Sometimes, when you happen across a new item to purchase, some acronyms can seem like someone has taken the alphabet, thrown it into a blender, and out popped the names of these products. We understand that insider-specific terms may cause some trepidation when purchasing mats. So, let’s delve into each type of foam listed above to get a better lay of the land.
EVA foam, which stands for ethylene-vinyl acetate, is an extremely versatile and durable substance. It is the most common type of mat that you’ll encounter, and that’s because it’s a masterpiece of invention, possessing both cushioning ability and anti-bacterial properties.
EVA foam is a closed cell foam, and is comprised of small pockets of carbon dioxide which are formed inside of the foam during the foaming process. These pockets are self-contained entities, not able to absorb liquid, and this means that EVA is water proof and anti-bacterial.
XPE foam, or cross-linked (X stands for the crosslinking) polyethylene, is resilient and possesses more shock absorbing properties than EVA foam. It’s a much harder foam when compared to EVA foam, and is ideal for projects that require dense foam. Just like EVA, XPE is a closed cell foam, so it is also waterproof. As a result, it also has anti-bacterial properties.
Last, PU or polyurethane, is a soft, open celled foam which is porous. PU effectively breathes, capturing air inside pockets in the foam, and when someone lands on the foam, they crash on a pocket of air. It should be considered the softest of the foams mentioned, and is the primary foam used in crash mats to protect someone falling from a critical height (over 1.5m).
At British Martial Arts Mats, we offer a high density Judo mat made from reconstituted PU foam, chips of PU foam pressed into a high density foam. These Judo mats are wrapped in an PVC coating with an anti-slip latex base.