A Pilates mat is one of the most basic pieces of Pilates equipment to be found in any studio or home, even before the yoga ball
. And even though many people think that they are the same, the Pilates mat is entirely different from a yoga mat. They are worlds apart.
First and most apparently, they have different names for a reason: so you don’t go mixing them up. But on a more serious note now, Pilates mats are generally thicker than yoga mats
, and why is that?
If you’ve ever done both routines before, you should know that while yoga involves a lot of standing, Pilates requires that you work on your back, stomach, and spine.
So, generally, the way a yoga mat is designed, there isn’t much premium placed on thickness—you can get away with standing on a thin mat for however long. But lying on your spine or tummy on a thin mat? Yep, that’s the word, “ouch!” you sure won’t get away without.
So, in essence, what are we saying? Leave yoga mats for yoga sessions and don’t even think of using a gym mat
either. Yeah, we know they feel great and we love them too, but so you don’t waste your time thinking you’re doing Pilates when you’re actually lounging, please leave the gym mats for other exercises and get a Pilates mat for your Pilates.
We want to believe that all parties are on the same page concerning the kind of mat to get for Pilates now (in case you missed the memo, it’s Pilates mats). But that’s not all; you can’t just up and pick any mat just because the manufacturers brandish “Pilates” all over the mat. You need some other basic info. Roll with us, and you’ll get to know everything.
Within a price range of $15 to about $100, you can get a really nice Pilates mat that you’ll love. A few factors definitely play a role in determining how pricey or otherwise a Pilates mat can get. Length and thickness are top reasons, of course; the longer and thicker, the more expensive, although not by much. Also, a professional-grade mat will differ in price from one that’s made for a beginner or home use.
Avoid cheap mats for many reasons, and the top of the list should be your spine. Remember that you’ll be doing a lot of exercises on it and you need something that cushions right—cheap Pilates mats are not the thing. And most of them don’t even last anyway, so what’s the use? You’ll be better off spending the extra to get a durable one.
Just before you click on that “clicky” order tab, (we know how attractive they make them), you might want to read up on the different features and their impact on the kind of Pilates mats you’ll be purchasing:
- Thick or thin?
- How big?
- Pro or nah?
- Care and maintenance
Construction and Design
We’ve already seen how a Pilates mat differs from a yoga mat in thickness, but the question that should bother us now is: how thick? Or what’s the standard for thickness?
A one-half-inch thickness is best. But then there are some really good mats these days that can still provide a good cushioning at three-eighths of an inch, and that’s great. Just make sure that’s your final boundary. Do not go any lower than that or else you won’t be in your spine’s good books for days.
Check out your space and work with it while selecting a Pilates mat. If you need the mat for personal home use, then a four-by-eight (in feet) will do; that’s about 48 inches by 96 inches. Standard mats, though, are about 72 inches by 12 inches, which is what you’ll most likely find in your instructor’s studio.
So, let’s talk about density. A dense mat is good, no doubt, for the sake of your spine and other joints in your body (yeah we keep mentioning spine. It’s too important to not mention is why, and you can’t do Pilates without it).
It’s best to go for a mat that combines density, firmness, and cushioning. This way, you get a stable surface to work with and your body won’t rebel against you after your workout. Or, at least, not too much.
Performance and Ease of Use
Pro or Nah
Now this is for those who have no issues with money or space; you can go pro, if you like. But if one or both of these issues are challenges for you, it’s a nah. Just go for something more everyday for the sake of space and your pocket.
Pilates mats for pros are noticeably different than everyday mats. They come with many options and accessories such as straps to hook your feet with and stuff like that. Some even come with wooden dowels that you can use for your hands.
If you’re going to be traveling with your mat, or taking it to the studio for classes, then you know that you need a lightweight type—one that folds easily, has a relatively small footprint, and preferably with some Velcro straps (of course you know why that is).
Care and Maintenance
As for cleaning, we discovered a hack that will help you keep your mat neatly folded without a crease. But before we get to that, here’s a way not to fold your mat: and that’s simply rolling from end to end. It’s not the best option because the germs on the bottom surface of your mat will get rolled onto the clean surface where you work, and that’s simply not the best.
Here’s a better way.
