10 Expert-Approved Pilates Mats to Strengthen Your Practice
It's easy to assume Pilates mats are all made the same, but much like a comfortable pair of running shoes or a sports bra that's actually supportive, the right one can be a game changer for your practice. Whether you are new to Pilates or have been doing it for years, a good mat is worth investing in. And if your sessions are constantly leaving you with a sore tailbone or achy joints, it might be time for an upgrade.
To help you determine which Pilates mat is right for you — and to explain why a yoga mat won't cut it — we consulted experts Vanessa Johnson, a master Pilates instructor at Club Pilates, and Lynne Alberding, a Pilates instructor at BIÂN Chicago and the founder of CLĀ Fitness.
How to Pick a Pilates Mat
Both Johnson and Alberding agree that there are three main qualities you should look for when shopping for a Pilates mat.
Thickness: To properly cushion your spine, knees, and wrists, opt for mats that are on the thicker side. "The majority of Pilates mat exercises are performed on the floor," Alberding explains. "Therefore, you will want enough padding to make your workout effective and comfortable." Anywhere between 5/8 to 3/4 inches is considered ideal, but don't rule out thinner mats. "Thinner mats offer better stability and support for balance-focused movement," Johnson says.
Material: A good Pilates mat doesn't just provide cushion, it can also prevent slipping. "Textured or ribbed surfaces can provide extra grip, especially if you tend to sweat during your workouts," Johnson says. Even non-textured mats made with slip-resistant material can still go a long way.
Dimensions: You could have a Pilates mat that checks off all the other boxes, but it won't do you any good if the dimensions of the actual mat are off. "There are numerous fitness mats out there which are too short to properly perform Pilates mat exercise," Alberding warns. "Make sure your mat selection is long and wide enough for your height and particular needs." You want something that's at least as long as the length from your hips to the top of your head — though extra space is always a good idea.
Pilates vs. Yoga Mats
While there's nothing wrong with using a yoga mat for Pilates or vice versa, they're technically intended for different exercises. "Pilates mats are designed with a specific texture and grip for Pilates movements, so using a yoga mat for a Pilates exercise will not provide the best experience," Johnson says.
In general, Pilates mats tend to be thicker. Yoga mats are typically 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick, but 5/8 to 3/4 is ideal for Pilates, especially if you are practicing on a hard floor or have sensitive joints. If you do both yoga and Pilates, ideally, you should have a dedicated mat for each, but Alberding says a 1/4-inch Pilates mat can work if you want to invest in only one mat that can do both. Ultimately, you can choose whatever feels the most comfortable for you.
Don't have time to test out a bunch of different Pilates mats? Luckily, we've rounded up 10 of the best options on the market according to our experts' recommendations and customer reviews. Shop them all ahead.
Best Pilates Mat on a Budget
BalanceFrom All Purpose Exercise Mat ($23-$25)
Though it costs just around $20, this Pilates mat still has everything you need to help you perform your best. It has nonslip coating on both sides and lightweight yet thick cushioning, and it comes with an adjustable strap for easy transportation.
Why we love it: Your mat is covered by a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee and a two-year warranty, but based on customer reviews, you may not even need it — that's how sturdy it is. "It is durable and has held up to repeated contact with sneakers, but is comfortable to be barefoot on as well," one reviewer writes. "The mat does not slip during exercise and also comes with an adjustable handle for carrying. Wonderful!"
What's worth noting: The only major complaint customers have is that the strap is cheaply made and leaves marks on the mat.
Additional details: Size: 72" x 24" | Thickness: 2/5" | Material: High-density foam | Colorways: 2
Best Portable Pilates Mat
SPRI Exercise Mat ($23-$51)
This Pilates mat is a must for those always on the go. It's thick enough to properly support Pilates exercises but lightweight for convenient transportation from the studio or gym, and it also has a handle.
Why we love it: It doesn't unravel or curl and is easy to store. As one customer observed, "[It] rolls out completely flat and stays flat. Yet it can be rolled back into a cylinder (about 6" diameter) for storage, and will remain as a cylinder without being tied or taped up."
What's worth noting: This mat is on the small side, so make sure the dimensions can accommodate your body type and any exercises you plan on doing.
Additional details: Size: 46" x 20" | Thickness: 1/2" | Material: Polyfoam | Colorways: 2
Best Odor-Resistant Pilates Mat
Harbinger Antimicrobial DuraFoam Mat ($50-$70)
Especially if you do Pilates in a studio, your mat can easily harbor bacteria, which is precisely why Johnson recommends ones that have an antimicrobial or odor-resistant coating. This Harbinger Pilates mat is also moisture resistant, making it a solid choice for those wanting to keep the buildup of dirt and smells to a minimum.
Why we love it: The DuraFoam material isn't slippery at all, and the majority of customers find it extremely comfortable. "Any position, back, front, sides, knees, feet, hands, elbows, everything feels SO much better during exercising with this than on the older one I was replacing, not to mention the floor," one reviewer notes.
What's worth noting: The antimicrobial, anti-odor coating gives the mat a chemical smell that some find hard to ignore.
