Best Options for Pilates Mats – Thick, Organic, Phthalate-Free, and Least Expensive
What follows are reviews, comparisons, and information for my choice of the best exercise mats for Pilates. They are thicker, firmer, and with minimal stretch. I am concerned about off-gassing of harmful chemicals so I also present PVC, TPE, phthalate, and latex-free options.
There are many fine mats at lesser thicknesses, but for Pilates, thicker is better. For more about why a thick mat is best and other tips for buying the right mat go here. Also included here are my favorite organic options.
SISSEL® Gym Mat – Best Thick Mat Option
This is the mat I use. Not the cheapest at about $60 plus shipping, but it’s not the most expensive either, and after years of use and cleaning I can attest to the fact that this mat lasts! High quality closed cell, thick, minimal stretch, and phthalate-free. In my opinion it’s the best quality thick roll-up mat.
What Sissel Says
This product “provides a pleasant, warm, hygienic, easy to clean surface for your workout. It has optimal shock absorbing qualities, and is easy to roll up for better storage and transport.”
The size is 180cm (70.9″) x 60cm (23.6″) x 1.5cm (a bit over 1/2″ thick). Colors are blue, red, and green. Made in Sweden. Non-slip ribbed surface. Does not stretch too much. Seamed around all the edges to eliminate fraying. No PVC, phthalates, or chemical off-gassing. Closed-cell foam. No straps but you can order a carrying bag as seen in the picture. Not made of recycled material, but is recyclable. With bag $63 plus shipping.
Aeromats™ Dual-sided Premium ELITE AEROFIT Exercise Mats
These are the thickest (5/8″ and 3/4″) and cheapest (starting at $40 plus shipping) phthalate-free foam roll-up mats. These are now my favorite mats since Sissel stopped making a wider mat. Personally I much prefer a wider mat than the standard 2′ and once you try one you’ll never go back to the standard size. However, they are made in China where quality control is iffy – the contents of some foam products have been found to contain toxic chemicals. Aside from this well-deserved mistrust of China’s quality control, this is a fine mat option.
The TPE in these mats is a healthier alternative to the cheaper mats made of PVC, but it’s important to realise that TPE is not entirely safe either. For a detailed explanation click here. For example, I found this comment from one user: “I bought and used one of these mats from Aeromat. I took it to the studio and removed it from its sealed packaging and then worked out on it for 90 minutes. It had a distinct chemical smell. The manufacturer has since told me that I didn’t smell chemicals, but the “natural odor of the foam.” In a later email I was told that the ‘pvc, phthalate free matt’ is “a blend of natural and synthetic rubber”…”
Four sizes ranging from 2′ to 3′ wide, and 4 1/2′ to 6′ long. Thickness is 5/8″ to 3/4″. Prices start at $19. Colors are blue, green, and black. You can also buy the mats with straps or a bag for easy carrying. There is also an “EcoWise” model that is “constructed from New EcoWise TPE closed cell foam material that is latex, PVC, and chloride free.” This mat is 72” long x 23” wide and 5/8″ thick in blue or green.
What Aeromat Says
The Aeromats website says: “these premium mats are constructed of tear resistant closed-cell polyfoam that provides extra cushion for added comfort plus insulation from cold floors. The mats are water resistant and each mat contains two non-slip sides; one smooth surface and another with a ribbed surface for added traction. Perfect for Pilates, stretching and daily workouts. All easy to roll up for storage or travel.”
Cheapest Thick Mats for Those Who Don’t Mind Foam With Phthalates
All these thick mats are under $20 plus shipping. In many cases there are a variety of colors to choose from and carrying straps included. All these products are PVC foam made in China. PVC foam has phthalates which have been proven to cause cancer, but to provide some perspective the smell (off-gassing) from these mats contain the same harmful odors found in a new car or plastic shower curtain. This somewhat harmful off-gassing does not pose any threat to your skin and dissipates within a few days after which there is no further harm to the lungs. I’m not suggesting ANY off-gassing is OK, but just keep it in perspective! I wouldn’t let kids play on them. Several varieties are available at Amazon.
Bean Products Natural Cotton Mat
This is my next mat! From an exciting company, all contents are eco-friendly and made in the USA. You can even custom order if you want thicker, wider, or longer dimensions. Most exciting of all – they have a 2″ thick all-cotton mat. The company rep recommends that you also purchase the all-cotton cover and wash that regularly instead of the mat. Only 10 lbs. And the price is extremely reasonable for the quality and durability. The mat comes in a natural white, but the all-cotton cover and carrying bag come in a variety of colors.
What Bean Products Says
From their website: “We’re passionate about our planet. We’re crazy about comfort. At our eco-friendly manufacturing facility we handcraft environmentally friendly home essentials designed with your wellbeing and our planet’s future in mind. And we’ve been doing it long before “green” was cool, since 1987. Our products are different, and they make a difference by providing superior comfort utilizing sustainable resources such as Organic Cottons, Hemp, Kaprok, Buckwheat Hulls, Natural Latex, and Recycled Poly Fiber.”
Cheapest Mat Straps
If you want a strap to keep your mat rolled up and easy to carry, go with the least expensive one! Made of sturdy nylon, it will last longer than your mat! For the best options check these out.