Martial arts mats may come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but one the things many of them have in common is a vinyl covering. Why is vinyl such a common covering for mats, and why is it also the best option? Several factors make vinyl the best option for martial arts mats: ease of cleaning, waterproofing, durability, etc.
Martial arts training involves a lot of hard work and bare feet. This means that mats are constantly coming into contact with bacteria and other germs. Feet can leave traces of dirt and other outside material on mats and sweat may accumulate into a mineral deposit on the surface. Vinyl’s durable exterior makes it easy to scrub and clean surface dirt and liquids. This helps keep germs at bay, which is especially important in martial arts facilities as they seek to keep harmful pathogens, such as staphylococcus and ringworm, from contaminating their mats. Without vinyl’s ability to be cleaned thoroughly, it would be much more difficult to keep martial arts facilities safe.
An important benefit of vinyl as a covering for martial arts mats is vinyl’s water repellant capabilities. Anyone who has trained in martial arts or watched others train knows that martial arts training leads to a lot of sweating. This makes it essential for martial arts mats to be capable of repelling sweat and other kinds of fluids (blood, water, etc.) that might end up on the mats. Vinyl covering for martial arts mats is not entirely waterproof, as it is necessary that the mats have some breathability in order to keep moisture and air from being trapped and contributing to odors and bacteria development. Martial arts mats covered in vinyl will not be able to repeal copious amounts of water, such as in a major roof leak or flood. However, they can handle the basic realities of martial arts training, including keeping sweat, chemicals, and other fluids from penetrating the vinyl.
A third benefit of vinyl as a covering for martial arts mats is vinyl’s durability. Vinyl, particularly heavier vinyl, can take a lot of beatings before beginning to show wear and tear. In the case of martial arts facilities, this means heavy traffic from bare feet as they slide and move across the mats. When it comes to grappling, vinyl takes on movement from the full body and the heavy fabric of gis, which can cause significant wear on other types of flooring. Vinyl’s durability is also important in regard to standing up to the repeated cleaning necessary to keep martial arts facilities healthy for their students. Martial arts mats are cleaned daily, often more than once a day. A less durable covering would quickly show wear and tear from both the cleaning methods themselves as well as the chemicals used.