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November 2010


workout watchdog

Hot Yoga Towels: A Good Investment or an Unnecessary Expense?

Hot yoga classes are great for increasing your strength and flexibility, but they can also leave you standing in a puddle of your own sweat. In the past, the only way to keep from sliding off your mat was to cover it with a giant beach towel, but now there are several new products designed to provide a gripping surface and soak up the sweat. Here we review two of the most popular brands to help you decide if a hot yoga towel is worth the added expense or simply a waste of money.

Yogitoes SKIDLESS® Premium Mat-size Yoga Towel ($64)

Take a peek into many hot yoga classes and, in addition to the assorted bath and beach towels, you’ll probably see more than a few Yogitoes SKIDLESS premium yoga towels scattered throughout the room. Extremely lightweight, the Yogitoes towel features a polyester-nylon blend with silicone nubs to grip the yoga mat. Measuring 24 x 68 inches, the SKIDLESS towel generally stays in place, although it does bunch up and wrinkle during some jumps, and it effectively absorbs a good amount of sweat. It should be noted, however, that some extreme sweaters might need a heavier or more absorbent towel.


Also of note is the fact that the towel’s surface is relatively slippery unless it is dampened with a spray bottle prior to the start of class. This may seem counterintuitive given that the towel is about to get very wet with sweat, but this step is essential. Once the surface is dampened, it provides a good grip for the feet and hands, even after the sweat has started pouring.

Of course, any yoga towel requires washing between uses. A big advantage with the SKIDLESS towel is that it dries quickly; depending on how often you practice, you may even be able to air dry it between classes. Yogitoes recommends washing it twice before use and warns against washing it with other items due to the risk of the colors bleeding. It should be noted that some towel colors continue to bleed after as many as six washings.

At $64, the Yogitoes SKIDLESS towel is not cheap, but it does appear to hold up well to frequent use and washings, and can help extend the life of a yoga mat. It's light weight also makes it especially suitable for travel, and could even be used as a stand-in for a regular yoga mat, if necessary.

What We Liked:

  • Lightweight and fast-drying
  • Silicone nubs help keep towel in place
  • Once it is dampened, it provides an adequate gripping surface


What We Didn’t Like:

  • Requires dampening to reduce slipperiness
  • Some colors continue to bleed after several washings


MandukaTM eQua® HOT Yoga Towel ($55)

Manduka’s latest hot yoga offering—the eQua Hot Yoga Towel—is heavier and more plush than its standard eQua towel. In fact, it feels a lot like a luxury-brand bath towel. Comprised of a double knit microfiber, it measures 72 x 26.5 inches and is large enough to cover most yoga mats. Although it lacks the silicone nubs that help keep the Yogitoes SKIDLESS towel in place, the hefty weight of the eQua Hot Yoga Towel seems to help keep it in place. It does, however, tend to move around and bunch up, particularly during the jump transitions that are common in a vinyasa or ashtanga yoga class.


The soft surface of the eQua towel is quite slippery, but the grip does improve when the towel becomes damp. Most hot yoga classes now provide a spray bottle of water for participants to dampen their towels prior to the start of class. This is an essential step—without it, you will be slipping and sliding all over the place. The eQua towel does, however, provide superior sweat absorption for even the sweatiest yogis.

The eQua Hot Yoga Towel held up well to frequent use and washings, although its heavier weight means it takes slightly longer to dry than some other yoga towels. Participants who prefer a more padded surface (i.e., those with bony spines) will really appreciate the added cushioning afforded by this towel.

What We Liked:

  • Super-soft and cushiony
  • Large size covers most yoga mats
  • Superior sweat absorption


What We Didn’t Like:

  • Requires dampening to reduce slipperiness
  • Doesn’t always stay in place during jumps


For additional fitness product reviews, visit the Product Reviews available on ACE's website.


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