One of the things I'm asked the most in class is what mat I would recommend.
This is a really hard question to answer as we dont have a huge choice of Pilates Mat's, most mat's available in store are yoga mats which are not ideal for Pilates as they are too thin and offer no support.
The mat that I like the most at the moment is my Gaiam Premium Pilates Mat. It's not everything that I want but it's the best I've found so far.
What to look for in your Mat.
A good Pilates mat needs to be firm but cushioned, tho not too soft as its needs to support balance and alignment properly. It should be thicker than this mat but I haven't found one that is both firm and cushioned this mat is only 5mm but is thicker than other mats that i've found, ideally at least 10mm
Long enough and wide enough for your body, a plank is hard enough without you having your elbows or feet on the floor. I'm 5ft 8 so this is just long enough for me, if you are taller then this is no good.
Find a mat that doesn't stretch. Some of the thicker mats I have found stretch when doing Plank or triangle, again you don't want to make these moves even harder or worrying about slipping when doing these moves.
Judge the mat's texture. Touch the mat if you can to see how it feels and whether it will provide you with good grip, again we dont want you slipping or sliding when you get hot.
Choose a mat that folds up easily, stores away easily and stays flat when unfolded. This mat fulfils all of these requirements.
Choose your colour wisely as sadly I don't have a beautiful studio that I can keep clean (I hope my mam isn't reading this as she will no doubt have something to say about my cleaning skills, I take after my dad for that) so think about where you will be using your mat if like my clients it's in a church hall, it may make you leave little dirty foot prints on them so darker colours are a wiser choice. If you are using it at home choose your favourite colour, why not!
So at the moment my mat of choice is the Gaiam Premium Pilates Mat, I got mine from John Lewis but sadly they don't seem to sell them anymore (John Lewis buyers please get some Pilates mat's in) or you can purchase them directly from Gaiam themselves, here is the link. http://bit.ly/2aRCT8A They are now Blue, easier to keep clean. Another point, find a mat that is easy to wipe clean.
I would give this mat, 7.5/10. For home practice on a carpeted floor this is ticks nearly all the boxes and is reasonable priced at £25.99 plus p&p too, but for harder floors like the wooden floors in the venues that I teach in its just a little bit too thin. My search for the perfect mat continues, if you know of a great Pilates Mat please let me know.