Standing desk mats are meant to help relieve a bit of the discomfort that comes with standing for extended periods.
However, as the popularity of stand-up desks has grown, standing desk mats have also seen major changes in their design. Apart from the normal flat mats made from polyurethane, today you’ll also see mats designed with all sorts of bumps, inclines, and hills.
In addition, you’ll find mats that pivot and wobble beneath your feet.
The 3D topographical mats are designed with sloped ridges as well as other features to enhance movement. Wobbly mats are also designed to facilitate movement but employ a different approach.
Just like with everything else, there is no one-size-fits-all mat. The most suitable mat is dictated by the level of experience you have with standing as well as your desired frequency of movement.
If we were to judge standing desk mats on innovative topographical designs alone, then the Topo by Ergodriven and Terra Mat Standing Desk Mat would be the top contenders. They are built to facilitate stretching and subtle movement.
The fact that it’s difficult to settle for only one mat between these two stand-up desk mats goes on to show how complex the selection process is.
The Terra Mat comes with a lot of space, making it a good fit for taller users who like to stretch their legs and explore its bars and peaks. You will certainly enjoy using it if you have a wide stance, or if you like moving your feet a lot.
As for the Topo, however, the most enjoyable elements are its softer base and subtle inclines, which are designed with a natural terrain in mind, thus giving your feet the feel of natural slopes and bumps.
Unlike the Terra Mat, the Topo is designed with a smaller base, which is a bit restricting for taller users. It’s a great option for people who tend to spend more time standing on flat surfaces and those who don’t stretch out more often.
If you are a more active person, who prefers an engaging mat that encourages you to stand more often, then perhaps you’ll find the Fluidstance Level more enjoyable. Made from die-cast aluminum and natural maple, the Level is both fun and attractive. Although it's not as comfortable as the Top or the TerraMat, it encourages you to move more, and that’s what’s important. While some users are excited about how engaging it is, others complain about its more or less exhaustive nature.
And when it comes to the battle between flat mats, the iMovR EcoLast Dual Gripper Standing Mat stands above the crowd because of its supportive structure and bouncy texture.
Compared to active mats, flat mats may seem less exciting. Nonetheless, they are the standard solution for the discomfort that results from standing for extended periods. They are a must-have accessory if your work in an environment that requires you to stand most of the time. Flat mats are your best bet if you’re looking for a simple mat that works well with a wide range of shoes and environment.
How to Find The Best Standing Desk Mat
This process is almost similar for all kinds of products. First, you look for the best-selling and most popular standing desk mats. These include the best sellers on Amazon and other similar platforms.
You’ll likely land flat mats from long-time competitors like EcoLast, Sky Mat, Imprint, and WellnessMats.
But if you’re open to trying out innovative designs, you’ll most likely discover popular products such as the Top mat by Ergodriven as well as other active mats that encourage movement. This list will also include products like Fluidstance Level, the Wurf Board, and the CubeFit TerraMat.
Test and Compare
Before making the purchase try out different products and compare them in terms of ease-of-use, activity, and comfort. Since you may be required to try out several products, you can ask your friends to help you out.
While testing, be sure to take note of foot pain, movement patterns, and overall comfort.
For flat mats, look for the right mix of comfortably soft and firmly supportive. But for active mats, look for an engaging design that encourages you to move your feet and explore its features. You’ll get to discover that comfortable mats that encourage you to stand more often are among the most exciting.
Another critical factor to consider during testing is to determine the ease or difficulty with which the mat would fit into your daily routines. Some mats are easy to roll chairs over, and some mats are easy to slide under your standing desk.
In short, ensure the mat encourages standing to promote enhanced blood flow and circulation.
Top Contenders for Best Active Standing Desk Mat
During the testing process, the best mat is usually determined by personal preference.
It’s interesting to note that active mats usually appeal best to users who are new to using standing desks. That’s mostly because they encourage movement and offer more incentive for the user to stand.
Seasoned standers aren’t as selective with standing desk mats as is the case with new users. They are as excited about topographical mats as they are about flat mats. That’s because they find both of them more supportive and comfortable than standing on a hard floor.
The Topographical Mat Dilemma
Topographical active mats are built with engaging features and raised ridges to encourage varied and frequent movements.
Although these kinds of mats can seem confusing at first, you’ll find yourself getting used to them fast. With time, it becomes natural to rest and shift your feet in varied poses.
The real dilemma comes when you are required to choose only one mat. Take the TerraMat and the Topo for instance. Some users are appreciative of the TerraMat for its open flat space while others hate it. The same goes for the Topo. You find that one feature can be appealing to one group of users while annoying to another group at the same time.
At the end of the day, you realize there’s no point debating about what active mat is the best. The bus stops with you. It’s upon you to judge how your feet interact with the mat as well as your level of comfort while standing behind your desk.
