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Pilates is world-renowned for both its calming effect on the mind and its physical benefits. There really is nothing quite like unrolling your mat and stretching yourself into a toned body and a tranquil state of mind.
That being said, there is nothing worse than a flimsy, lumpy mat that leaves you sliding around the floor – that can certainly take your tranquillity away in seconds!
But how do you prevent this from happening and make sure your mat doesn’t leave you feeling more frustrated than you were at the beginning of your session? The answer is fairly simple. Get yourself a mat that is designed specifically for Pilates!
However, with so many mats available online, finding the perfect Pilates mat can be a confusing task. And, when you consider the fact that Pilates mats are different from yoga mats, the confusion levels grow even larger!
So, to help make things easier and make sure that the mat you choose sends you on your way to Pilates perfection, we have done the hard work for you and listed some of the best Pilates mats available.
We’ve also put together a handy buying guide and have the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Pilates mats.
Carry on reading and pretty soon you’ll know everything you need to know in order to achieve that perfect, tranquil state of mind on a super comfortable Pilates mat.
Top 5 Best Pilates Mats
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
Sivan is a company that prides itself on high-quality health and fitness equipment and they put a lot of focus on the importance of working out at home with quality products. Their Extra Thick Comfort Foam Mat is a popular choice for at-home Pilates and comes in five assorted colors ranging from a gorgeous pastel teal to a sleek, stylish black.
It comes in at half an inch thick and is 71 inches in length by 24 inches wide. This makes it perfect for all different body shapes and sizes. The mat is constructed using ultra-thick memory foam which means it will protect your knees and hands as well as giving your back the support it needs whilst you stretch.
The sturdy material also provides you with a better grip and stops your hands and feet from sliding and slipping whilst you work out. It also features a handy integrated strap, making it easy to transport from work to the Pilates studio – perfect for anyone who is on-the-go often. The extra thick NBR memory foam means that it is durable and designed to withstand daily use too.
- Available in a wide variety of colors to suit anybody’s taste
- Features an integrated strap for easy transportation
- The non-skid ridges to make it stable and improve your grip on the mat
- Constructed using super comfortable and durable NBR memory foam
- Easy to roll out and back up again
- Can be a little bit bulky if you are used to a thinner mat
- Not as water-resistant as some other mats on the market
BalanceFrom specializes in sports equipment to suit every need and their All-Purpose Extra Thick Pilates mat includes a knee pad and a carrying strap for transportation. This makes it the perfect choice for anybody new to Pilates or returning following an injury or has had a long time away from practicing.
The extra-thick design of this mat gives enhanced support when you’re in a kneeling position, and the included knee pad can also be used to provide hand support. The mat itself is made from high-density foam and comes in at half an inch thick, giving your whole body the sturdy support it needs as well as comfort.
The length and width is 71 by 24 inches which makes it perfect for all body sizes. It is non slip on both sides too, so there is no need to worry about losing your grip with sweaty hands and feet. This moisture resistance also means it can be easily washed down with soap and water after use.
- Comes with a knee pad to help give more support in kneeling positions and it can also be used to help support your hands
- Designed with a handy carrying strap for easy transportation
- Moisture resistant and easy to wash down after use
- Sturdy and non-slip thanks to textured sides, but still enough slip for good movement
- Available in a variety of colors
- May be more suited to some gentler Pilates for beginners, those who are returning following injuries, or time away, rather than people with a lot of Pilates experience
Gaiam pride themselves on being a wellness focussed brand and are well known for equipping Yoga and Pilates practitioners with the best quality equipment.
Gaiam’s Extra Thick Premium Mat comes in a variety of printed designs making it a popular choice for someone who does not want a plain color, and allowing you to inject a little personality into your Pilates session.
This Pilates mat is constructed using non-toxic PVC and is non-slip, making it perfect for daily use without the worry of an injury. It is textured too, meaning it has excellent grip and traction.
