How to choose the Right Foam Density? A Complete Overview - Gym Plus
Gym & Fitness
  • Gymnastics
  • January 30, 2024 4 min read

    We know we have quite a few types of mats… but we do not want to make choosing the right one for you to be an overwhelming experience, let us help you find the right answer!

    What is foam density?

    Foam density refers to the weight of a foam material per unit volume. It is measured in kilograms per cubic meter (kg/m³). Foam density is an important factor to consider when choosing any of our mats, soft play modules, ninja gym equipment, flooring, and post and wall padding as it directly affects its function.

    However, a common misconception is the higher the foam density the more durable and higher in quality it will be, this isn’t necessarily true - more on this later.

    Why is density important?

    The main reason is that it affects the function of a product, you wouldn’t want a very high-density foam to be used as a crash mat on the edge of a trampoline, because well that would hurt. You would want to land on a cloud or even better our MEMAX Soft Pit Crash Mat. If we were to switch that, you wouldn’t want to do box jumps on a soft foam because that would sink and not be stable you would need a product with higher density such as our ATTIVO Dense Foam Plyometric Jump Box.

    Let's talk about quality!

    To reiterate what we mentioned previously, high density does not always mean high quality! While high-density foams do have more capacity to withstand more pressure, there are many other factors that affect the quality of all foams no matter the density. This can get quite technical so we will try to keep it digestible and not bore you with the science basically:

    1. Ingredients Matter:
      • The materials used to make foam, like polymers and additives, affect its density as well as the purity and quality of ingredients matter for consistent foam density.
      • We will explain different types of foam we offer when we discuss products!
    2. Blowing Agents:
      • Substances that create gas during foam formation impact the final density.
    3. Cell Structure:
      • The size and arrangement of foam cells influence density.
    4. Production Conditions:
      • Factors like temperature and pressure during manufacturing affect foam density.
    5. Compression and Expansion:
      • How much foam is squeezed and expanded plays a role in density.
    6. Setting Time:
      • The time it takes for the foam to set impacts its density.
    7. Foaming Technique:
      • The way foam is created (open or closed cell) affects its density.
    8. Post-Treatment:
      • Additional processes after foam formation can alter its density.

    Yes, surprisingly there are a few things that go into foam - who would have thought, but what you need to remember is that high density does not always mean high quality. At Gym Plus quality is always at the top of our mind, we do what we do so that we can provide you, our customers with remarkable top quality products at great prices. We receive such amazing feedback from our customers on all of our ranges, but particularly our various foam products.

    Now that we have got all that out of the way let's talk about our products!

    A quick note:

    Here at Gym Plus we currently use 3 main types of Foams

    PU - Polyurethane Foam

    XPE - Cross-linked Polyethylene Foam

    EPE - Expanded Polyethylene

    Fun Fact: Did you know we design all of our products in-house? Carefully selecting foams, cover materials, placement of velcro and even stitches and openings, we are committed to controlling every aspect of our products to ensure you always receive the best items.

    Our Foam Products can be split into 6 categories:

    1. Gymnastic Training Aids

    PU 25-30 kg/m³

    Foam Training Aids for Gymnastics need to be stable, yet be able to be soft enough to prevent any injuries from occurring when being in use.

    A higher density PU foam is perfect for this use as it still provides a stable tool but if enough pressure is applied it can compress and be the safety between a gymnast and a move.

    2. Crash/Landing Mats

    This category can have quite a variety of different densities and thicknesses of mats. Our MEMAX mats are accredited to the Australian Standards AS4422:2016. These accreditations are determined by the density of the foam and the thickness. At Gym Plus, the range of our accreditations starts from 0.8m and extends to 5.1m. If you are unsure which mat is right for your use you can get in touch and speak with our friendly team.

    3. Ninja Gym Equipment

    EVA 25-30 kg/m³

    Ninja Gym modules, need to be able to withstand constant pressure. The foam inside them is an EVA type, a high-density alternative that can deal with being jumped on and heavily used by all people. This is the same type of foam found within plyometric jump boxes, such as our MEMAX Three Tier Spotting Block System. Be sure to check out our **MEMAX Ninja System - 15 Pieces,** for a great bundle. Some Ninja modules do require a softer less dense PU foam, particularly the crash mats/similar-use modules.

    4. Soft Play Modules

    PU 22 kg/m³

    Even though it is hard to pick favourites, we do love the - Soft Play Modules :) These allow babies and toddlers to explore the world around them, as well as the movement of their bodies. Our soft play modules are fitted with a plush yet stable PU Foam, allowing safe and gentle play that you won’t be concerned about. A great combo is our YOZZI Indoor Tunnel Maze Climber Foam Playset - 6-piece placed on top of our MEMATS 150 x 60cm for the optimal play zone.

    5. Martial Arts Mats

    XPE 40 kg/m³

    A new addition to the collection are our Martial Art Mats. These versatile mats can be used in all sorts of settings alongside martial art gyms. Designed to withstand takedowns and falls, they provide safety between you and the floor beneath without compromising on steadiness. These all-rounder mats boast a variety of upper materials from carpet, tatami, and engineered leathers.

    Hopefully, this article has clarified any questions you may have and if not you can always give us a call or email and we will be more than happy to assist you.

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