Marie Claire is supported by her audience. If you shop through links on our site, we may receive a commission on some of the items you choose to purchase.
Better does not always mean more expensive.
So you’re looking for gym mats but want to invest in an option that won’t also shift and fall apart in the store throughout the year?
Fortunately, I’m a health editor who makes a living reviewing fitness kits and gym equipment, and I’ve put gym mats through their paces for you. That’s right – every mat in this round-up has been tested, and I personally recommend them as the top four gym mats you can buy.
Why gym mats you ask? Because while many of you may have rushed back to the gym, there’s an army of others who now prefer the ease of a home workout.
The pandemic has changed all of our attitudes towards fitness, and while many were excited to get back to gym class as soon as possible (I’ve never been so excited to go to a Barry’s), others clung to the comfort of being out of the Rolling the bed makes your living room sweat. Each on their own – every move is move, after all – but we can totally understand why you might choose to do a home session if you’re short on time or money (because FYI, home workouts are also mostly free).
While you’re here, don’t miss my roundup of the best yoga mats, and keep scrolling for gym mats for high-intensity interval training, strength training, stretching, and more.
These are the only 4 gym mats worth the money
Note here: The following are not the interlocking gym mats you see in real life gyms or crossfit boxes, but the type of gym mats perfect for Joe Wicks workouts or strength training at home.
How are they different from yoga mats? Short answer, some of them aren’t, but the ones that differ are slightly thicker and better padded to support your joints during high intensity jumps and whatnot.
Best Thick Gymnastic Mat:
Floor Mat – £24.99 | decathlon
Dimensions: 180cm x 60cm
If you want my honest opinion, this is one of the best gym mats out there. Sure, it’s not 100% non-slip, but it’s padded enough to make up for it. At 15mm thick I found it to be the perfect companion for both low and high intensity workouts. I even used it as a sleeping pad… that’s how thick it is. Note though: I wouldn’t recommend it as a backing to and from class for the same reason. Instead, opt for a thinner, lighter option.
Best cheap gym mat:
adidas Training Mat – £28.99 | Amazon
Dimensions: 183cm x 61cm
At just 10mm thick, this adidas training mat is nowhere near as cushioned as the Decathlon option, but has better grip and non-slip properties for exercises like lunges, Bulgarian split squats and so on. Thanks to its waterproof exterior, it’s also wipeable, meaning it stays cleaner longer than other alternatives.
Best Exercise Mat for Weights:
Super Grip Yoga Mat – £65 | Sweaty Betty
Dimensions: 183cm x 62cm
This is my favorite home workout mat – I’ve had it for a few years now and it’s just as grippy and cushioned as when I first got it. Sure it’s designed for yoga and sure it’s only 4mm thick – about a quarter the thickness of the Decathlon mat – but I’ve always found it great for any workout, not just yoga, and super cushioned too. Also, there were no post-workout marks on this mat, unlike many other mats I’ve tried.
Best Amazon Gym Mat:
Yogi Bare Paws Yoga Mat 4mm – £74.95 | Amazon
Dimensions: 180 x 66 cm
Last but not least, I’ve had a Yogi Bare mat since I met founder Kat about five years ago while I was working at Women’s Health Magazine. When they say the mat is “extremely non-slip” they mean it – I’ve never slipped while using it – plus they’re eco-friendly and made from sustainable rubber. I love that the closed cell rubber used to make the mats is naturally bacteria resistant, so never – and I mean never – smells bad.
What should you look for in a gymnastics mat?
That’s what makes an exercise mat different from a yoga mat – with an exercise mat you’ll probably be looking for something that will cushion your landing and protect your joints during movements like star jumps, high knees, etc. while with a yoga mat, you’ll probably want something thinner but with better support, like the Yogi Bear option above.
That said, if your type of workout is a yoga flow or Pilates routine, a yoga mat might work. Just train what you prioritize, buy ahead.
While grip is most important for workouts like yoga, where you flow between yoga poses, there’s nothing more frustrating than losing your mid-plank grip and having to start over. We also tested the above for grip as I believe all good gym and yoga mats should have some level of grip before investing in them.
After all, no one wants to buy an exercise mat that marks the second you put your barbell on it or that stains when you sweat on it. The four above are easy to clean and have never left a mark despite putting kettlebells, dumbbells and other exercise equipment on them for over 2 years.
Oversized gym t-shirts ready…
How are the products tested?
Good question. As a health editor who runs marathons for fun, I personally test every sports bra, training legging, running short, and general-fit kit that ends up in these round-ups.
How can you trust that they actually work? Because I run marathon after run, have been in the industry for over six years and have tried many things in my time.
With gym mats, those who did the editing had adequate cushioning, didn’t move during the workout, and didn’t cost the earth either. Spoiler alert: I don’t think something you’re training for should cost a bomb, so recommend the lower price point options (Decathlon and Adidas) if you’re on a tight budget.
The above didn’t stain, sweaty or slip, all important things when you’re spending your hard-earned £££ on workout gear.