My colleague Marguerite Ogle of About.com Pilates wrote a really nice overview
of the new mat in town, known as the SLVRBK (will no one think of the vowels?), so I'm going to consider it solely in a yoga context. Frankly, that's the only context I have anyway.
Can One Mat Do It All?
At $107, I was curious to see how the SLVRBK's attributes compared to other high-end mats, so I pulled up my very own handy dandy mat comparison chart
. The SLVRBK comes in little longer, a little narrower, a little lighter, and a little pricier than the gold standard Manduka PRO
, so I used that as my benchmark. Though both mats are a quarter-inch thick and made of PVC, they have a completely different feel. The Manduka feels hard and solid, while the SLVRBK is soft and cushy. As a shorty, the extra length is lost on me, though my six-foot husband enjoyed it. We both preferred the width of the Manduka, but I'm willing to chalk that one up to habit. Neither deviation from the standard yoga mat dimensions would be the deciding factor here.
An Aside About the Color (for Neurotics)
With most yoga mats, you have a choice of a few different colors, but the SLVRBK is only available in a very pale gray. If you are the kind of person who has to pick every hair and piece of lint off your mat, it may drive you crazy. I forced myself to give up on that project mid-class, which is probably good for me, but I don't always like to take my medicine.
Slip Sliding Away
For yoga, traction is the key issue, and it's something you can't judge until you experience it. The SLVRBK has gotten some good press, but I suspect it's mostly based on its stylish, minimalist look. Unfortunately, I found this mat just doesn't have the goods when the going gets sweaty. I test-drove it in one of my favorite yoga classes where we work pretty hard, so you need a solid foundation. It's not in a hot room and I'm honestly not a big sweater, but when we started really flowing, my hands and feet were slipping so much that I actually had to grab another mat. If you do a very gentle, mostly seated practice and have never broken a sweat in a yoga class, you may enjoy the soft feel of this mat. It also may be great for other types of exercise, but if vinyasa yoga
is your main jam, look elsewhere for your new mat.
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy