Updated April 2022
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Buying guide for Best gymnastics mats

Gymnastics can be a fun way for kids to stay active, increase their flexibility, build strength, and improve coordination. It’s also an effective way to teach concentration and discipline, which can be helpful in many areas of life. If you or a family member are really serious about gymnastics and want to practice at home, you must have the right equipment. A good gymnastics mat is an essential.

Gymnastics mats are used to practice basic tumbling skills. This includes cartwheels, handstands, front and back walkovers, and forward and backward rolls. Mats can also be used for practicing other sports or activities, such as karate, dancing, wrestling, and cheerleading. Your kids can even use it for cushioning when they’re just playing.

What type of gymnastics mat should you get? What price should you expect to pay? Mats come in varying thicknesses and sizes. They’re made of different materials, too. Read on to learn about your choices and what to consider as you shop.

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While injuries are always possible in gymnastics, the right mat can significantly reduce the risk.

Types of gymnastics mats

Folding mats, also known as panel mats, are some of the most commonly used mats for gymnastics practice. They’re available in a range of sizes and colors and often feature Velcro on the ends so you can adjoin multiple mats. The main benefit of these mats is that they fold for easy storage.

Cartwheel mats are designed to help new gymnasts learn the proper way to do cartwheels. They feature placement guides on the mat’s surface, so you know exactly where to place your hands and feet. Cartwheel mats also work well for handstand practice. Some cartwheel mats feature a built-in beam that allows kids to practice their balance beam routines.

Incline mats are meant for gymnasts who are practicing backward and forward rolls, log rolls, and walkovers. They’re available with inclines at several different heights. Notably, there is the potential for injury with these mats, so advanced skills usually shouldn’t be practiced on them.

Flexible roll mats, sometimes called “flexi-roll mats,” are ideal for gymnasts who are preparing for competition because these mats are meant to mimic competition flooring. They don’t contain springs like actual competition floors do, but they can help young gymnasts get used to the overall feel. These mats also roll up for easy storage. The term “Flexi-roll” was trademarked by the original company that made the mat. Today, it is casually used in the sport to describe other mats of this type as well.


Mat thickness

The thickness of a gymnastics mat is key to its performance. If a mat is too thin, it won’t provide the cushioning necessary to effectively absorb shock and prevent injuries. If a mat is too thick, it may make some routines difficult because the hands and feet sink into the material.

Most mats range from one to five inches in thickness. For the best performance, opt for a mat between 1 3/8 and 2 inches thick.

Mat size

You can find gymnastics mats in a variety of sizes. It’s important to determine where the mat will be used in your home. Measure that area first to see how much space is available. In general, it’s better to order a slightly larger mat than you need. That way, you won’t have to worry about it not being able to accommodate a certain stunt or routine.

If you’re concerned that you won’t have enough storage space for a large mat, opt for a foldable or flexible model that can be folded or rolled up when not in use.

Mat material

The outside cover of a gymnastics mat may be made of vinyl or PU leather. Vinyl is a popular option because it’s highly durable and offers a non-slip surface for safer tumbling. These materials typically cover a foam core, which helps absorb shock to protect the joints. A mat with a polyethylene foam core usually offers the greatest shock absorption.

Slide resistance

To avoid accidents, it helps to choose a mat with slide-resistant backing that keeps it from moving around during tumbling. However, many home gymnastics mats are designed to be reversible, so the surface is somewhat slick on both sides. This could cause the mat to shift when it’s in use. If you want a reversible mat but don’t want it to slide, vinyl could be your best option. The reason: vinyl mats tend to be slightly “sticky,” even on slippery floor surfaces.

Fire and moisture resistance

It’s important to consider safety when you’re buying equipment for children. For this reason, you may prefer a gymnastics mat that’s fire-resistant. Many mats also resist moisture (like sweat), which is important for the prevention of mold, mildew, and bacteria growth. It helps keep the mat from breaking down prematurely, too.


While the color of a gymnastics mat won’t affect its performance, your gymnast may prefer a certain color. There are gymnastics mats in basic neutral shades like black and gray, but younger kids often appreciate mats in bold, bright colors like red, blue, yellow, green, or purple. Some mats even feature panels in different colors for a rainbow-like effect that can be a lot of fun in a playroom.

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Gymnastics mat prices

Gymnastics mat prices vary based on size and thickness. Most mats cost between $30 and $250.


You can get a smaller mat that is approximately six feet long and 1.5 inches thick for $30 to $60. If you want something that is two inches thick, expect to pay $60 to $90 for the same length. These mats typically work best for younger children who don’t need much room for their tumbling moves.


Mid-size mats that are approximately eight feet long and 1.5 inches thick cost between $90 and $130. For a two-inch thickness, you’ll pay more — most likely between $130 to $160. These mats are best for older children who need more space for their gymnastics routines.


Large mats that are 10 feet in length (or longer) and 1.5 inches thick may cost between $160 and $200. For a two-inch thickness, the price is likely to fall between $200 and $250. These larger, pricier mats are best for older children and teens who need considerable space for their gymnastics routines.

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For your safety
Avoid gymnastic mats made with low-quality foam cores. Cheap foam has a tendency to disintegrate over time.


  • Most gymnastics mats can be cleaned with a mixture of mild dish detergent and warm water. Wet a sponge with the solution, and gently wipe it over both sides of the mat.

  • After cleaning your gymnastics mat, rinse it thoroughly with clean water. Leaving soap residue behind could make the mat slippery, which could in turn cause a fall. Allow your mat to air dry completely before anyone uses it.

  • You can use a vacuum to remove dust, dirt, or crumbs from the surface of a gymnastics mat, but it’s best to use a hose attachment rather than running an upright model over it.
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Most gymnastics mats shouldn’t be used outdoors because they’re not durable enough to hold up to the elements.


Q. How do I sanitize a gymnastics mat?

A. You can sanitize your mat with any disinfectant spray you have in your home. However, if you prefer to use a non-chemical option, mix one part water and one part white vinegar. Add several drops of tea tree oil, an antibacterial and anti-fungal essential oil, and transfer the mixture to a spray bottle. Mist the mat with it, and then wipe down the mat with a cloth or rag until it’s dry.

Q. What should I look for in a mat for a beginner gymnast?

A. A small or medium mat works well for kids who are new to gymnastics because they’re usually only learning basic tumbling moves like handstands and cartwheels. However, it’s important to choose a well-cushioned mat since it’s likely that new gymnasts will fall and stumble as they’re learning.

Q. What should I look for in a mat for an advanced gymnast?

A. For kids who already know the basics and most intermediate moves, a larger mat is best because they typically need more room to pull off moves like a roundoff back tuck. You also want a mat that’s thick enough to provide effective shock absorption; gymnasts doing advanced moves tend to land fairly hard and need protection for their joints. Durability should also be a major concern since advanced gymnasts are less likely to outgrow a mat than beginners.

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