Fold your mat loosely from end to end, leaving an inch between the top end and the bottom end. Don’t smoothen the fold with your hand to form a crease. Let the air bubble form, about an inch or two. It will prevent the crease.
Then start rolling from the loose fold all the way up. There’ll only be a small part of the inside exposed, which is way better since the majority of your work surface is safely tucked inside and will remain clean.
Aside from that, most mats come with a closed-cell construction, so cleaning is as easy as wiping down with soapy water and a rag. Don’t machine-wash your mat, please. And don’t use heavy chemicals either. At most, use a mild disinfectant; it will do.
Finally, some mats will come with the notorious rubber smell, but that’s okay as long as it goes away after you’ve aired it for a few hours to a few days.
Are you ready to pick out your favorite Pilates mat now? Of course you are! So, let’s go to our reviews of top Pilates mats in the market.
When people refer to Stott Pilates as the Ivy League of Pilates training, it’s because they know what they’re saying. This brand offers possibly everything that needs to be offered as it concerns Pilates training. It trains a wide range of students including yoga instructors, personal instructors, group fitness trainers, and more. And, of course, if your trainer is Stott-trained, you can take his word as law. Literally. Boasting an extensive DVD library, plus high-quality equipment and accessories, this brand offers several modules of trainings designed to suit all kinds of people with all kinds of schedules and budgets.
There are several reasons the Stott Pilates Deluxe Pilates Mat just stands out from the pack, aside from the fact that it’s designed by experts of Pilates themselves, which gives you the assurance that you’re working with one of the best Pilates mats you could come across. Possibly ever.
It comes with enough space for you to exercise conveniently (72 inches by 24 inches). And most importantly, it boasts a 15-millimeter thickness that supports your spine. You know how callous the hard floor can get. This mat cushions your spine and other joints, ensuring that you feel your best after a workout session.
Also, it comes with a non-slip surface that grips the floor firmly ensuring that you don’t slip off while working out, leading to some kind of injury or another. It’s literally got your back.
And with a closed-cell construction, you’ll find cleaning this mat so breezy, a simple wipe-down is more than enough to get it looking as good as new. Plus, it helps your mat to roll up pretty easily and nicely too.
You can be sure that this awesome mat is going to stay with you through many, many Pilates sessions, but please do take note that the manufacturers recommend that you keep it out of sunlight and avoid placing things on top of your mat to retain your mat’s shape.
This mat can be ordered in one of two colors: Graphite or Midnight Blue. Take your pick!
Sivan Health and Fitness is a fitness brand with a vision to aid its customers with everything they need for a healthier and fitter body. It achieves this vision by focusing on creating the best health and fitness products that equip the user with the ideal tools s/he needs to comfortably arrive at their fitness goals, whether at a local gym or right at home. Whether beginner or expert, there isn’t anyone yet who has found its products difficult to use; and adding the fact that its customer support system is out of this world, we find out why Sivan Health and Fitness has a huge customer base of diverse people from different parts of the world.
Sized for all sizes and ages of all kinds of people, the Sivan NBR Comfort Foam Yoga Mat is a great buy when it comes to yoga, stretching and toning, and of course Pilates. It’s got enough space to accommodate everyone and every routine position. You’ll love it!
With its half-inch thickness (the recommended standard thickness, by the way), and specially-designed memory foam, it comfortably cushions your knees, joints, and spine. But then it’s not too cushiony, and you can still get a good grip of the floor which you need for balance. Isn’t that awesome?
Also, its under surface is ribbed (ladies “ribbed” not “ripped”. Stop imagining things. Lol), so you can be sure that this mat is non-slip. You won’t miss a step because of this mat ‘cause it’s solid.
Even better, you can choose from an array of colors while ordering this mat—these include but are not limited to: pink, teal, and black.
What else do you need? Easy to clean? Check. Durable? Check, check. Lightweight and portable? It comes with carrying straps, so check, check, check. The only check that’s missing here is “order”. Get that box checked now!
If there’s any brand with a great sense of responsibility towards our planet, it’s Manduka. Inspired by this feeling, it makes every effort to ensure that its products are eco-friendly and long-lasting, which satisfies the customer and, in turn, helps to reduce global consumption. And even at this, it still keeps researching on more innovative ways to further take care of our planet, which is highly commendable. All products from this brand are designed by experts (including yogis themselves) which gives them the touch of excellence that the tons of customers at Manduka are now used to.
