The Top 5 Best Yoga Mats for Bad Knees in 2024

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Practicing yoga can be a pain when you have bad knees, and that’s the last thing you want your practice to be!

Finding the right mat is crucial to ensuring you have a comfortable and relaxing practice, so let’s talk about the best yoga mats for bad knees and how to spot them.

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Why do you need a yoga mat for bad knees?

If you suffer from knee discomfort or even pain when you practice yoga, then it’s a good idea to invest in a yoga mat that is suited to the level of support you need i.e. a thick yoga mat for bad knees.

Practicing on a mat that isn’t suited to your needs can aggravate your knee problems further and worsen existing injury, which I’m sure isn’t the reason you come onto your yoga mat!

Purchasing a yoga mat that matches the level of support you need is a good investment idea so you can truly relax and get the full benefits of your practice. Nobody wants their yoga session to be uncomfortable, let’s be honest!

What to look for in a yoga mat for bad knees

There are some key criteria to look out for when purchasing a yoga mat for bad knees. Essentially, we want to look out for a thick cushioned yoga mat, and here are some clues about how to find one that’s suitable!

1. Premium thickness

Thickness is key when choosing your yoga mat; a certain level of thickness is essential to protecting your knees from the floor beneath it. This is especially true if you practice on hard floor. 

Your average yoga mat is about 3mm thick, but this isn’t always enough to protect your vulnerable joints from the hard floor below. I would advise definitely looking for a mat that is at least 5mm thick if you have sensitive knees.

2. Cushioned material

The thickness of your mat can sometimes be compromised depending on the material in question. This is because some materials are more cushioned than others, supporting your joints and letting them sink in rather than acting as a resistant surface.

It turns out you can have too much of a good thing however. Why? Because too much cushioning can make certain poses like standing balances and inversions very tricky!

If you prefer a mainly floor based practice then this may not be an issue for you. Otherwise, you may wish to purchase a separate yoga mat designed for this purpose.

Some of the best materials to cushion your joints include natural rubber and PVC (I’d always advise looking for eco-friendly yoga mats where possible!)

The added bonus of materials like natural rubber is that their density means that they are also less likely to interfere with balance than some other materials.

3. Smooth texture

Yoga mats that are imprinted with bumpy patterns and ridges (often to increase their level of stickiness) may not be the best option for sensitive knees. These bumps can irritate the joints, so it’s best to look for a mat that has a smooth texture and feels soft to the touch.

woman doing yoga pose on yoga mat balancing on one knee and one hand

The 5 Best Yoga Mats for Bad Knees

So, based on the criteria mentioned above, here are what I believe to be some of the best thick yoga mats for bad knees!

  1. Jade Fusion Yoga Mat

    Jade Yoga is a yoga company dedicated towards being environmentally conscious. Their Fusion Mat is 8mm thick, making it super comfortable for sensitive knees. It comes in two different lengths and three colours. As with all their other mats, it is made from sustainable natural tree rubber and contains no PVC, EVA or synthetics. Plus, Jade plant a tree for every mat they sell!

    Size: Regular: 24” x 68” or Long: 24” x 74”
    Weight: 8.5lbs
    Thickness: 8mm
    • Smooth cushioned material
    • Very thick
    • Environmentally friendly
    • Not suitable for rubber/latex allergies
    • Rubber smell
    • Bulky and heavy to transport
    Buy on Amazon
    03/15/2024 11:33 am GMT
  2. Manduka Pro Yoga Mat

    The Manduka Pro series claims to be the #1 recommended yoga mat by teachers worldwide! The Pro Yoga Mat is 6mm of cushioned thickness and ultra-dense so as not to sacrifice stability. It has a closed cell surface to stop moisture sinking in and provide grip when things get a little sweaty! This mat is made from PVC, comes in 8 different styles and two lengths.

    Size: Standard: 26” x 71” Long: 26” x 85”
    Weight: 7.5lbs
    Thickness: 6mm
    • Cushioned mat
    • Good thickness
    • Closed cell surface
    • Latex free
    • Made from PVC (less environmentally friendly)
    • Fairly heavy
    Check price on Manduka
  3. Gaiam Premium 6mm Yoga Mat

    Gaiam’s premium mat is an extra thick 6mm yoga mat that is perfect for sensitive knees. It has a textured sticky surface that offers extra grip for when things get sweaty. Despite its thickness, this PVC mat is surprisingly lightweight which makes it an ideal option for taking to and from your yoga classes. It also comes in over 30 different printed designs, meaning there is more than enough to choose from!

