What a good treadmill mat should do for you
These are the benefits of any quality treadmill mat
- Protect your floors from damage
- Protect your treadmill from dirt infiltration that will increase friction and shorten its useful life
- Make it easier to clean under and around your treadmill
- Fit nicely under your treadmill, not be so oversized as to create a trip hazard, or attract footprints and dirt you’ll only need to clean often.
- Provide a little extra noise barrier, particular for tenants below you
- Absorb hard shocks and modestly cushion your stride
How to find a good quality mat
Treadmill mats come in many sizes and thicknesses, and a wide variety of manufacturing quality.
Most of the discount mats you’ll find are made of thin, fragile materials – typically PVC – and are produced in China, where environmental standards leave a lot to be desired. One way to tell a mat is probably made of PVC is if it smells bad from toxic outgassing. Another way is if the treadmill feet leave impressions in the mat.
Rubber mats are firm, which is what you want. Ideally, you should never see deep impressions left by the treadmill feet. A mat that’s too soft will cause the treadmill frame to endure tortional stresses that will weaken welds and cause a variety of wear-and-tear issues, shortening the life of your equipment.
Recycled rubber mats – typically made of used tires – are much better for the environment. They keep tires out of the landfill, and reduce our reliance on ever-new resources.
A good, firm mat will not curl along the edges, creating an obstacle to trip over.