Gear Review: Gaiam Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat

The Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat from Gaiam is part of its—you guessed it—performance collection. As a slip-free 5mm mat, it’s perfect for yogis who like to turn up the heat while feeling soft and supported underneath. Slippery hands in down dog? Not anymore. Sensitive knees? Not a problem. Let’s take a look at why this is Gaiam’s best-selling mat.

Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat from Gaiam review

Even if you aren’t a yogi, you may already be familiar with Gaiam for having one of the world’s hottest women—Jessica Biel—as a spokesperson. You better believe I am paying attention to whatever fitness products she’s talking about. Beyond that, Gaiam is also known for offering well-made, high-quality gear and apparel that won’t break the bank, which is the real reason I love the brand.

For me, a yoga mat is a deeply personal purchase. We will log some serious QT together, and it’ll quickly become a near and dear companion. My mats have seen me and supported me through the good, bad, and the ugly. Sometimes all within the span of an hour. It just may be the most intimate relationship I have. And anytime I purchase fitness gear, I’m making an investment. I want to know it’ll last, and I don’t want to have to worry about really using (::ahem:: abusing) it.

So don’t settle for just any ol’ mat. Find one that suits your style and needs. If you also like heated yoga, Gaiam’s Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat just might be the ticket.

Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat from Gaiam review

Surface texture/feel

The mat feels like a soft rubber, but it’s actually rubber free, ideal for anyone with a latex sensitivity.

Handling sweat

Let’s just jump right in because this was my first question, too. Because of the mat’s mostly matte finish, I was nervous about how much sweat would show and how long it would linger in plain sight underneath me as I continue dripping down more droplets during class.

Trust me, of the many things to focus on during practice, sweat should not even be on the list. But as a person who starts perspiring practically immediately and continues to sweat profusely while working out in a confined space with the heat cranked up to 100 degrees and everyone doing their best textured breath and deep, open-mouth exhales, this, unfortunately, is a real concern. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not embarrassed by it. It’s just not exactly something I want to draw any additional attention to.

And, I am pleased to report that I was pleasantly surprised with this mat’s ability to mask the sweat, as each drop wicked away. After a few minutes, I didn’t give it another thought.

Stickiness/traction

The mat’s topcoat wicks away moisture and—believe it or not—gets grippier as the temps rise in class and moisture builds. While that may sounds completely contradictory to basic physics, it’s actually true.

When I first heard that this mat gets more sticky with more moisture, it seemed impossible and counter intuitive. Alas, ’tis the case. The sweat is seemingly absorbed moments after falling onto the mat.

Even on visibly wet spots, my hands and feet do not slip out from underneath me. I can confidently focus on the posture and my body alignment without worrying about my hands inching forward in down dog or my feet failing me in crescent moon. And, no towel needed.

I’ve done plenty a yoga class with subpar mats and your feet and toes end up getting more of a workout than the rest of your body just trying to keep you balanced in place. No, thanks.

It’s also worth noting that while this mat is very grippy, it also allows movement so you can easily pivot and change positions while flowing.

Thickness/support

At 5mm, this mat is properly cushy. It’s supportive and easy on your knees and elbows. Relax into camel without a worry. Cat/cow until the cows come home.

Size

The mat measures 68” long and 24” wide, and it weighs 4.25 lbs—the average size and weight of a quality yoga mat.

Aesthetics

The Gaiam Performance Dry-Grip mat comes in three colors: blue, purple, and black. They all have the same floral-ish pattern in the same color but high-gloss finish, taking up about half of the middle of the mat.

While there are other designs I prefer over this one, I like the simplicity of this mat. My other mats are solid colors or loud patterns, so it’s nice to have something in the middle that doesn’t distract yet still has some personality.

Durability

Time will tell. Some online reviews mention the mat bubbles or the top layer separates from the foam layer underneath, but a few weeks in, mine is still pristine after regular use. It’s also worth noting the mat comes with Gaiam’s lifetime guarantee, should any problems arise.

Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat from Gaiam review

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