If you've ever worked at a standing desk or prepared a meal for a while, you know how very painful it can be to stand in one place for too long. We're big fans of using anti-fatigue mats in our homes and office spaces, but with so many great options out there, it can be hard to narrow down which styles are really worth your money.
Long days on your feet can have serious effects on your joint health over time, which is why these mats have many benefits for everyday life. New York City podiatrist Emily Splichal, D.P.M., shares, "Anti-fatigue or standing mats are designed to offload stress to the foot and body associated with prolonged standing." She adds, "Some mats provide cushion, whereas others provide irregular surfaces or texture to stimulate and massage the feet."
Depending on the experience you're searching for, whether it be cushion or support (or a combination of both), Splichal recommends looking for a mat that can "activate, release and offload the foot during prolonged standing." She goes on to explain that the ball of the foot and heels can often feel the most stress from prolonged standing, as this is where the most pressure is placed.
If improving your joint health is important to you, then adding an anti-fatigue mat or two in areas like the space below your standing desk, next to your bed, or in front of your sink can make a world of a difference. Our testers evaluated the performance level of 16 anti-fatigue mats to discover which products deserve the PEOPLE Tested stamp of approval, with the the Sky Solutions Anti Fatigue Mat taking the title of Best Overall.
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Pros: Not only does this anti-fatigue mat come with a comfortable cushion and a variety of shades and patterns to match your home's aesthetic, but it also has a reasonable price tag.
Cons: Our tester noted that they wished this mat was a bit larger, but luckily this option is available in five different sizes, with one being a set of two.
There was no contest when it came to which style performed the best for our testers, as the Sky Solutions Anti Fatigue Mat scored the best across categories of design, comfort, ease of cleaning, and more. Its memory foam material allowed for the mat to mold around our tester's feet, providing firm support and cloudlike cushion. The variety of colors and patterns made this mat a great choice for anyone looking to add a bit of comfort to their space, as its versatility offers options for any style of decor. However, our tester suggests that you"pick black over a color – [it] would show less dirt."
The tester was impressed by the easy cleaning process after intentionally dirtying the mat with flour and molasses, sharing that the mess "rinsed right off." Compared to the mats with textured surfaces, this cleaning job was a breeze due to its smooth exterior – making this the perfect option for a kitchen.
However, no mat is one-size-fits-all– and thankfully, this style comes in five different dimensions to accommodate your space. From its comfortable 0.75 inch cushion to the attractive price point, PEOPLE testers found the most favor with the Sky Solutions Anti Fatigue Mat.
Blue Diamond, Burgundy, Chocolate Brown, Dark Blue, Gray, Green Ombre, Indigo Deco, and Sedona Red Rocks
Pros: Not only does this high-ranking mat bear the lowest price tag, but it provides the thickest foam cushioning as well.
Cons: The mat's crosshatch surface makes this option harder to clean and the size was a bit small for our tester.
Retailing at only $36, this cushy mat ended up being the top contender that had the most attractive (and we do mean lowest) price point. After standing on the mat for an hour, our tester noted that the 0.90-inch gel and memory foam material, the thickest cushion of the winners — was the standout quality. "Itfelt like the foot almost sank or indented in [the] mat," they explained. Staying true to its memory foam core, this mat offers the support of a contouring cushion for long days spent on your feet.
The PU leather exterior is detailed with a weaved surface, and while pleasing to the eye, it could create potential issues when cleaning. After the mess test, our tester remarked that the grooves made this mat a bit hard to clean. However, if you plan to use this mat outside of the kitchen, your chance of spilling molasses are somewhat decreased.
Pros: This sturdy non-slip mat boasts a biofoam core that improves circulation even after long hours of standing on your feet.
Cons: Since the GelPro is made for public spaces, the dimensions should be a bit bigger to accommodate foot traffic.
Made with an energy-returning biofoam, this ergonomic mat is made for high-volume foot traffic and is ideal for office use. Its beveled edges prevent sliding when walking on it and its standard 0.75 inch cushion provides comfortable support to tired feet. So whether you're stopping to refill at the water cooler or placing this mat by the printer, the GelPro mat could be a welcome addition to your workspace.
While our tester wished that this mat was a bit bigger, the comfort and support that this biofoam option provided outweighed its size. Its smooth exterior allowed for an easier clean as well – not as effortless as the Sky Solutions option, but just a wash and a few rinses did the job.
Pros: (Include 2-3 points on why this is a winner, in a full sentence(s))
Cons: (Include 2-3 points on why someone wouldn't want to buy this, in full sentence(s))
Adding an anti-fatigue mat to your home may seem like a no-brainer, but not every mat is right for your space. The ComfiLife Anti Fatigue Floor Mat features a 0.75-inch thick cushion and no-curl beveled edges for superior comfort and support. Though this may not be statistically the thickest mat of the bunch, it ranked the highest for this category due to its dense foam core that provided an extra layer of comfort.
