Lululemon spent two years designing its new mat. It partnered with the Canadian Sports Institute in Calgary, Alberta to examine how folks used their yoga mats. The group developed a kind of “heat map” of usages zones by monitoring which spots folks touched essentially the most throughout their apply. That information, mixed with evaluation of the worn-down areas on used yoga mats, gave the design group a transparent image of the place the ripples must be positioned, and the place padding wanted to be prioritized.
Most of Lululemon’s earlier yoga mats have been made with a base layer of rubber that’s topped with a floor layer of grippy polyurethane. According to Morris, the same old methodology of making a three-dimensional floor just like the ripples within the Take Form mat could be by way of embossing—urgent a heated die into the floor to make the fabric take kind. The drawback is that Lululemon can’t apply that course of to its yoga mats, given their building. The rubber base doesn’t retain the reminiscence of the die, and the floor layer makes use of a sort of porous polyurethane that may soften from the warmth.
The answer was to develop a foam concoction that may harden and maintain its form. That strip of froth is then inserted between the rubber runner and polyurethane floor. Lululemon received’t describe precisely how this foam course of works, citing its proprietary nature, however Morris compares it to baking a cake.
“Foams start out as a liquid, and as the cure, they foam,” he says.
The Take Form mat prices between $118 and $128 relying on the model, and will probably be obtainable worldwide on March 23.
The market for brand spanking new yoga mats—whether or not they’re adorned with 3D ripples or not— is way totally different now than it was again when Lululemon started creating the Take Form. Spurred by the isolation of the pandemic, demand for at-home exercise tools exploded in 2020. But whilst vaccines turn into extra obtainable and the world inches towards some semblance of normalcy, that pattern of individuals preferring to sweat of their properties as a substitute of in gyms and yoga studios may not be going away.
Alignment mats may be particularly helpful if you do not have a yoga teacher hovering over you and actively monitoring your kind.
Gear providing that form of self-guidance gear matches in with Lululemon’s technique of totally embracing the at-home exercise pattern. While the corporate misplaced gross sales from its retail shops early within the pandemic, its on-line gross sales surged. Also, in June of final 12 months, Lululemon acquired the at-home health firm Mirror for $500 million. Pairing an alignment-aiding mat with private classes beamed proper into your private home by way of Mirror will get fairly shut to the expertise of in-person yoga instruction. Now if the corporate desires to soar on the subsequent apparent yoga pattern, it simply wants to begin promoting some goats.
More Great WIRED Stories