I have ordered several tatami mats over the years. After reading some of the reviews, I think that there is a great deal of misunderstanding about this item, its possible uses, and its resulting value to customers. I have lived in Japan so am quite familiar with the mats as used there. First, the mat is supposed to have a smell which comes from the material from which it is made. Rather, I would call it a fragrance. Sometimes called "sweetgrass", that is an apt description. Everyone may not like this fragrance, it does dissipate over time. In Japan, and probably in other Asian countries, no one would walk on a tatami mat with shoes. Socks or anything soft is what is appropriate. Tatami mats do get damaged from use or overuse, and in that case, they are replaced. There are not a lot of tatami mats available in the United States, and they are of varying qualities and prices. Overall, for both the price and the quality of this mat, I give it my highest recommendation.