Best Mat in The Active Mat Category
Designed to support the pelvic and lumbar area, the anti-fatigue mat keeps your spine balanced at scientifically proven angles in order to relieve back pain, improve your posture and keep you energized and productive throughout the day.
Topo by Ergodriven
The Topo is an excellent option for active users who are interested in more cushioning and enjoy the feel of its 3D elements. If you are the kind of person who likes shoes with padded insoles or a memory foam mat for use in the kitchen, you’ll certainly find the Topo exciting.
The Topo is designed based on the fact that it isn’t ideal to stand on the flat ground. This video demonstrates how the designers of this mat incorporated healthy human behaviors while making this mat.
The mat is designed to match the terrain and ridges of natural environments. For most users, it’s easy to find comfortable zones to adjust and rest their feet. The Topo comes with a tear-drop mound at the center; a fun feature that encourages feet movement.
The Topo also features raised edges at its sides and a ramp at its rear end. This combination aids with simple foot engagement and calf stretching.
When compared with the CubeFIt Terra Mat, the Topo proves to be softer in its flat space.
Terra Mat Standing Desk Mat
The TerraMat is ideal for taller users who like a wide stance and are looking for various exciting elements to help them stay active. It’s designed to provide you with a physically engaging experience thanks to its five different features. From a balance bar to massage mounds, there are several ways to make use of the mat’s terrain.
The TerraMat is designed with a significant flat mat space, which is an advantage if you prefer some extra room, or a disadvantage if the wider range prevents you from exploring the active features on the mat’s edges.
Second Best Mat in The Active Mat Category: Fluidstance Level
The Level by Fluidstance combines innovative movements with a sleek look.
While it’s the most visually appealing mat in this list, it’s also the most expensive ($289).
Its design is almost similar to that of a skateboard but without wheels. Also, it’s easy to get used to and encourages you to move more frequently. Once you hop onto the Level, it's not easy to stop moving. It unbalanced frame means there’s a lot of rotation of the knees and circular motion.
The Level is, however, not the best option if you’re looking for a soft mat that encourages you to stand for extended periods.
To address this issue, Fluidstance also offers a rubber version known as The Plane. This option is priced around $100 cheaper and is made from 100 percent recycled low-emitting rubber.
iMovR EcoLast Dual Gripper Standing Mat
Compared to other flat mats, the iMovR EcoLast Dual Gripper is by far one of the most effective when it comes to providing support. In addition, its design is considerably simple, making it suitable for use in professional environments.
Furthermore, the mat is durable enough to withstand high heels and offers a cushioned support.
Cheaper mats such as the Sky Mat Standing Anti-Fatigue Mat and the Imprint CumulusPRO also do the job, but most users complain that their squishy nature hinders them from providing adequate support. If you’re looking for a high-grade, well-built sheet of polyurethane that works to minimize your fatigue, you’re going to have to part with more than $100.
Don’t Stand All Day
Although using a stand-up desk and a standing desk mat are awesome ways to avoid sitting for extended periods on your chair, they also have their drawbacks.
That’s because standing all day is as unhealthy as sitting all day. It can increase the risk of varicose veins, knee or hip problems, plantar fasciitis, and fatigue.
Regularly transitioning between sitting and standing is the way to go, even when you are using an anti-fatigue mat. Consequently, you’ll get to enjoy numerous benefits, such as improved health and wellbeing, increased productivity, enhanced comfort and more.
Are You Standing Wrong?
It doesn’t all stop at acquiring a sit-stand desk. There are several ways to enhance your experience and avoid fatigue.
Make sure to raise the height of your stand up desk up to elbow height, with your elbows bent at a right angle. These height adjustments should be made while you’re standing on the standing desk mat. Otherwise, if you’re standing on the bare floor, be sure to incorporate the extra height. This posture helps to prevent straining your joints and enables you to type for a longer time.
The SmartDesk 2 is designed to help you move between sitting and standing positions throughout the day. The good thing about the SmartDesk 2 is that it features a programmable button interface that allows you to create up to 4 custom presets, so you don’t have to make these adjustments every time.
As for the computer screen, make sure it’s slightly tilted upwards, so you don’t have to move your neck too far down or up. The screen should also be positioned 20” to 28” in front of your face. Also, the center of the screen should be at eye position.
Also, to reduce eyestrain, make sure to look away from the computer a few times during the day.
As you can see, the design or appearance of the standing desk mat isn’t as important as how it makes you feel. As such, the quality of the mat shouldn’t be defined based solely on its key features. The most important thing is how your feet interact with the mat and the resulting sensations.
This article challenges you to test the mat yourself and decide whether it suits you well. During the testing process, look at features such as ease of use, comfort, durability, and more. You want a mat that will offer you the utmost comfort and lasts for as long as possible. To get you started, we have provided you with the above-mentioned products. Be sure to try them out or their alternatives.
By testing out different options, you get to understand your standing behavior better, and hopefully land a standing desk mat that alleviates discomfort, encourages you to stand more, thereby giving you value for your money.
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