View Full Version : Swain Flexi Roll Review - Gym Mats and Home Mats - Grappling BJJ Judo MMA

3/15/2010 1:31pm,
Howís it going everyone,

Just wanted to share my experience with a particular mat company that I use. Iím not sure if youíve heard of the Swain Flex-Roll (http://www.swainmats.com/flexi_custom.asp) mats or not. If you have Iím sure youíve heard many positive reviews and if you havenít now is a chance for you to get some info about them.

Iíve had experience with all types of training surfaces from wrestling mats, tatame mats, folding mats, and flexi-roll mats. I have to say that I pick the Swain Flex-Roll (http://www.swainmats.com/flexi_custom.asp) mats over any other mat on any day.

I purchased Swain Flex-Roll (http://www.swainmats.com/flexi_custom.asp) mats almost 4 years ago and I donít regret it for one second. Before then I had a mix of different brands of the rectangular tatame style mats at my academy.

Some things that I didnít like about the tatame style mats was:

- If they needed to be moved for any reason it was bit of a pain to move each one as each individual mat isnít extremely light.
- If you donít have them on a good surface or bordered they will move around a lot and having 40 to 70+ mats with creases and cracks is very annoying and on top of that very unsafe.
- If you have them on carpet you need to beware too, even if they are bordered because they may still slip and bunch up.
- When mopping because there are so many creases, the water would run into the creases and will eventually collect, creating bacteria and make it even dirtier in the long run. So if you did a routine cleaning and you picked the mats up it might not be so clean on the floor underneath.
- Based on price quotes Iíve received the tatame style mats are more expensive then the Swain Flex-Roll (http://www.swainmats.com/flexi_custom.asp)
- The tatame surface is pretty rough and causes mat burn very easy.
- The surface is more on the firmer side them most other mats
- When I had the traditional tatame mats after time they started to get moldy and even collected some water inside of them from the bottom.

As for wrestling mats, in my opinion they are personally best suited for middles schools, high schools, etcÖwhere you can store them and they pay for them with the school budget. They are really heavy, crack and crease, very slippery when used bare foot, and donít have as long of a shelf life.

What I like about the Swain Flex-Roll (http://www.swainmats.com/flexi_custom.asp).

- Extremely easy to set up
- For setting up a tournament or big gym you only need TWO people!
- Very easy to store in a corner of needed
- Extremely light depending on the size one person or usually two the most can carry one mat alone.
- Less spaces and creases. For my gym now I would need at least 40 tatame mats. That means more mats to move at a time and more creases. With my Swain Flex-Roll (http://www.swainmats.com/flexi_custom.asp) I only have 4 mats that can be rolled up in a couple of minutes and put to the side if needed. Sometimes I like to host parties at my facility and may want to roll the mats up so people can walk around the facility with shoes on.
- They roll up very easily. With wrestling mats it takes a lot of work to roll the mats up and multiple people. With Swain Flex-Roll (http://www.swainmats.com/flexi_custom.asp) you only need one person and then you just strap them up.
- Even with the tatame style surface you will get less mat burn then traditional rectangular tatame mats.
- The surface is more forgiving then the traditional tatame style mats Iíve experienced.
- While they are thinner then traditional grappling tatame mats they do just as good if not better in absorbing impact.
- They are very strong. After 4 years of consistent use they are still going strong with virtually no wear and tear.

Some Pics (The first 3 pics are of my mats which are 4 years old):





Additional Details:

- Comes in light-weight, custom sized 6ft wide rolls
- Available in 5/8 in, 1.25 in, and 2 in thicknesses
- Textured vinyl or smooth MMA vinyl surfaces
- Treated with Bio-Prufô antimicrobials to guard against mold, mildew, fungi, and odor-causing microorganisms.
- 6 Year Limited Warranty

Youíll see that more and more facilities (especially the mega gyms) are starting to use Swain Flex-Roll (http://www.swainmats.com/flexi_custom.asp) and my facility is one of them. Iím expanding my facility and going to be increasing my mat space by 1,500 square feet and Iíll be using Swain Flex-Roll (http://www.swainmats.com/flexi_custom.asp) so my students have more training space. I have the 1.25in thick mats and they work perfect for my BJJ school.

If you need home mats, they also make extremely portable home mats too. One person can carry them easily and you can move them anywhere. They are much easier to move then any other home mat Iíve ever seen.

You can check out the mats here: http://swainmats.com/flexi_custom.asp to get a quote and more details.