    Size: 24” x 68”
    Weight: 3.26lbs
    Thickness: 6mm
    • Good cushioning
    • Decent thickness
    • Very lightweight
    • Latex free
    • Made from PVC (not as environmentally friendly)
    • Not suitable for taller individuals
    • Textured material may bother some
    Check price on Amazon
  4. Manduka Eko Yoga Mat

    The Manduka Eko Yoga Mat is made from 100% natural rubber, which is kind to the planet and your knees. It has a springy and cushioned inner core to support your joints and a grippy surface for anti-slip purposes. So if you're looking for the perfect balance between grip and support then this just might be the mat for you.

    Size: Standard: x 71" Long: x 79"
    Weight: Standard: 7lbs Long: 8lbs
    Thickness: 5mm
    • Supportive and springy core layer
    • Sustainably harvested natural rubber
    • 99% latex free
    • Regular and long size options
    • On the heavy side
    • Minimum recommended thickness for joint support
    Check price on Manduka
  5. Feetlu Extra Thick Yoga Mat with Strap

    The Feetlu Yoga Mat was designed with thickness and cushioning in mind to provide extra support for sensitive joints. This mat is a whopping 10mm thickness and is made from POE foam making it perfect for styles of yoga such as restorative or yin. It is a smooth material with a ribbed underside for extra grippiness on hard floors. 

    Size: 24 x 72"
    Weight: 2.5lbs
    Thickness: 10mm
    • extra thick for joint support
    • lightweight
    • 11 colour options
    • Not as well suited for standing practice and balances
    • Light material prone to curling
    • Not suitable for taller individuals
    Buy Now
    03/11/2024 11:52 pm GMT

The Verdict: The Best Yoga Mat for Bad Knees

Based on the pros and cons discussed, the best yoga mat for bad knees would definitely be, in my opinion, the Jade Fusion. It has everything you could possibly want in a mat for sensitive knees – it’s super thick, well cushioned and environmentally friendly!

My top pick
Jade Fusion Yoga Mat
Buy on Amazon
03/15/2024 11:33 am GMT

Despite this, it’s not a mat that is suitable for those with latex or rubber allergies due to the natural rubber material.

If this is you, then I’d say the next best high quality and thick yoga mat for bad knees would be the Manduka Pro. It’s latex free and has the added benefit of being antimicrobial!

Other Things to Consider

If you don’t have the funds to invest in a new yoga mat, or you want to take extra precautions, there are definitely other options you can take to protect your knees.

Here are a couple other yoga accessories to consider if you’re not ready to invest in a whole new mat:

1. A knee cushion

Knee cushions, sometimes called yoga knee pads, are designed to be put under the knees in positions where you may place extra pressure on them – think poses like tabletop and child’s pose.

They’re an affordable option and can be switched in and out of your practice when you do or don’t need them. This means you can still keep your favourite yoga mat if you wish!

My favourite option for this is the Liforme Yoga Pad. It adds an additional 4.2mm of thickness to your existing yoga mat, and is super grippy making it perfect for those sweaty yoga sessions.

Need even more support? The Kinesis Knee Pad Cushion is a whopping 25mm thick. This may be a great option to try if you have more intense knee discomfort during your yoga classes.

2. A yoga blanket

Yoga blankets are another more affordable option for knee support. You can place them under the joints in the same way you would a knee cushion, and you can roll or fold them up to your desired thickness making them very versatile!

They’re a perfect addition to certain styles of yoga such as yin and restorative. But, if you have knees on the more sensitive side, a blanket may not offer you as much support.

And that completes my guide to the best yoga mats for bad knees. I hope you found use in this guide to move forward with a pain free yoga practice.

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the top 5 best yoga mats for bad knees

Esther is the founder of Through the Phases, a wellbeing and healthy lifestyle blog dedicated to sharing mind/body/soul practices for self-exploration, healing, and fulfilment. She has a degree in Psychology, is yoga teacher trained (200hr), and is currently pursuing a Neuroscience MSc to further study the mind-body connection. Read more about her story here.

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