The Best Yoga Gear of 2021: Staff Picks

Get the gear to help you enhance your yoga practice.

5 reviews with an average rating of 5.0 out of 5 stars
Woman lying on a yoga mat in a pose

No matter where you practice—at your local studio or in your home—having proper yoga gear can help keep you motivated, comfortable and supported. Start by figuring out which type of flow is best for your current mood, then gather all the supplies you need. Maybe you are a regular yogi or your practice is supplemental to your running routine or biking program, but either way, we’ve got our favorite mats, props, top and bottoms to keep you practicing.

 

Manduka Yogitoes Yoga Mat Towel 

Best Yoga Towel  

 

yoga towel

  • Weight: 1 lb. 4 oz. 
  • Dimensions: 68 x 24 in. 
  • Price: $58 

Whether you’re sweating it out in heated yoga or simply need more grip on your mat, the Manduka Yogitoes towel is your go-to prop. Small silicone nubs line one side to help prevent slippage and keep your feet and hands steady. “It makes my grip more secure, so my down dog won’t turn into a flat dog,” say one REI staffer who uses it everywhere. “It’s also a great travel mat alternative since it folds small and doesn’t weigh much.” In other words: You can take it to the beach or gym.

The absorbent, quick-drying towel—which is made of recycled plastic bottles—soaks up your perspiration and feels soft to the touch. Add bonus: It comes in a variety of colors and designs to add flare to your practice. Buy here.  

 

Jade Harmony Professional Yoga Mat

Best All-around Mat

Jade Harmony yoga mat

  • Weight: 4.5 lbs.
  • Material: Natural rubber
  • Dimensions: 68 x 24 x 0.2 in.
  • Price: $79.95

Not all mats are created equal. Choosing the best one for you depends on how much cushion you want underfoot, along with grip and weight. For most yogis, the Jade Harmony Professional yoga mat is a solid overall pick, balancing cushion (5mm thick), stickiness and weight. Made from natural rubber, the mat offers confidence-inspiring slip resistance, even when wet from sweat.

Plus, the durable construction holds up even after repeated use. “The edges are not frayed and even after years of floors, movements, sweat and cleaners, the rubber remains like new,” says one staffer whose mat has held up well over the years. “It’s still tacky enough to not slip during poses, but doesn’t have that gummy, sticky feeling that old rubber can break down to.” Buy here.

 

Jade Travel Yoga Mat

Best Travel Mat

Jade Travel Mat

  • Weight: 3 lbs. 8 oz.
  • Material: Natural rubber
  • Dimensions: 68 x 24 x 0.2 in.
  • Price: $64.95

Lugging around a heavier yoga mat to class can be cumbersome. If your knees and wrists are OK with a little less cushion, the Jade Travel yoga mat is a portable, lighter-weight option that’s easy to tote around and stash in your pack for weekend getaways or walks to the park. It weighs just three and a half pounds, but it serves up surprising support at 3 mm thick. It also offers plenty of grip to help keep even sweaty yogis from sliding around while transitioning through poses. Nice touch: The mat is constructed with natural rubber for those who may want a more sustainable option than PVC. Buy here.

 

Manduka unBLOK Recycled Foam Yoga Block

Best Yoga Block

yoga block

  • Weight: 12.8 oz.
  • Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 4 in.
  • Price: $24

Incorporating a yoga block into your practice can offer support when you need to modify a pose and stability when you’re trying to master more balance-based poses like Half-Moon (Ardha Chandrasana) and Triangle (Trikonasana). Unlike other blocks, the Manduka unBLOCK features a curved side that better cradles you to help ease pressure on your wrists. But you don’t have to trade function for comfort. Beginners and pros alike will appreciate its sturdy, slip-resistant texture for supporting even the most demanding of poses. This sleek block also uses recycled, high-density EVA foam—more than 50 percent, according to Manduka. Buy here.


Beyond Yoga Spacedye Out of Pocket High-Waisted Midi Leggings

Best Leggings

women's yoga leggings

  • Versions: Plus size
  • Fabric: 87% polyester/13% spandex
  • Price: $99

A too-tight or too-loose pair of bottoms during a yoga session can really dampen your vibe. Thankfully, the Beyond Yoga Spacedye Out of Pocket high-waisted midi leggings are not only super soft but hug you as you move throught twists and difficult poses. The waistband is about 5 inches and sits at the natural waist, and the midi length of the bottom hem hits just between your ankle and calf. 