You asked for super dense and you got it! Designed by yogis themselves, the Manduka Prolite Yoga and Pilates Mat has got just the right level of ultra-density you need to enjoy your next Pilates session. Even though it provides a solid surface for your workout, the mat still provides enough thickness to protect your joints from the antics of the hard floor.
It’s made of a closed-cell construction, so whatever spills on the mat, stays on the mat; it doesn’t pass through. And this works because it means that it can go along with you for your heated yoga classes. Yay! No sweat, moisture, or dirt will be absorbed. And you know what this means, don’t you? Yep! Easy cleaning! Which is good because no one likes a chore.
Also, this mat pretty closely resembles your favorite jeans—it doesn’t wear out! Rather it wears in! That is, its grip improves over time instead of deteriorating. You’ll love this mat with age just like vintage wine. And then there’s the manufacturer’s solemn promise that the mat won’t peel or fade or flake no matter what. You can also order this mat in a variety of colors—make your pick!
Finally, this is the cherry on the sundae: it’s eco-friendly! This alone is a solid reason to get this mat, hun! Order!
There’s hardly anyone, sports enthusiast or not, who is not familiar with Reebok, a world-class brand with international achievements. It all began in 1890 when its founder, Joseph William Foster, created the first ever running shoes with spikes. And since then, it’s been innovation galore. From Step Reebok that revolutionized studio fitness to Reebok fitness to the Tough Fitness Movement, Reebok has continued to churn out industry-leading trends that many other companies within its industry are still finding difficult to keep up with. Keeping in mind the budget-consciousness of today’s world, Reebok tries to keep its products affordable, without ever compromising on quality.
The Reebok Pilate Mat is a great mat with great features that are custom-made for you. It’s extra large which means that you have all the space you need to roll, stand, lie, and do pretty much whatever you want to do, however you want to do it.
Also, it boasts an added thickness that supports your entire body and keeps you from feeling the harsh hardness of the floor. Your joints and spine will thank you after a session on this mat, no doubt about it.
Because it’s made from a single piece of foam, this mat maintains an even consistency whatever the case. Unlike a few mats that get out of shape with compression, this mat laughs in the face of pressure. It takes it like a champ and bounces back to “default setting”. You shouldn’t be scared to store your things on top of it should space necessitate you to do that.
Finally, it’s durable and super easy to maintain. It even comes with eyelets that allow you to easily hang it on the Reebok mat rack (sold separately).
Get this amazing mat now! What are you waiting for?
The Reehut brand is a people brand as is evident in its service, products, and even what it says about itself. Here, success is determined by honest and fair dealings with customers which it seeks to use as a means to increase customer and shareholder value. Working hard to maintain a flexible structure and stretching boundaries to the limit in terms of creativity and innovation, customer satisfaction is hardly an issue at Reehut. Still proving its commitment to its customers, this brand ensures that all its many excellent products manage to be high-performance while remaining affordable. Like we said earlier, it is a people brand.
When affordability meets genius, you get the Reehut NBR Exercise Yoga Mat. This mat is so good, we feel like the manufacturers are practically giving it away.
It’s made of a high-density NBR foam material that offers insulation from the cold floor, so a cold winter won’t have to stop you from your workout now—you have a warm companion.
Also, it comes with a half-inch thickness which speaks volumes to your knees, joints, and spine. They won’t have to put up with painful conditions and you still get to go as intense as you like with your workout.
This mat is slip-resistant and also features an anti-tearing design which ensures that even under rigorous use (and pets and kids), your mat stays fine for eons. Plus, it’s eco-friendly. One more way we root for our planet!
Whether you’re traveling or going for a picnic, you can count on this guy. It’s lightweight, with straps which makes it easy to lug. Plus, it’s also nice for a great many things such as: picnics, as a play mat, or even as bedding.
Cleaning your mat has never been easier; with soapy water or diluted vinegar, and a simple wipe-down, your mat will be spick-and-span again. Great, init? And don’t forget you can order this mat in an array of colors as well—from green to purple, and many more!
Now you see why we say, it’s at a give-away price. Why not grab it?!
Ready to order some Pilates mats? Then let’s do this! Also remember that these brands have more Pilates mats than the ones we featured.