Choosing Between Tatami Textured and Smooth Yoga Flooring

When it comes to yoga flooring tiles, there are two primary choices:

  • Tiles with a tatami texture
  • Tiles with a smooth surface

Both are great options for yoga studios, but both offer a slightly different experience for those practicing yoga.

Tatami Texture vs Tatami

Before we go over the difference between tatami textured and smooth yoga tiles, it’s important to make one point: Zebra Yoga tiles are made with a tatami texture; they are not made from tatami itself.

Tatami is a traditional flooring material used in Japanese architecture and design. It is made out of rush fiber that is woven in and covered with cloth. It was traditionally made using rice straw, but more modern tatami mats are made with wood chip boards or polystyrene foam.

Tatami mats are known for their comfortable texture that allow for better grip, which is why they are an attractive surface for yoga. However, tatami mats have one big weakness: humidity. Because they are susceptible to mold, they are not very good surfaces for stuffy yoga studios or those studios that practice hot yoga.

So, what’s the difference between tatami mats and Zebra’s tatami-textured tiles? Zebra tatami-textured tiles are made out of the same foam interior covered with waterproof vinyl as our martial arts mats and smooth yoga tiles. This makes our tatami-textured tiles great for humid environments and hot yoga studios. Although they are not made from the same materials as tatami mats, they do feature the same grippable surface that is rice straw textured, meaning you get the comfort and grip tatami mats are known for without their weakness to humidity.

Are Smooth or Tatami Yoga Tiles Better?

This is heavily dependent on the personal preference of you, your yoga instructors and your students. Some yoga facilities and students prefer the look and feel of tatami-textured mats while others prefer the more modern look of smooth mats.

Are Smooth Yoga Tiles Slippery or Less Safe?

Just because they do not have a tatami texture doesn’t mean that smooth yoga tiles offer any less comfort or stability. They will still hold yoga mats and students in place during all types of yoga sessions. With a density of 14 lbs. per cubic foot, they both offer the same amount of protection and shock absorption.


Need help choosing the right yoga tiles for your facility? Contact Zebra Athletics today.