It is 6mm in thickness so comes in a little thinner than some others on the market, but this makes it extremely lightweight and perfect for carrying around daily between your home and the gym. Its length of 68 inches and 24-inch width makes it perfect for most shapes and sizes as well.
- The tranquil printed designs are unique and make a change from a plain color
- Made from a non-toxic PVC material which makes it a better choice for the environment
- Lightweight and thinner than other mats which makes it easier to transport and to do more challenging yoga positions.
- You’ll also receive a free downloadable yoga class with your purchase
- This Pilates mat does not include a carrying strap
AmazonBasics, who are part of the world-renowned Amazon brand, sell just about anything you could imagine. That does not stop them from making high-quality products that often become bestsellers though, and their Extra-Thick Exercise Mat is amongst their most impressive products.
This bestselling mat is made from 100% NBR foam, making it durable, comfortable, and lightweight enough for daily use as well as being easy to clean. It also comes with a carrying strap that stops it from unrolling when propped up or kept in the studio between uses.
Measuring in at half an inch thick, it gives the cushioned support we all look for from a Pilates mat, as well as supplying a sturdy base for all exercises. The textured surface means it is non-slip and will support you through stretching as well as more intense positions.
Its 74-inch length means that it is extra roomy, and along with the 24-inch width it is ideal for every body type. These measurements also make it the ideal choice for taller people who would normally struggle to find an accommodating Pilates mat.
- Carrying strap included for easy transportation
- Longer length than most on the market which makes it perfect for taller users
- A number of color choices to suit anybody’s personal taste
- Textured surface to ensure non-slip, but still smooth enough to allow for good movement
- Cushiony material for support
- Not suitable for wearing shoes on, just barefoot or socks so will not suit those who prefer to wear shoes in their practice
Retrospec is a brand that is known for its dedication to outdoor pursuits such as cycling and surfing. From a brand with a huge health and fitness focus, Retrospec’s Solana Mat is a popular one, and it’s also the thickest mat on our list.
Constructed from premium BPA free material to ensure quality as well as durability and comfort, it is designed to alleviate pressure and stress on joints, hands, and feet. The aim of Retrospec’s mat is to enable the user to enjoy their workouts without having the added stress of worrying about slipping or experiencing pain in their problem areas.
At 72 inches by 24 inches the size of the mat is perfect for all body shapes and sizes, as well as being a generous size for home or studio use. The carrying strap that is included makes it an easily transportable product for anyone who is on-the-go a lot or has to travel from the studio to work.
- Available in a huge variety of colors and printed designs
- Also available in either 1-inch or half-inch thicknesses to suit your personal preference
- The thicker design helps alleviate pressure, so great for those with existing injuries
- Carry strap included for easy transportation
- Constructed from a BPA-free material
- The thickness of this mat makes it a little more difficult to roll up at first, but this soon eases up over time and use
Best Pilates Mats Buying Guide
The benefits of participating in Pilates are numerous, from improving muscle tone, suppleness, and balance to the many positive effects it can have on your mind and mental health.
However, practice with the wrong mat or, worse still, without a mat and you won’t reap the benefits nearly as much as you would with one.
Choosing a Pilates mat can seem overwhelming at first and this is mainly due to the plethora of choices we have available. But, by focusing on your own specific needs, finding the perfect Pilates mat can be a lot easier.
The main considerations to take into account when choosing one are how often you will be using it and whether you will need to transport it around with you throughout your day. Below, we’ll go further into what to look for when you’re shopping for a Pilates mat and help guide you towards the best possible choice.
Size and Thickness
Compared to a yoga mat, a true Pilates mat will be thicker. They should always be at least 6mm in thickness but more often than not they are much thicker than that again, up to half an inch or even a whole inch.
Pilates mats are also often much bigger in length and width. This doesn’t only make them better for practicing certain Pilates exercises, but also makes them more of a universal option for a variety of body shapes and sizes.
The thicker, bigger mats ensure that your back is well protected too. Pilates practices often incorporate a lot of spinal rolling and a longer amount of time on your back – imagine how painful that would be on a thinner mat!