An added bonus? Pockets. The leggings have two hip pockets that are actually usable and big enough to securely hold a cell phone. Plus, the leggings are comfortable enough for daily wear. One staffer wears them to work out, and also to lounge around or dress up with a cute sweater. “If anyone asks me what leggings they should buy, this is my number one answer,” she says. recommends sizing down. Buy here.

 

Vuori Ponto Shorts 

Best Men’s Shorts

men's yoga shorts

  • Fabric: 87% polyester/13% spandex
  • Price: $74

With the Vuori Ponto shorts, you’ll score loads of comfort from the soft-and-stretchy blend of polyester and spandex. “The fabric is buttery soft with the perfect amount of stretch, and the best part is they are moisture wicking so you can do absolutely any activity in them,” says one of the buyers at REI. An elastic waistband and drawcord ensure that you won’t constantly have to readjust during a fast-paced flow. If you prefer more leg coverage, try the Ponto Performance Pant

As for features, the Ponto shorts are loaded. A front zip pocket is convenient for stashing keys and cards, and there’s a larger back zip pocket as well. The bottoms hang loose enough for maximum comfort, whether you're working out, running errands or wearing them around the house, and hit just above the knee.  Buy here.

 

REI Co-op Take Your Time Bra Top

Best Women’s Yoga Top 

women's yoga top

  • Fabric: 75% TACTEL nylon/25% spandex 
  • Price: $44.95

Looking for a comfortable bra that’s ideal for low-impact activities like yoga? Try the REI Co-op Take Your Time bra top. Multiple staffers raved that it provides comfortable, soft support (even without an inner shelf bra), yet isn’t restrictive. “The band stays put and does not ride up,” says one REI staffer. It’s cut more like a crop top, so it has the support of a bra but with slightly more coverage. The higher-cut neckline means you’ll be fully covered in Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) or any inversions, and the elastic at the hem keeps it from riding up during any tricky moves. 

The top is made from a soft-and-stretchy nylon fabric that wicks sweat and doesn’t chafe. Pair it with high-waisted leggings for just an inch or so of skin peeking out for those sweaty, hot-yoga sessions.  Buy here 

 

Manduka Align Yoga Strap

Best Strap

women's yoga top

  • Weight: 5.6 oz.
  • Dimensions: 8 ft. x 1.75 in.
  • Price: $16

Using a yoga strap in your practice allows you to add a bit more stretch or supplemental support to various poses, like Dancer Pose (Natarajasana), Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana) or Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana). We like this one from Manduka, which is made with natural unbleached cotton webbing, because it’s long enough for such poses to help prevent slippage. The strap features an interlocking buckle system that firmly cinches so you and the strap can stay put. The slightly larger width also makes it easier to hold and pull in a stretch without the strap digging in uncomfortably. Buy here.

 

Manduka Mat Renew Yoga Mat Wash

Best Mat Cleaner

yoga mat cleaner

  • Price: $14

No one likes a smelly mat. The Manduka Mat Renew wash doesn’t just leave your mat smelling refreshed, but it also can clean away any dirt or grime (though it’s not meant for disinfecting). Our Co-op Journal senior editor says the organic spray, which comes in gingergrass and lavender scents, is refreshing, yet not overwhelming. “This mat wash is perfect for daily cleaning or quickly freshening up my mat after a hot yoga class or particularly sweaty at-home practice,” she says. “It also helps keep my mat grippy.”

After your practice, spray about 20 pumps all over the mat, wipe down and let air dry. The wash is phosphate-free and biodegradable and does not include alcohol or any other drying agent that could lead to any mat deterioration. Perfect for everyday use on any and all yoga mats. Buy here.

Learn How to Clean Your Yoga Mat.

 

Buying Advice

When choosing gear for yoga, consider the class type and studio props when it comes to buying yoga items.

 

What type of class are you taking?
Different classes will lend themselves to different props or apparel. For a hot yoga class, you’ll likely want a towel and very breathable clothing. For other classes, like a restorative class, you’ll tend to use more props as you get deeper into poses for longer.

Do you want to use your own props?
Most studios have towels, mats, blocks and straps to either rent or use free of charge. If you prefer using and bringing your own gear, then consider investing in a variety of props and your go-to mat and towel.

 

Methodology

We asked REI Co-op staffers what their favorite yoga gear is on shelves at REI. They reported back with their top picks for mats, apparel and props to keep you sweating and stretching.


Article by Mattie Schuler. Mattie is a freelance writer specializing in the outdoors, adventure gear and travel, as well as education and parenting. When she isn’t writing, she is actively looking for dogs to pet, wrangling children in the wilderness (Mattie is a forest school teacher in Boulder, Colorado) and either tracking snow reports or international flights, depending on the season. REI member since 2019.