What Makes a Good Puzzle Mat for Martial Arts Training?

Puzzle mats are not just for playrooms and daycares. They are a serious, affordable, flooring option for many gyms and martial arts training centers. However, there’s a big difference between the quality of the puzzle mats you’ll get from a professional company and those you can find from large online retailers and brick and mortar stores. 

Not all puzzle mats are created equal, and it’s important to know how to tell the good ones apart from the low-quality ones. Price can be an indicator, but it’s not THE indicator. The puzzle mats you use for your training space should be made from high quality materials and built to last, all while being more affordable than other professional flooring types. 

Looking for puzzle mats for your training space? Here’s what you should be looking for before you buy. 

Foam Density

Most puzzle mats are made of foam, some are made from rubber. While rubber puzzle mats are ideal for weightlifting and general fitness, martial arts and MMA facilities will want their flooring to be softer, which is why foam tiles are a much better option. 

The quality depends on the foam density. Zebra Puzzle Mats are made from a dual density EVA foam (Inner: 4 lbs. per cu. ft./Outer: 6 lbs. per cu. Ft.) This combination foam provides a soft, comfortable surface while maintaining the integrity of the foam. This means that your puzzle will gently compress, absorbing the shock from a fall, without compressing too much. When foams compress too much, they feel mushy, which creates an unstable surface that can cause, not prevent injuries (extra soft surfaces can result in ankle and knee injuries). 

Make Sure They’re Waterproof

Some foams absorb water like a sponge; it’s what they are made to do. The foam in your puzzle mats should actively prevent water and moisture from penetrating its surface and being absorbed by the material. When water gets into and under your mats, mold can grow and cultivate. This makes keeping them clean a chore. 

Zebra Puzzle Mats have a waterproof surface that is easy to clean because it keeps water out. They can be cleaned with the same mat cleaners used on higher-end martial arts mats without fear of damaging them. 

Good Surface Grip

Lower end puzzle mats have a surface that holds onto sweat and moisture, which is why they can feel slippery while training. Zebra Puzzle Mats are textured with a light tatami surface that maintains a healthy and comfortable grip on your feet as you move. This creates a more stable surface that allows you to move around easily without worrying about losing your footing while you train. 


You don’t have to wait to get the best puzzle mats in the business. Everything is available in our online store. Shop for your new flooring at Zebra Athletics today!