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Martial Arts Mats Buyers Guide: Find the Best Floor

Options and Ideas for Pro and Home Surfaces

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Finding the right flooring. For starters, here are some important questions you need to ask yourself. These ideas can help you narrow down the potential choices of mixed use flooring for your needs.

  1. Do you want to train barefoot or in shoes and boots on the martial arts mats?
  2. Will you require mats that provide cushioning for throws and potential falls from height, such as with self defense classes?
  3. Will the martial arts fighters and athletes be spending a great deal of time on the ground, or will they be on their feet primarily, such as for kickboxing?
  4. What colors in martial arts mats do you need to match the decor of your studio, school, or gym?
  5. How much are you willing to spend on flooring?

Based on your answers, you now can narrow down your flooring choices. Continue reading to learn some of the strengths of various floor types.

Foam mats. Interlocking foam mats are an economical flooring option for both studios and home workout areas. They are available in a variety of colors, thicknesses, densities, and surface types.

Some floors are geared toward one or two types of martial arts workouts. Others offer a high level of versatility for multiple workout types. At Greatmats, we carry martial arts foam flooring that is great for all of the following disciplines.

  1. MMA
  2. Karate
  3. Jiu Jitsu
  4. Taekwondo
  5. Grappling
  6. BJJ
  7. Krav Maga
  8. Capoeira
  9. Hapkido
  10. Kung Fu
  11. And many others

Closed cell foam. In areas where athletes need a sure footing and less padding, a closed cell foam has an excellent level of durability.

Martial arts mats that consist of PE or EVA foam both use a closed cell design. They will not absorb water. After someone steps on this type of mat, it will bounce back to its original shape immediately.

EVA foam is the cheapest choice and is often reversible. PE foam is also lightweight and inexpensive, and it almost has a bit of bounce to it. The finished surface of these mats, however, are typically a bonded vinyl or carpet or a vinyl wrap.

Open cell foam. PU, or polyurethane, foam is a softer type of foam that’s useful for providing cushioning from throws and falls during workouts. You’ll commonly find PU mats in thicknesses of 6, 8, or 12 inches, although other sizes are available.

PU open cell foam is not as durable as closed cell foam, however, meaning it needs to be covered with a vinyl or denim material for the highest level of longevity.

Surface textures. Don’t focus only on the padding and forget about the surface texture of these mats. Athletes need to have a sure footing they can trust to make the quick movements required for martial arts.

Commonly, inexpensive foam mats will have the surface texture molded into the core material, rather than using a separate material to cover the core. A molded textured surface provides the surest footing, but certain molded textures can cause skin burns if students fall on the mats at an angle. A smooth surface doesn’t cause burns, but it can be slippery for those training in bare feet.

To avoid floor burns and maintain traction, consider martial arts puzzle mats that contain Greatmats molded tatami surface. Tatami is a style of texture resembling rice that will provide a good footing. While traditional tatami mats are known to cause significant floor burns, Greatmats unique puzzle tatami mats are designed to do exactly the opposite without losing the benefits of tatami mats.

Greatmats also has tatami textured mats with a vinyl or canvas material that covers the core foam. These will be slightly more aggressively textured. The tatami texture is included in the surface of the canvas or vinyl.

Size options. For smaller dojos or home applications, we generally recommend our 2x2 foot mats. These are typically less expensive than our larger 1x1 meter mats as they can often ship via ground delivery rather than via a freight truck.

For reduced coverage area needs, it can be nice to have the smaller tile size, because it’s easier to maneuver these tiles in a small area. Additionally, for wall-to-wall installations, you will probably waste less material using smaller tiles when you cut the floor to fit.

For larger installations, the square meter mats are often preferred. Although they generally cost a bit more money due to shipping expenses, your finished floor will have fewer seams in it. For a big coverage area, limiting the number of seams is a good idea and speeds up installation.

To clean your martial arts flooring, simply wipe with a damp cloth or damp mop with hot water and a mild common floor cleaner. This is generally all the maintenance your martial arts mats will need.

Perfect martial arts mats. We’ve collected a series of videos, blogs, and customer testimonials aimed at helping you make the best choice for your space. Our martial arts mats guide will provide all of the information you need to find the perfect flooring in terms of value, longevity, and performance at your studio, gym, or school setting.

Which Martial Arts Mats Are Right For You