Best Training Mats for Striking and Standup Martial Arts

Despite the absence of grappling and heavy groundwork, choosing the right training surface is critical for the performance and effective training involved in standup martial arts. Striking may involve your hands, elbows, and legs, but every punch and kick involves the use of your feet for balance and strength. As such, the importance of the surface you train on can’t be understated.  

Whether you are building a home gym or an official training center, you need to find the ideal training surface, and many people choose foam martial arts mats for many good reasons. 

They Comfort AND Stability

The internal core of foam training mats is made from a high-quality open-cell polyurethane foam that offers a high level of protection and stability. This type of foam not only braces against falls because of how it compresses, it also retains its natural shape, gently pushing back against your feet as they press against it. This offers an unbeatable level of stability as you move around on them. 1” Zebra Mats, the standard for any striking art, allows fighters to maintain their footing while practicing kicks, spins, and any other strike using any part of their body. 

You won’t get this same combination of protection and support from any other training surface, including rubber mats, wood floors, vinyl planks, etc. 

Quality Surface with Grip

The second key component to stability in martial arts training is the surface of the floor. When you’re barefoot, the surface underneath your feet will be the primary source of your grip, which impacts your footwork and every punch you throw and kick you make. 

The exterior of Zebra Mats is a high-quality vinyl that is available in both smooth and tatami textures, with tatami being the favorite of gyms that concentrate on standup martial arts. This tatami-textured vinyl covering offers the greatest amount of grip on your feet while training, all while remaining durable, easy to clean, and comfortable to train on. 

Are 1” Mats Necessary?

While 1” mats are the preferred choice for many gyms, they are not the only option. Many gyms that primarily train for standup martial arts often choose 1.5” Zebra Mats, which are the standard for many tournaments put on by organizations like the ATA. 1.5” mats offer more padding for grappling and groundwork while maintaining the stability needed for striking, boxing, and any mixed martial arts. The 0.5” difference in thickness is a matter of preference, and both mat options can be the ideal flooring for your training space. 


Need help choosing the right mats for your gym? We can help. We’ve outfitted countless gyms with our industry leading mats. We can help you make the right choice based on your facility, how you train, and your budget.