We first discovered Metta Mats during last winter’s Moovment Fest. Metta Mats were a fellow sponsor of the event, and their commitment to community was almost as striking as their yoga mat designs. We wanted to learn more about the Metta Mats brand.
Metta Mats was founded by David Whitehurst and Jonathan Walker (but his friends call him Jonny) – two highschool friends from Roanoke, Virginia.
After graduating from Virginia Tech, David and Jonny launched Metta Mats in 2015.
Jonny shares how it all began: “We both noticed there were no art-adorned mats with great surfaces for yoga. David’s passion for product development and my passion for yoga came together to create a yoga mat that was as beautiful as it was functional.”
Read on to learn more about this brand, and the yoga mats they are putting out into the world!
We Review Metta Mats
With over 5 years of production, Metta Mats claim to have perfected their craft. According to their website, “Metta Mats are the result of years of experimenting. We spent years perfecting a unique surface made of safe materials to protect the artwork we put on our mats and provide grip and support for all types of yoga.”
With a claim like this, we had to practice on these mats for ourselves!
What Makes Metta Mat’s Yoga Mats Unique?
Handmade in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is the first attention-grabbing aspect of what makes Metta Mats stand out from the crowd. In addition to being made by hand in the US, these mats are ethically and sustainably made – two points that we look for in any product that we review.
According to their website, Metta Mats believes in “sweat-shop free production. We purchase our production materials from companies with a good record of ethically sourced materials and we make each mat – as well as our other products – with our own hands in Philadelphia in a light-hearted and safe work environment.”
They use a unique three-layer system for each mat that begins with a cushy 3mm base of 100% natural tree rubber (which is renewable and recyclable). The middle layer is the HD no-fade artwork design, protected by the top layer which Metta Mats calls their “metta surface” that multitasks to seal the artwork and give you a solid grip for your practice.
Grip Is Key for Any Yoga Mat – So How Did Metta Mats Stack Up?
Grip is a key question for any yoga mat you consider investing in. The grip surface of any mat made by Metta Mats is definitely a uniquely different feel from any other yoga mat we’ve reviewed.
Mat surface stats: it is waterproof, grippy and durable, yet soft to the touch. Think sticky mat-level grip but with a more textured feel. These mats do not require a break-in period like many others do, and are grippy right out of the packaging. We also noticed that the mats become a bit softer and grippier with continued use. So that’s a win-win.
Think sticky mat-level grip but with a more textured feel.
The mats are designed to maintain grip wet or dry, so whether you’re cold or sweaty, the grip remains consistent.
In fact, our testers found that once your hands are a bit sweaty, the mat grips even better. (However, our testers sweat a lot during hot yoga and recommend keeping a towel on hand if you’re a hot yoga practitioner that tends to sweat excessively too.)
Since Metta Mats is known for their artist focus, we had to see one for ourselves, so we tested out the Calibri design (which means hummingbird in Spanish) by Martina Hoffman from Metta Mat’s Artist Series collection.
We’ve tested out other yoga mat brands that collaborate with artists, but have historically seen this on microfiber or towel-infused mats. And since microfiber mats work best for hot yoga specifically, we were happy to see a more versatile mat material being used for artist prints.
Art uplifts and inspires us. To be able to practice on such beautiful artwork is a real treat, and pulls that inspiration onto the mat and into our practice. The elegant hummingbird artwork became our drishti and meditative gaze, and we cherished our time practicing on the Calibri mat.
Pros of the Artist Series Mats
No PVCs, toxic materials, or harsh chemicals are used in the production of these yoga mats. Metta Mats is committed to recycling every used component possible, and we value their dedication to sustainability.
We were impressed to find how beautifully detailed and high quality the print looks on the mat (much more detailed and higher quality than art transfers on microfiber mats by comparison). Up close, each wisp and color swirl is perfectly transmuted onto the mat for a final product that truly looks like a work of art.
Metta Mats uses dye sublimation printing. Each mat’s surface is applied by hand and the final step is curing them in sunlight which in turn creates the grippy feel we described earlier. We thought this process was interesting enough to share!
The vivid details of the artwork is unparalleled. Any art lovers out there will love these mats, which make them a great gift idea.
However, the biggest pro is arguably the giveback program that Metta Mats has created for the artists they feature. 25% of every artist series mat sold goes back to the independent artists whose artwork is featured on the mat. You can even shop by artist. Metta Mats believes in supporting art and free expression, and we support that! 🙂
Cons of the Artist Series Mats
Since we compared the Artist Series by Metta Mats to microfiber artist-designed mats that we’ve reviewed in the past, a con for Metta Mats is that it cannot be machine washed like microfiber mats can. Metta Mats should be hand washed with vinegar or other natural household products (avoid essential oils) and air-dried.
And just as not every yoga discipline is for everyone, every artist isn’t for everyone either. Some practitioners may prefer certain designs over others (if that’s you, you’re in luck because Metta Mats has a huge variety of artists and designs to choose from in this series – 121 to be exact!).
In that same vein, others may prefer to skip the art entirely in pursuit of something more functionality-focused. For those practitioners, we’d recommend checking out Metta Mat’s Alignment Mat series. With a lovely slew of color combinations and even a classic black for the ultimate minimalists, there’s an alignment mat to meet everyone’s needs.
Pssst! The Alignment Mat was also featured in our 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Final Details to Know About Metta Mat’s Yoga Mat
Who is a Metta Mat good for? We’ll break it down by category: Artist Series and Alignment Series. The Artist Series mats are good for art lovers and seasoned practitioners who want a durable, long-lasting mat that’s a joy to look at and practice on. These mats are priced at $120.
The Alignment Series mats are ideal for beginner practitioners, those who want to focus on their alignment, and also yoga instructors looking for a quality teaching mat that’s perfect for demonstrating poses on. These mats are priced at $108.
(Fun fact: Metta Mats based the gold and turquoise Alignment Mat on YogiApproved founder Ashton August’s favorite colors!)
Boring but important:
- Mat dimensions: 72” long; 26.25” wide; 3.5 mm thick
- Weight: 5lbs
- Waterproof and UV proof
Metta Mats: Our Final Takeaway
We love the unique artistic prints from the Metta Mats Artist Series line, along with their ongoing support of the artists with their giveback program. We also appreciate the wide variety of design options to choose from. The Alignment Series mats are an effective, helpful, and accessible guide to finding proper alignment in any pose.
Yet a yoga mat is only as good as its performance, and Metta Mats passed with flying colors in that department too. Most importantly, we respect Metta Mats’ commitment to ethical, local production and sustainability.
For these reasons, this mat is 100% YogiApproved™. If you want to learn more about this brand, you can check out Metta Mats here.
Metta Mats is currently offering 20% off sitewide using code: HOLIDAYS2021.
Have any questions or comments about this product review or brand? Please tell us in the comments below – we love hearing from you!
Full-disclosure: brands may compensate us for the production of reviews like this one. However, if a product doesn’t live up to our standards, we will not review or promote it. This is our honest opinion of the product.