Top 11 Best Yoga Mats for Bad Knees in 2022
Need a bit more cushion for your knees?
Joint pain is no joke. It can instantly turn a peaceful yoga experience into a stressful one in no time. Yoga should be about entering the present moment, not trying to escape it.
I’ve compiled a list of the top 11 yoga mats that can help your bad knees. They are broken down into 2 categories.
First we’ll look at thicker mats you’ll find helpful because they have more padding. Second we’ll examine other creative solutions that might work better than a super thick foam mat.
If you only take one thing away from this review, be sure to read this portion here. You could buy a mat for one problem, but unknowingly create another as you seek to find the best yoga mat for bad knees.
Let’s dive right in with our top choice...
If you’re looking for a quick solution to take some of the pressure out of your knees when you’re down on the mat then this is it.
The Sivan mat is a half inch thick which allows for fantastic padding while providing you with enough stability to balance when standing.
- Sivan Health & Fitness 1/2- Inch Extra Thick
- Gaiam Essentials Premium Yoga Mat
- BalanceFrom GoYoga+ All-Purpose
- BalanceFrom GoYoga 7 - Piece Set
- Yoga Cloud Ultra Thick 1" Exercise Mat
- YogaAccessories 1/4" Thick High Density Non Slip Mat
- Bliss Peak Cotton Yoga Rug 3-in-1
- Liforme Original Mat
- Premium Large Gorilla Yoga Mat
- REEHUT Yoga Knee Pad
- Gaiam Knee Pads
Thicker Yoga Mats
All of the following mats are for those who care mostly about padding.
These mats will be especially good for you if other areas of your body are bothering you besides your knees. If you do yoga on a hard surface like tile or hardwood floor then these will be especially nice.
Gaiam Essentials Premium Yoga Mat
This mat is best for someone who wants the same feel of a traditional yoga mat, but just needs a bit more padding.
Normal yoga mats are closer to an eighth of an inch. This mat is a full quarter inch for that little boost in support.
Furthermore, it is not made with PVC and void of any harmful chemicals like BPA. If you want a quality mat at a good price with just a bit more cushion for you knees then this would be a solid choice.
BalanceFrom GoYoga+ All-Purpose
Moving up in thickness this mat offers a half inch of cushion…
What’s really nice is the extra knee pad it comes with. If you find yourself needing even extra padding then you’ll love having this option.
Depending on the yoga class you take, you’ll certainly want the option of adding the extra pad. There are lots of modifications of postures in yoga that requires you to be on your knees. Ironically this may make for a loathsome yoga practice.
The extra support offered in this combo pack will ensure you can take most yoga classes without worrying about your knees.
This set is a must have for those who enjoy Yin and/or Restorative yoga.
These two disciplines require you to position yourself in postures for longer periods of time. It’s amazing to use a block or a strap in allowing yourself to come into a pose much deeper.
If you have issues with your knees and prefer the slower and more relaxing styles of yoga then you’ll want to pick up this set.
Yoga Cloud Ultra-Thick 1" Yoga and Exercise Mat
If maximum padding is all you care about, then this is your best bet.
With a full inch thick of padding this cloud mat will ensure your joints are safe and pain free. If you’ve noticed that other mats don’t seem to work on tile or hardwood floors then this could be just the one.
Please note that you may not be able to do balancing postures very well. Thicker mats with lots of cushion tend to have this problem. However, if you’re not going to be doing a lot of standing poses in yoga then this should suit you well.
Extra Padding Without The Problems
Before we dive into the remainder of this list, you need to be aware of something important.
I have often seen students buy a really thick yoga mat because of the padding it provides for their knees. This naturally makes sense because the more padding between the ground and your knees the better, right?
Well, this may help your knees but it can cause a lot of other problems.
Thick mats often hurt your wrists when you are down on your hands and knees. The extra padding causes your wrists to bend back farther than they should, thus putting strain on your wrist joint.
Another common problem that comes up is balance. If you can imagine trying to balance on one foot while standing on two pillows - that’s what it’s like. Too much padding causes shakiness and takes away from your balance.
Here are some unique solutions that will help your knees, but not cause you other unwanted problems.
Granted this mat alone may not be all you need when looking for a yoga mat for bad knees. However, that’s exactly why it’s here. I’d like you to entertain the possibility of using 2 yoga mats.
That might sound like overkill but after teaching for 1000’s of hours you’d be amazed at the number of students who use their yoga mat, and then use another smaller mat underneath it as well!
No, I don’t want you to buy two mats… But if you already have a yoga mat then this could be a cheap and easy solution. With an extra mat underneath your existing one it could be just the thing you need.
Bliss Peak Cotton 3-in-1 Yoga Rug
Here is another option if you already have a yoga mat.
This 3-in1 yoga rug can be used as a makeshift yoga mat, a meditation cushion, and folded up for joint support.
It’s nice to have the option for some support and padding to run the full width of your mat if you like - or you can fold it up even smaller to provide more support to just one knee at a time.
I would absolutely consider using this for joint support if you already have a yoga mat. It’s super handy to have around the house - AND it’s machine washable.
Safety and Fun
Here are two picks that you should take note of. If you are concerned about safety and/or have a family then you’ll enjoy these recommendations.
If I could have my whole bedroom made out of either of these materials, then I'd do in in a heartbeat. Sadly, that might be a bit tacky.
Hey, we all want a small yoga den/studio in our house right?
Liforme Original Mat
I’ve included this mat for one man reason, safety.
This mat has the absolute best grip of any mat on the market. You don’t want to slip and risk injury if your joints are already compromised. This mat comes with a hefty price tag, but in terms of feel and performance it’s fantastic.
Having good padding for your knees is only part of the equation. It’s also important you have a good mat to keep you from slipping if your hands start to sweat. Furthermore, if you do hot yoga AND have knee issues then I’d urge you to get this Liforme mat along with a knee pad for ultimate protection and safety.
Premium Large Gorilla Yoga Mat
This is definitely an interesting and fun find…
It’s about a third of an inch thick so it’ll provide some good stability, but it’s especially useful for families who do yoga.
At 6 feet long and 4 feet wide it makes for a perfect “play area” yoga mat.
If you have children who like to practice or “mimic” doing yoga next to you then this would be a fun option. There are lots of new moms who want to still enjoy doing yoga while their toddler rolls around next to them.
If you’d like to foster an environment of fun and yoga with your family at home while still having enough support for your knees then check out this one.
Yoga Mat Knee Pads Options
Yes I know this is all about yoga “mats” but if you already have a good yoga mat then you may not need to shell out that much extra cash.
Here are two quick n’ easy options for you if you need something small and lightweight to solve your knee pain problem.
REEHUT Yoga Knee Pad
This little gem is a life-saver…
All you need to do is reposition it just slightly and you’ve got the best padding for your knees without having to sacrifice balance or wrist pain.
If pain in your knee joints is the biggest problem you are facing, but you are otherwise healthy in all other areas of your body, this will be a good choice.
Gaiam Knee Pads
Here is the cheap and easy solution…
These small knee pads are perfect to throw in your workout bag without worry of them taking up too much space.
A quick adjustment here and there will help you come into poses deeper with these simple pads.
Sometimes it’s easier to use a small pad like this rather than having a big bulky mat to lug around.
Overall if you need lots of padding and don't mid that loss of balance when standing then you should check out a mat like Sivan mat. If you are open to a more creative solution then perhaps try throwing down the Bliss Peak Yoga Rug over your existing mat.
What solutions have you found for helping protect your knees? Did you use a special type of mat or are you doing something else?
Let us know in the comments below!