Is Lululemon’s New Workout Mat as Good as its Yoga Mats? We Tried It To Find Out

lululemon the workout mat | two image: one showing a woman exercising on a black lululemon workout mat. the other shows a lululemon workout mat in brier rose

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Not too long ago, I found myself doing something strange with my yoga mat. For one thing, I wasn’t doing yoga. I was actually taking a virtual combo HIIT/strength training class, and it required both sneakers and weights. I wanted to do the class properly, but I didn’t want to damage the mat. So I kept placing the weights just so off the corner of the mat, so they didn’t leave an impression on the surface, and prancing around the mat to get into various positions so my knees and palms might make contact with it but my workout shoes would not.

This, I assumed, was simply my own bizarre and isolated behavior. But now, based on the just-released Lululemon Workout Mat ($98)—a mat meant for high-intensity workouts, shoes and all—it seems that there may be at least dozens of us. Lululemon sent one over for testing, and I gave it a try by putting it through several rounds of at-home HIIT, strength, and cardio classes. 

The TL;DR: It’s pretty good! What it lacks in the sleekness of a classic yoga mat, it more than makes up for in ruggedness and grit.

What Is The Lululemon Workout Mat?

lululemon the workout mat | woman holding black lululemon workout mat

The Lululemon Workout Mat is a mat intended for—you guessed it—working out. But not the yoga kind of working out. Sweaty, high-impact, Spotify-Beast-Mode-playlist-blasting workouts. With a grippy, 6mm PVB (polyvinyl butyral, an alternative to PVC that’s easier to recycle) surface, it’s meant to provide support through jump squats, burpees, and maybe the occasional dropped dumbbell. This intention shows in its design, with a single Lululemon swoosh in the center surrounded by a forcefield of textured nibs. On the other side, it has a textured pattern that helps it grip tight to the floor. In practice, it feels like a cross between a regular yoga mat and one of those squishy mats that mostly seem to exist in hotel gyms. It has more give than the former and less plushness (and, it seems, a tendency to degrade) than the latter.

The Workout Mat comes in three colors: Black, Brier Rose (pink), and Blue Linen (blue).

What I Like About The Lululemon Workout Mat

lululemon the workout mat
Sara Hendricks / Lululemon

One plus I noticed immediately about the Workout Mat is its smell—or lack thereof. Many new yoga mats carry an odiferous scent out of the box; something akin to a rubber basketball left to bake outside in Death Valley on the summer equinox. The Workout Mat had the slightest rubbery smell when I took it out of its box., but it dissipated within 20 minutes of setting it on the ground. It was also ready to use right away. Despite having been tightly rolled up, I was able to lay it almost entirely flat, with one edge slightly curled up on the end. (This would have been serviceable, but I set two 10-pound dumbbells on the raised part, and after an hour or two, it flattened out.)

Then: The actual workout. Stepping on the mat with my shoes on felt weird and unnatural, considering how accustomed I was to doing everything I could to not step on my mat before. But when I did, the surface felt great—lots of give without being overly plush. No, I couldn’t tell if the surface was actually supporting my “lateral movement patterns typical of dynamic workouts,” as Lululemon claims. But it held up during the five or so sessions of HIIT, weightlifting, and cardio I put it through.

The material itself feels hardy, and once I got into my rhythm, I didn’t second-guess jumping all over it or laying dumbbells (and my full body weight) on its surface for exercises like renegade rows. Just to be sure that the surface was actually as strong as it seemed, I laid a Bowflex adjustable kettlebell, set to its highest 40-pound weight, on its surface overnight. In the morning, I saw a dent, but it faded over the course of the day. 

Finally, the material itself is also—and I don’t say this lightly—a game changer. Like any person with sweat glands, I often start to drip during vigorous workout sessions. This moisture then ends up on the mat, causing me to slip when I’m in a plank or pike position. This wasn’t an issue for me with the Workout Mat, though I didn’t sweat any less than usual. In addition to the nibs that create traction on the skin, the material itself is a little tacky, which helps provide even more traction. No matter how sweaty I was, workouts felt stable.

What I Don’t Like About The Lululemon Workout Mat

If you have one workout-type mat, even if it’s ostensibly intended for yoga alone, do you really need another? I’m not so sure. For my needs—or, more precisely, my limited space—I’d probably have to pick one.

The Workout Mat, as great as it is for working out—I don’t know how useful it is for yoga. Would it kill in a heated CorePower Yoga Sculpt class? Almost certainly. But when I tried it for a quick vinyasa flow in my living room, the raised, textured parts just got in the way. Of course, Lululemon does not claim that the Workout Mat is great for yoga. But if you’re a casual home fitness practitioner who lives in, say, a studio apartment, and you don’t have the space, money, or desire to invest in different mats for your different activities, it’s something to consider.

The texture could also be problematic when it comes to keeping the mat tidy. Its closed-cell material doesn’t absorb moisture (or dirt). Instead, everything sits on top, making it easy enough to swipe off with a washcloth and a little bit of mat cleaner spray. But because the PVB is sticky, it seems to attract everything that might be floating around it—dust, lint, and, I can only imagine, pet hair. I can also see grime getting embedded in its crevices, too, if you don’t clean it after every session. In other words, the Workout Mat is easy to clean. You just have to be willing to do it a lot. 

How Is the Workout Mat Different From Other Yoga Mats?

My main point of comparison for the Workout Mat was my trusty Reversible Mat (also from Lululemon). When compared to this mat, it’s the same length and width (26 inches wide and 71 inches long), but thicker—6mm against the Reversible’s 5mm—and heavier; about 6 pounds compared to the Reversible’s 5.24. The Reversible is also much smoother. Its surface provides the least amount of resistance possible, whereas the Workout Mat holds you tight. 

Also, the Reversible—and any other yoga-focused mat on Lulu’s site—comes in swirling, colorful patterns. The Workout Mat… does not. It doesn’t look bad, but it’s pure utilitarianism monochrome. I have to respect that, but your mileage may vary.

Should You Get The Lululemon Workout Mat?

lululemon the workout mat | two image: one showing a woman exercising on a black lululemon workout mat. the other shows a lululemon workout mat in brier rose

I spent a lot of time thinking about this, but I now realize it’s actually very simple. Do a lot of barefoot yoga classes? Stick with a regular yoga mat. Do a lot of cardio, strength, and HIIT classes, and love the novelty of wearing shoes on a workout mat? Go for the Workout Mat. (If you have an ample home gym and cash to spare, you must, of course, get both.)

Either way, the Workout Mat lives up to all its promises of being a truly functional home workout mat. If that sounds good to you, you won’t be disappointed. Neither will your gym shoes. 

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