Additional details: Size: 72" x 23" | Thickness: 3/8" or 5/8" | Material: DuraFoam | Colorways: 2
Best Pilates Mat For Tall People
Merrithew Stott Pilates Deluxe Pilates Mat ($69, originally $80)
If your arms or legs always seem to be hanging off your Pilates mat, you'll definitely benefit from this extra-long one. It gives you a whole 78 inches of space to work with but is still very lightweight.
Why we love it: This Merrithew Pilates mat also has a ribbed texture, giving you maximum traction and grip. As one reviewer shares, "I am plus size but not too big, mostly bottom heavy. However I mostly purchased because I have had cancer and several major surgeries and now joint issues and this mat is so nice on my body but supportive while doing mat Pilates!!"
What's worth noting: Some customers have noticed that the material doesn't hold up well to wear and tear.
Additional details: Size: 78" x 26" | Thickness: 0.6" | Material: Foam and rubber | Colorways: 1
Best Cushioned Pilates Mat
Balanced Body Aeromat ($52)
This Pilates mat puts a generous 5/8 of an inch of cushioning between you and the floor. If you're in need of a plush mat with extra padding, this one comes highly recommended by Alberding.
Why we love it: It's made of closed-cell foam, which Alberding says is extremely durable and easy to clean.
What's worth noting: Because of how thick it is, this mat is bulky to carry around but doesn't come with a handle like larger models usually do.
Additional details: Size: 72" x 23" | Thickness: 5/8" | Material: Closed-cell foam | Colorways: 1
Best Pilates Mat For Beginners
If you are new to Pilates and haven't quite figured out exactly what type of mat works best for you, you can't go wrong with this Aeromat Elite Dual Surface Mat. It features one smooth side and one textured side, giving you the option to switch between the two during your workout if necessary.
Why we love it: It's made with durable closed-cell foam, and both sides are water-resistant. "I love this on my wood floor. It's soft on my joints and non-slip," one Amazon reviewer writes. It also comes in three size options, so you can choose the right one depending on your height.
What's worth noting: Aeromat warns that the mat will rip if you wear shoes on it.
Additional details: Size: 24" x 56", 23" x 72", 39" x 72" | Thickness: 3/4" or 5/8" | Material: NBR closed-cell foam | Colorways: 2
Best Luxe Pilates Mat
Bala Play Mat ($99)
Once you experience how comfortable and supportive this Pilates mat is, you won't regret spending $99 on it. Not only does it have a unique eye-catching design, but it's also premium quality. (If you own another piece of Bala equipment, such as its viral wrist and ankle weights or ring, you know what we mean.)
Why we love it: It fully wicks away moisture and is nonslip even if it gets wet, making it a favorite among customers. "After the first round of exercises I was hooked. It is the best mat I have ever used," one customer shares.
What's worth noting: Sweat and water tend to leave behind stains on the material.
Additional details: Size: 71" x 26" | Thickness: 8mm (a little over 1/4") | Material: | Colorways: 1
Most Versatile Pilates Mat
Stakt Mat ($86)
Most Pilates mats can only lie flat and roll up, but Stakt's can also fold. Alberding swears by this mat because the thickness can be easily modified to accommodate weight-bearing exercises that can be hard on your knees or wrists.
Why we love it: It works just as well for yoga and can be completely folded up into a step or block. "The foldability of it was something I hadn't anticipated being so useful," one customer raves. "It offers new exercises and more support. BIG fan and I love not having to grab a towel for extra knee support during exercises."
What's worth noting: Reviewers complain that the material is prone to scuff marks.
Additional details: Size: 69" x 24" | Thickness: 12mm (about 1/2") | Material: BPA-free foam | Colorways: 1
Best Mat For Pilates and Yoga
The more you use this Pilates mat, the grippier its surface is designed to become. If you want a mat that provides you with the most stability possible — and which you can also use for yoga and other types of workouts — you won't be disappointed by this highly rated Manduka mat.
Why we love it: The thinness of the mat allows for optimal balance, but it's still comfortable because of the high-density cushion. "Such a great mat! It [takes] a few classes to 'break it in' but once you do the grip is amazing! I need a little extra support for my knees after a few surgeries and this mat is great for that!" a reviewer writes.
What's worth noting: This mat is made from PVC, which means it isn't the most eco-friendly option despite how slip-resistant it is.
Additional details: Size: 71" x 26" | Thickness: 6mm (about 3/4") | Material: PVC | Colorways: 6
Most Durable Pilates Mat
Airex Coronella Exercise Mat ($117)
It'll be a while before you have to buy a new mat if you invest in this Swiss-manufactured Pilates mat. It's made of high-grade foam designed to withstand consistent use for years to come, and thanks to how heavy-duty the material is, it also lies completely flat and stays put while you're working out.
Why we love it: Even though it's very durable, it isn't hard or uncomfortable, as customers have pointed out. One calls it the "Gold standard of mats," adding, "These mats are extremely comfortable, they hold up unbelievably well over time! They are worth the money! I own and use several!"
What's worth noting: Weighing 4.9 pounds, this mat is on the heavy side and may be better suited for at-home Pilates vs. transporting to and from a studio.
Additional details: Size: 72" x 23" | Thickness: 3/5" | Material: Premium foam | Colorways: 4