Another thing that is often discussed in the comparison of Pilates mats with other exercise mats is the texture of the mat. Ideally, you do not want to be sliding around on your mat, nor do you want it to slip on a smooth surface.
There should be an ample amount of traction to allow for a good range of movement into your Pilates positions, for this reason, you do not want a mat that is sticky like a yoga mat.
That being said, a textured surface is ideal particularly for the underneath of the mat as it will stop it from slipping underneath you and sliding to the other side of the Pilates studio.
Some Pilates mats include carrying straps, and these are really good for helping you easily transport your mat between your home and your Pilates studio.
These carrying straps are often designed to wrap around your mat and keep it rolled up in place too. This means that your mat will be much easier to store away safely when it’s not in use, keeping it well protected and out of the way until your next Pilates session.
Color & Design
Although the color and design of your Pilates mat won’t make too much difference to its performance, it’s always nice to inject a little bit of your personality into your fitness routine.
Many mats are available in a variety of different colors to suit any taste and some even come in printed designs. So why not look for something that you absolutely love, rather than having to settle with a standard-issue mat that doesn’t really appeal to you aesthetically.
In general, the ideal Pilates mat should be something that you are comfortable with that follows the various guidelines that have been recommended in this buying guide. It should be thick enough to provide adequate comfort and support for back-focussed stretches and exercises (at least 6mm but ideally half an inch to an inch).
As well as this it must be durable if you are planning to have it for frequent use. It may be beneficial to ensure that it can be easily transported too through the inclusion of a carrying strap. This will allow you to easily transport it between your home and your Pilates studio.
Ensuring that there is enough texture on that mat to stop it sliding from under you is also a big consideration, as well as guaranteeing that you will have enough opportunity to easily move into each position on your mat.
Frequently Asked Questions
How thick should a Pilates mat be?
Definitely over 6mm but ideally around half an inch or more to allow for proper cushioned support during back exercises.
What material is best for a Pilates mat?
Most mats now are made from non-toxic PVC or foam. Companies often try to ensure the materials they use are non-toxic and are better for the environment.
There are also an increasing number of Pilates mats being made from recycled rubber and jute.
Can I use my Pilates mat for other exercises such as yoga?
Yes, most Pilates mats are ideal for other floor-based exercises and stretches. Yoga can be done on a Pilates mat but bear in mind that Yoga mats are typically thinner than Pilates mats, and so you may find it unsuitable for that purpose.
In general Pilates mats are durable and easily transportable making them the perfect all-rounder.
Do I really need to use a Pilates mat in my practice, or can I just use a towel on the floor?
It is definitely a recommendation that a good quality Pilates mat is used whether you are a seasoned pro at Pilates or a beginner with no prior experience.
This will help ensure that your risk of injury is kept to a low and your whole Pilates is experience is made more enjoyable.
Is Pilates beneficial for weight loss?
When used in conjunction with a healthy diet and cardiovascular exercise, Pilates can certainly aid your weight loss journey.
Pilates actually has multiple health benefits. It can help tone you up, improve muscle definition, and even help improve your posture and mobility.
What is better – Yoga or Pilates?
Both Yoga and Pilates have their own separate health benefits as well as some very similar ones that overlap. You can practice both in conjunction with each other as Yoga has a huge focus on breathing exercises and finding inner peace with your mind as well as body as you work through your practice.
Pilates is a little more energizing in comparison and works more at strengthening muscles. Pilates can also incorporate other equipment such as reformers (also known as a Pilates machine). Neither is better than the other, they are both wonderful forms of exercise and mindful practice.
How often do I need to do Pilates?
There is no right or wrong amount to practice Pilates, however, to really see the benefits Pilate pros and health professionals alike recommend practicing three times a week at the very least. It is an ideal practice to do daily and it would certainly have many health benefits if that was the case.
As with any activity, the more you partake in Pilates, the more benefits you will see and the more likely it is to become a habit.