do you know the best option for you?
While I can’t say this one towel is the ultimate best option for every.single.person. I can say that I’ve done a heavy amount of research and testing over the last years and feel qualified to review and give a recommendation on the best yoga towel for hot yoga.
What is a Hot Yoga Towel?
A yoga towel is a specially designed towel that goes on top of your yoga mat to keep it dry and prevent you from sliding around during hot or "Bikram" yoga. The towel also ads another level of hygiene to your practice because it can be washed after your session.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “can’t I just use a regular towel?” The answer is yes. There’s a *but* coming. BUT a regular towel isn’t designed to fit your mat, doesn’t have non-slip technology, usually bunches up, and doesn’t look cool. That being said, yes. Yes you can use a normal towel...
Something to ponder: Over the past few years there have been innovative new lines of yoga mats which eliminate the need for a towel. It’s a difficult task to create a mat that can actually accomplish this but we’ve seen a few. The quick answer: Our favorite one is the Lifeform Yoga mat. It’s a bit of an indulgence (one of the more expensive) but for serious yogis, it's the one. (Read full review here)
Best Yoga Towels For Hot Yoga - Reviewed
Manduka YogiToes Skidless Towel
Benefits of a Non-slip Yoga Towel
1. Non-slip: The first and most important use of a yoga towel is to prevent slipping during asanas right? Yoga towels are specifically designed for this purpose and as such, they’re really good at absorbing sweat without becoming slippery themselves.
2. More hygienic: After just a few hot yoga sessions your mat can become pretty dirty. Ideally you would clean it every time but we’re busy so that’s not always possible.
A towel prevents much of that stuff from getting through to your mat which keeps it cleaner - especially important if you have an open cell mat. At the end of your session you can easily throw your towel in the washer and go about your day.
3. Machine washable: speaking of throwing it in the wash, most towels are machine washable (but most need to hang dry) so they’re super easy to clean. Just make sure that you never use fabric softener or detergent with fabric softener because it makes your towel slick.
4. Can be used to wipe sweat off your body: The yoga towel is a towel after all. During your hot yoga sessions you can also use it to quickly wipe away sweat.
5. Many amazing styles: The towel styles these days are incredible. I especially love the Manduka Yogitoes. They recently released a line of street art inspired towels that are just mind blowingly cool.
6. Doesn’t bunch up: A normal towel will bunch up and get in the way. It’s very frustrating to reset your yourself every five minutes so a perk of most yoga towels is that they have special features to prevent them from moving and bunching during session.
7. Fits your mat: Yoga towels come in all the sizes that yoga mats come in. It’s ideal because having a towel that goes too far beyond the edge of your mat could cause you to slip if your hand or foot goes over.
Choosing The Best Yoga Towel For Hot Yoga
There's just a few things to consider when evaluating the towel you plan on purchasing so lets cover those real quick.
Since the purpose of a quality hot yoga towel is to prevent you from slipping, it's the first thing to evaluate when making your decision. Some prevent your hands from slipping but move around on your mat. They can work if your mat is grippy but if you had a grippy mat you probably wouldn’t need a towel right?
The best non-slip yoga towels we’ve found have the tiny silicone or rubber nodules on the bottom. They prevent your hands from slipping and do a great job of sticking to your mat.
The most popular material for yoga towels is a microfiber or microfiber blend. They feel soft against your skin and maintain a relatively high level of durability. The primary considerations regarding material (beyond comfort) are the dyes / chemicals used. If you have sensitive skin you’ll want to opt for one that uses eco-friendly dye.
If you’re spending good money on a towel it should last right? Hot yoga is an active sport. You’re walking, stopping, turning, pulling and putting lots of pressure on your mat and towel. Over time this can warp, tear or wear down your towel. If you’re doing yoga more than a few times a week, opt for a higher quality / thicker material.
Along the same lines as the “non-slip” section above, your towel must be absorbent to be non slip. It should have the ability to absorb more than it's weight in water without losing any of it's grip.
Most yoga towels these days can meet this purpose but still something to keep in mind. The thinner material towels are better for light to moderate sweat while a thicker towel such as the Manduka Yogitoes or even the Heathyoga towel do a better job for heavier sweating (both pictured above).
If you already have a yoga mat then get out your tape measure and check the dimensions. You’ll want to pick a towel that's going to sit directly on top of your mat or, in the case of towels with pockets on the back, be just big enough to go around your mat.
I doubt you’d show up with anything less than something that expresses your personal panache. But if you love a towel and don’t like the style, shop around a little. There’s so many options that you should have no problem finding something you'd rather hang on your wall than lay on the floor.
Price is always a consideration. While you don’t want the cheap WalMart option, you also don’t want to blow your whole food budget. I get it. While we keep price in mind, it's not the primary driver for choosing the products we review.
My personal philosophy is that you get what you pay for. Nearly every time I’ve bought something based on a low price, I’ve had to replace it or just plain didn't like it. As such, we always strive to find the best mix of quality for the money and get you the best bang for your buck. We want you to have something you love, that’s going to last, and that’s going to be affordable for most people.
Hybrid - Non-slip Yoga Mat & Yoga Towel Combinations
Today there are what we call “hybrid” yoga mats. What this means is that it's a yoga mat with a non-slip surface so you don’t need a towel. These mats are really the ideal solution for anyone who’s serious about hot yoga and practicing on a regular basis.
While there are a number of mats on the market that do a relatively good job of preventing slipping, few perform as well as the Lifeform Yoga Mat. It lies perfectly flat (doesn’t curl at the edges), it’s sticky without being too sticky and leaving stuff on your hands, it’s wider and longer than standard mats, has trendy alignment marks that help you stay centered, and it’s made from eco-friendly materials.
It’s built to last and ready to use right out of the box. If you’re just getting started, this may be more money than you want to spend (we reviewed less expensive yoga mats here). But if you’re a serious yogi, this mat’s worth every penny.
Why Do You Need a Yoga Towel?
In short, you need a yoga towel to keep you from slipping and absorb sweat while you're doing hot yoga. While a yoga towel can be useful in non-heated forms of yoga, they're really not necessary unless you're a very heavy sweater and notice yourself slipping on the mat.
To properly use your yoga towel, you simply place it over your yoga mat and make sure its either covering the entire surface or that all four corners are lined up. The reason you need a quality yoga towel is because cheap versions may bunch up or stick to your hands when you're doing Bikram or hot yoga.
When your yoga towel bunches up or slips during class, you're not only more prone to injury but this is also extremely frustrating to the point that you won't enjoy your class. Just remember to never wash your yoga towel with any kind of softeners since this can ruin the properties of your towel and make it slick forever.
Summary of The Best Hot Yoga Towels...
While all the yoga towels on this list are made with quality in mind, we have to pick a favorite. With that said, our favorite is...
It has the best designs (totally subjective), its highly sweat absorbent, features a patented skidless pattern that doesn't harden the mat, has very well seamed edges so it won't rip or tear, its made from recycled materials, body and environmentally friendly, and comes in two sizes. It's also machine washable and won't fade or lose its functionality even after many washes. Overall, this is our choice for the best yoga towel for both hot yoga and non-heated yoga.