Another perk is the non-slip bottom, which is essential if you have little ones running around or just want to avoid falling. Our tester shared that the ComfiLife was "noticeably thick and comfortable. The slanted edges make for less risk of tripping over the side."
A familiar request that was made by our tester was wishing that the mat was bigger, so the comfort wasn't exclusive to just under the sink.
Teal, Silver, Scarlet, Rose Gold, Red, Navy, Mustard, Gray, Black, Beige, Brown, Charcoal, Denim
Pros: Recorded by our testers as providing "heel to toe" support, this firm yet cushioned mat is available in more than 20 colorways to fit any style of decor.
Cons: Using this mat in the kitchen may be a little risky, as the diamond-etched surface can complicate the cleaning process.
The main comments made during the testing of the Kangaroo mat were about its standout firmness and support. Our tester stated that this rubber and foam style provided "even support, from heel to toe," later sharing that it was firm but comfortable. They felt that the weight of their feet was evenly distributed throughout the hour of use, which is instrumental in protecting your ligaments. (And did we mention that it comes in 22 colors and patterns?)
The diamond-embossed surface creates a massaging yet decorative texture that adds to a room, but unfortunately can tamper with the cleaning process. After letting the flour and molasses test go on overnight, our tester found that it was harder to clean the surface due to its texture. However, the waterproof rubber exterior will help avoid water damage after a scrub-down if you do get this mat a little messy.
Pros: The AmazonCommercial mat's thick foam makeup is ideal for long days spent at a standing desk, organically shaped around the feet for a personal feel.
Cons: If unconventional shapes are not for you, then this option may not be your mat of choice.
The bat-like AmazonCommercial anti-fatigue mat is the perfect standing desk mat for your workplace or home office. Our testers appreciated the thickness of the foam core, stating that it "reminds us of an outdoor mat" with the structure of a personal mat. They go on to share that the AmazonCommercial model is "Definitely a solid option if you're wanting to buy something without thinking too hard."
Simple decision-making aside, there was the recurring issue of having difficulty cleaning the mat. Its textured surface is great for traction on the bottom of one's shoe, but not ideal for washing out hardened food or liquid spills. If you do happen to spill, we recommend quickly wiping up the mess with a damp cloth to prevent any substances from settling into the texture.
Pros: This mat is almost double the width of the others on this list and provides a high-quality cushion that is ideal for kitchens.
Cons: The price tag on the Cactus Mat is a bit higher than the others, but it makes up for that disparity in value.
Though the Cactus Mat retails at $115, its large dimensions more than justify its price tag. At 60 x 35 inches, this mat is the answer to the prior testers' wishes when using smaller styles. "This was the largest mat we tested and it's not much more expensive than some of the higher end, smaller kitchen mats - it feels like a good value," our tester shares.
Ideal for chefs or home cooks, the width of the Cactus mat is great for flitting around the kitchen. Our tester went on to say, "At this size, I could move between my counter, sink, and stove without stepping foot on the floor."
It's worth noting that because of its larger size, this mat would need to be dragged outside to clean up after a long day in the kitchen. However, its thick nitrile rubber cushion is supportive enough to evenly support the bottoms of your feet all day long.
Anti-fatigue mats are typically made from foam, but getting down to the nitty gritty of your mat makeup can make or break the performance of your selection. Memory foam mats are ideal for a surface that can contour to the unique shape of your foot for equal support and comfort, whereas biofoam can release energy back into your ligaments and activate the muscles in your footbed as you stand. Additionally, your mat's exterior can aid or impair your ease of cleaning if you happen to spill, as textured surfaces hold grime a bit tighter than smoother ones will.
Just as different rooms hold different purposes, the mat you choose for different rooms should have unique roles as well. For example, you wouldn't want an oddly-shaped standing mat to be the style you choose for a bustling kitchen, just like you wouldn't want a mat that's too large under your desk. However, it is important to keep an eye out for non-slip mats no matter the room it belongs to, as they all should serve the purpose of keeping you upright.
After all, an anti-fatigue mat is part of your room. It should match your personal style or the atmosphere of the space, which is why it's important to choose a mat that has multiple color and pattern options. This way you can find a style that suits you and looks like it belongs in the room.
We wanted to evaluate the comfort of these mats by placing them at the feet of testers in the kitchen, having them stand on each of them for an hour as they prep and cook meals. After this was done, the testers were asked to assess how their feet, ankles, knees, hips, back, and shoulders feel. Once the initial standing tests were done, next came the cleaning test – where each mat was dirtied with a dusting of all-purpose flour, drizzled with black strap molasses, and left to sit out for 12 hours. Next came the cleaning attempt, where they were either rinsed or scrubbed off (depending on how much the mat wanted to hold onto the mess).
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