5 Tips to Pick Foam Gym Mats
Foam floor mats are some of the most widely used gym flooring available on the market. The reason for this is they offer outstanding quality for an inexpensive price. In addition, a foam mat is a highly durable material which can last for many years, even under the rigours and stress of day-to-day use.
But it’s not always easy to find the right foam mats for your needs. With so many choices and different types of mats available on the market, it can be a daunting task to sift through all the mats. If that’s you, then you’ve come to the right place to learn more about the choices available to help you find the perfect mat.
In this article, we are going to look at:
- What are the advantages of foam flooring?
- The differences between foam flooring and rubber gym flooring
- The different types of foam mats available
- 5 tips to pick foam mats for your home or commercial gym
What are the advantages of foam flooring?
Foam mats are the perfect flooring for gyms because they offer high impact absorption and significant traction. The best foam mats can be compressed, absorbing the impact from a fall, and dissipating that energy outwards. Great mats also can compress to zero, the point where the mats can’t go any further, and spring back to their original shape.
When it comes to training for martial arts, it’s important to place mats underneath your athletes’ feet. Foam mats are almost considered to one of the most important types of personal protective equipment, as they help to prevent athletes from being injured from falls or trips.
In the same way that you wouldn’t want your athletes to enter a sparring session without sparring gear, you shouldn’t allow one of your athletes to train on mats that offer minimal support when their training.
Foam flooring mats are great to use even in weight training facilities because they give a space for your athletes to stretch and get ready for their session. In addition, foam mats are great to use because they provide traction for your athletes. Instead of training on slippery concrete floors or hardwood, foam mats can provide just enough grip for your athletes. They’re also waterproof, so you can use the mats outdoors without worrying about them falling apart.
What are the differences between foam mats and rubber gym flooring?
Before reading this article, you may have considered one type of mat to be like all other types of mats, but that’s not the case. There are two different types of mats that you’ll see in an athletic training centre: rubber gym mats and foam gym flooring. Rubber mats are durable, able to withstand heavy weights, and continue to offer the same level of impact absorption every day.
But they have one major flaw: they aren’t great for cushioning falls and preventing injuries. Sure, they are great products to be used for placing gym equipment on. However, if you’re doing any sort of physical activity where someone may fall, you will need foam mats to cushion falls.
Different types of foam mats
Available on Martial Arts Mats Ireland, you will find 3 different types of foam mats: XPE, EVA, and PU foam. Let’s examine each one of those:
Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) is a highly used and sought after material, which you can find in the manufacturing, construction, and athletic industries. It has wonderful impact absorption properties, as well as insulating and weather resistant properties. EVA foam are made in different density levels, with some stock being rigid enough for someone to stand on without their feet being absorbed into the mats, whilst other mats are soft.
Incredibly inexpensive, EVA foam mats are great to use in both a traditional gym setting, or for mobile training centres. EVA foam mats are incredibly easy to use, as they are lightweight, easy to set up and fit within one another, and also easy to store away.
Below, you can find some popular EVA foam mats:
- 20MM 1M X 1M GREY/BLACK JIGSAW MAT STANDARD GRIP 120KG/CBM DENSITY
- MMA 30MM 1M X 1M GREY/BLACK JIGSAW MAT TATAMI GRIP 80KG/CBM DENSITY
Cross-linked polyethylene (XPE) is a wonderful material because it offers great impact absorption, whilst also being odourless. EVA foam mats offgas an acrid odour when you remove them from their packaging, but XPE mats have no such odour. In addition, XPE are available in many different styles and flooring options. Available on Martial Arts Mats Ireland, you can find XPE mats in three styles: jigsaw mats, rollout mats, and even wall pads.
Below are some of the most popular XPE foam mats at Martial Arts Mats Ireland:
- IMPACT TATAMI 30MM 1M X 1M XPE -NO SMELL- GREY/BLUE JIGSAW MAT
- IMPACT TATAMI ROLLOUT MATS 3M X 1.5M X 40MM BLUE
Polyurethane foam (PU) is an open cell foam, which means that the outer layer of the mat has holes which allow air to transfer in and out. Essentially, PU foam mats are like giant pockets of air. When an athlete falls on PU foam mats, the air trapped inside of the mats is expelled out, absorbing the impact. These mats are great to use for crash mats or when training difficult movements where an athlete could fall or trip.
At Martial Arts Mats Ireland, the main PU foam mats that we offer are Judo mats. Judo mats are made from reconstituted PU foam, little pieces of foam which have been pressed together to form one mat. These reconstituted PU foam mats are then wrapped in vinyl and have a nonslip base.
5 Tips When Purchasing Foam Mats
- Know your price range
The most important thing before purchasing foam mats is to know how much you’re willing to spend. There are many different types of mats, most of which are available in several price ranges. Write down a price range that you could afford and make a firm decision on how much you’re willing to spend.
- Discover which types of mats you will need for your sport
Not all mats are created equal. Some mats are great to use for stand up, striking sports, like karate, boxing, and kickboxing. These mats are usually stiffer, offering better traction for athletes as they move about. One of things that you may not realize is that mats that have greater impact absorption properties also hinder an athlete’s ability to move about. If each step an athlete takes their foot sinks down into the mats, then they’re going to have a hard time moving about.
However, if the sport that you’re training involves combinations of movements where athletes will be thrown from heights over 1.5 m, impact absorption is exactly what you’re going to need. There are many different articles available on this website which can help you to gain a better understanding of which mats you’ll need for your sport, including:
- Examine how many square metres of space you need to cover
This assessment goes hand in hand with assessing your budget. Knowing the square metres that you need covered can help you discover how many mats you need to purchase. One helpful way to do this is to find the individual square metres of each mat, and then find the surface area of the training centre you’d like covered. Once you find the surface area, divide the square metres of each individual mat by it, and this will give you the number of how many mats that you need to purchase to cover the whole area.
- Pick a colour
Martial arts mats are available in many will colours, and many of the mats are offered in a dual tone variety (one colour on each individual side). As a result, you have a lot of variety in what types of mats you want to purchase. A helpful tip is to find the colours that match your brand.
- Layout the mats
When creating a bespoke mat pattern, it’s advisable to come up with a plan on how you want to lay the mats out. For example, you may wish to have one single training area which is in the shape of a full-sized competition ring. If you wish to do that, you’ll need dual tone mats which offer different colours on either side. You outfit the combat area in one colour, and have the outside boundary of the space in another colour. You can also use other different coloured mats for other areas, including walkways, safe areas, and areas for spectators.
Purchasing foam mats can be a daunting task, but if you come into it with a plan on what you want to purchase, then you’ll be able to find exactly what you need. Search through the different types of mats available, then decide on which mats best suit your needs and price range. Once you do that, discover exactly how you want to lay them out. If at any point during your search for the perfect mat you get confused or want to talk to anybody about your choices, reach out to the customer service specialists at Martial Arts Mats Ireland.
Author: David Van Kooten