How to Buy a Wrestling Mat

Buying a wrestling mat is one of the most important investments you can make for your school or club. Wrestling mats are not cheap and it can cost a small fortune to equip your wrestling room. Choosing the right mat and manufacturer can make all the difference in the life and value of the mat.

Mat Type
The first thing you'll need to do is choose the type of mat you want. In North America, there are basically two types of mats. The first, manufactured by Dollamur (Speith Anderson) is the lightest wrestling mat on the market and is made with a trocellen closed cell polyethylene foam. The top side contains a protective vinyl covering while the bottom side is covered with needle punch carpet to provide durability and non-slip traction. Mats are available in 5/8, 1.25, and 2 inch thickness.

The second and more common type of mat is made of a polyvinylchloride (PVC) foam. These mats range in thickness from 1 to 1.25 inches. The two main manufacturers of these mats are Pinnacle Athletics and Resilite. Unlike the lighter polyethylene foam, PVC foam is heavier and tends to have a higher density per square inch providing greater shock absorption. In addition, the PVC foam is covered on both sides and edges increasing the life of the mat. Unlike the polyethylene mats, the PVC mats can also be repaired or reconditioned to add extra life to your mat.

For portability, the polyethylene foam is probably the best choice, although you will need additional storage space since these tend to take up more space when rolled. If space is at a premium ,the PVC foam is a better option as it tends to roll much tighter and will therefore fit into smaller spaces.

With the proper care and maintenance you should get at least 10-15 good years from your mat. With a PVC foam mat, you should be able to double the life by repairing gouges or marks or reconditioning when necessary. For schools that will be sharing the mat with other sports/classes it's best to go with a PVC foam mat since it tends to hold up better from student abuse. Unlike the polyethylene foam which has opened edges, the covered sides and edges of the PVC foam make it more difficult for the students to pick and gouge the foam.

Mat Size
After choosing the type you'll need to decide what size of mat you need. Most mats are made individually and can therefore be customized to meet your unique size requirements. In the case of high school and college, specific sizes are needed for competition. The NCAA requires a 42' x 42' mat with a minimum wrestling circle of 32' while US High school rules require a 38' x 38' mat with a minimum wrestling circle of 28'.

For home use, there are two standard sizes; 10' x 10' and 12' x 12'. Home mats are great for younger wrestlers who want to get a bit more practice on their own time outside of regular practice hours or in the off season. Dollamur, Pinnacle and Resilite all produce home mats.

  • 10' x 10' (small home)
  • 12' x 12' (average home)
  • 20' x 20' (small school)
  • 30' x 30' (small school)
  • 32' x 32' (regular school)
  • 38' x 38' (regular school)
  • 40' x 40' (regular school)
  • 42' x 42' (large school)

For customized mats you'll need to account for shrinkage as most mats shrink during the manufacturing process (Dollamur mats tend to shrink less than PVC mats from Pinnacle and Resilite). Generally, you'll need to account for between 2-6% shrinkage, especially if you are trying to lay the mat from wall to wall. Check with the manufacturer for the exact amount when placing your order.

Mat Colors
You can choose almost any color or combination of colors for your new mats. The standard colors include:

  • black
  • burnt orange
  • cardinal red
  • columbia blue
  • chocolate brown
  • dark green
  • dark maroon
  • light maroon
  • gray
  • light gray
  • kelly green
  • light gold
  • medium green
  • navy blue
  • old gold
  • penn state blue
  • orange
  • purple
  • teal
  • white

Depending on the layout of the mat you can also choose to have multiple colors on your mat. For example, on a standard layout, you may choose Columbia blue as the main color and white for the lines, lettering and insignia.

Mat Layout
Most mats come in a variety of layouts including the standard freestyle and international layouts. In addition, you can also choose to have a two tone, a three tone layout or smaller practice cirlces.

Mat Costs 
While Dollamur mats tend to be slightly more expensive than those from Resilite and Pinnacle, you can expect to pay around $3.50 - $4.50 US per square foot for a new mat. Therefore, a new 40' x 40' mat will cost between $5600 - $7200 US. If your budget is tight you can have your old may reconditioned (PVC mats only) for around $1.50-$1.75 per square foot. Depending on your location and the distance from the manufacturer, the shipping costs can also add a substantial cost to the final cost.

Most manufacturers offer a one to three year guarantee so if there any problems caused from the manufacturing process it should be fixed.

Extras
The last step is choose letter and school insignias. Most manufactures will print your school name and or logo on one or both sides for an extra cost.

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