Here are some other customer reviews that I found about the Swain Flex-Roll (http://www.swainmats.com/flexi_custom.asp) home mats:

Swain Flexi-Roll Mat Review - BudoSeek! Martial Arts Community Forums (http://www.budoseek.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=17740)

3/15/2010 1:52pm,
Thanks for the review man. We will have our first class tonight in our new gym, but we are still looking for some new mats, so all the info we need all the info we can get.

3/15/2010 4:23pm,
Good write-up, but I'm not exactly sure why you needed to link every instance of "Swain Flex-roll".

Regardless, good stuff, thanks for posting it.

3/15/2010 7:27pm,
I also have Swain/Dollamur flexi-roll mats and honestly for the price I paid I was expecting more.

Don't get me wrong, I think they are great, but I don't know if they are best value.

Before I got the flexi-roll mats I was using cheap puzzle mats that cost about $1,500 to cover about 1000 sq ft of training space.

It cost over $6,000 to cover the same space with my brand new Dollamur flexi-roll mats.

The flexi-roll mats are light and extremely easy to move, but without a border or a lot of tape with will move around as much as any other mat. While puzzle mats lock together and Zebra Mats can be arranged in a pattern to minimize slippage, the flexi-rolls have long seams that go the length of the mat. When the mats slip you get one long continous gap and without a border or tape this happens often.

I also found it difficult to get my mats to lay completely flat. The edges would often roll up and there was always a slight change of elevation at the seams that would catch your foot if you slid across it. Dollamur offers "seamless" tape the matches the color of your mats, but it is so thick it ends up making two edges to catch your foot on instead of the one it was supposed to replace. On top of that, the seamless tape is meant to be permanent, and to only be used if you're not planning on moving the mats frequently, which completely goes against these mats best attribute. Normal mat tape works well, but your have to retape every time and that can be a pain.

Since buying the mats I have closed my commerical school and now run an after school program for kids. These mats are perfect for this, because I need to lay out and pickup the mats for every class. Unless you are in a similar situaiton I don't know if I can honestly recommend them.

Protection is good, but so were the old mats. Durability is ok. I have one student accdiently drop a escrima stick from waist height and it tore a hole in the vinyl top, that I repaired with a small square of the "seamless tape". I've had the mats for about 1.5 years and other small cracks a tears starting to show up.

Cowardly Lurker
3/16/2010 11:34am,
I've got two of the 5x10 home mats for my garage. Overall, I'm really happy with the quality of the mats. Like Punisher, the main gripe I have is with the seam. I currently tape them but for a home mat that's intended to be rolled out every day or two and put away after training, tape gets spendy. And not taping isn't an option, as they slip around on the cement.

For a rollout, home mat, some kind of velcro seam or something to keep the mats together would be much better. While I'm working to figure this out on my own, after dropping $400 on 10x10 worth of mat, I probably would have looked for something else if I'd known ahead of time.

3/16/2010 2:22pm,
I've got these same flex roll mats. I think they are awesome. They do move around a little bit if you don't tape them. But I taped them as soon as I got them and they have been great since. I actualy expected to tape them because I have broken toes between seems before. I have rolled on zebra mats and most of the guys hat mat burns all over the place. We don't have any with these swain mats.

And if you are going to be moving the mats, you can't get much easier than these mats. Those zebra mats are bulky and agrivating.

I agree that these mats are the best over all.

3/16/2010 3:15pm,
Good write-up, but I'm not exactly sure why you needed to link every instance of "Swain Flex-roll".

lol, the man likes his Swain Flex-Roll (http://www.swainmats.com/flexi_custom.asp)!

i know what he means with moldy, degrading tatami mats though. one time we had to lift up the mats as they were shifting a bit, and WOW, the stank, the stank! i smelled for the entire class and then some more. definitely cannot be healthy.

as to the tape problem mentioned, yes it is extrememly annoying to tape and untape each class, i read somewhere that this guy TIES up the mats around the side, once they've been laid down, and really tighten it up with a clamp, so there are no gaps between the mats. he said it saves him tons of time, every class. you won't get the same flatness as using tape, but the gruffy material will hold eachother pretty flat, once you stomp on them.

6/18/2010 11:01am,
A friend of mine has these in his BJJ school.
Something i really liked about them....
The surface is stiff with the spongy layer underneath.

This gives it a nice Spring Floor feeling (compared to wrestling mats which I am used to).

The surface gives a lot of traction but I don't like it without a Gi and it burned up the tops of my feet.
Would hate to get my face smashed into it...have had wrestling mat burn on my temples before. On this mat you might lose some skin :)