When you set out to buy your own yoga mat there is something slightly sacred about the experience. This mat is going to grow and unfold with you. It's going to be there when you are at your most deeply relaxed, and it’ll be there when there’s some tricky stuff to work through.
One question that we get asked a lot is what is the difference between open and closed cell constructions.
Well, simply put, an open cell mat is made from a porous material. This means it will absorb moisture (mostly in the form of sweat!). These mats often have a textured surface lending them a nice grippy quality.
A closed cell mat then is made from a non-porous material. They don’t absorb moisture, but often have an additional 'sticky’ surface layer that provides good grip.
So, what are the pros and cons?
Open cell mats are often favoured by those who are attending more dynamic and especially heated classes. If you are likely to get hot and sweaty then these mats will hold out through practice. Porous materials are often made from more eco-friendly natural materials, free from the plastic layers that are often a feature of closed cell mats.
The con then, is that along with moisture they can also absorb bacteria and can be difficult to clean. Vinegar-based cleansers are touted as the best, but not usually the sweetest smelling.
Closed cell mats on the other hand are easier to clean and considered a more hygienic choice. Closed cell mats are also generally harder wearing and will hold up in a variety of conditions.
Depending on the branding they can become slippery in warm conditions, although many of the leading options have developed a variety of surface layers to negate this. The primary con is that these hygiene hard-wearing layers are most likely made from plastics that can be seen as a less eco-friendly option.