If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.
Standing desks are all well and good — until you realize your feet and lower back are killing you from standing still on the hard ground for several hours at once. As retail workers, hotel concierges, restaurant hosts, and others have known for years, the key is a good standing mat.
The best standing desk mats are pretty simple in design but go a long way towards easing foot fatigue and discomfort. If you’re going to be standing up at work, you might as well do it comfortably.
What Are the Benefits of a Standing Mat?
While standing rather than sitting for the majority of your day can be beneficial for your health, standing without moving on a hard surface for a long time can also create stress on the body. Here are some ways a standing desk mat addresses this.
Reduces Back Stress: You might have noticed that it’s not just your feet that start to ache after standing for several hours, but your back might feel sore as well. In addition to moving around every so often, a soft surface that provides some support can help relieve strain on the rest of your body.
Anti-Fatigue: Another thing that happens after standing on a hard surface for long periods of time is that it can be tiring, especially if you’re not used to spending an entire day on your feet. Cushioning your feet where you stand is easier on the body, leading to less exhaustion and fatigue by the end of the day.
Improves Posture: A soft, yet firm supportive mat, by reducing stress on the rest of your body, can also help improve your posture. You’ll stand up straighter for longer.
What Makes a Good Standing Desk Mat?
The best standing desk mats come in a range of sizes, thicknesses and designs. You can choose between a basic cushioned mat or an ergonomically-designed model that encourages movement. In either case, durability and quality of materials and construction are paramount.
Type: A basic mat is exactly what it sounds like — a thick, cushioned mat. There are also moving mats designed specifically for standing desks, that promote good posture and reduce back strain while encouraging subtle movement.
Weight Limit: Most basic mats have a weight limit of about 350 pounds, so it’s important to make sure the mat suits your body before making a purchase.
Material: Look for an inch or so of thick cushioning, generally foam, and a durable rubber non-slip underside that keeps the mat in place. That way, it’s soft and gentle on top, but sturdy (and won’t shift) underneath you.
Versatility: We’ve found popular standing mats that work great for the office when paired with a standing desk, but these mats are also great for chefs, for retail (say, if you’re standing at a cash register all day), under the kitchen sink, and for other jobs or activities where you’ll be on your feet.
1. Sky Solutions Anti-Fatigue Mat
While we cannot independently verify the manufacturer claim that this mat feels like “standing on clouds,” what we can say is that we love the thick and very soft foam core, which reliably absorbs shock from standing for long periods of time. We also like the rubber, non-slip bottom side, minimalist appearance, and choice of sizes and colors. You’ll also note how durable the mat is — essential for an item that sees as much traffic as standing mats do.
2. Kangaroo Original Standing Mat
The Kangaroo standing mat offers the widest selection of color and sizing options of our picks, so you can customize your mat to the size and style of your personal workspace. It also has a thick, shock-absorbent foam core that provides support for the whole body and won’t compress over time, while the slightly textured surface adds a little extra friction. The bottom of the mat is super grippy and stays put on the floor.
3. FEZIBO Standing Desk Anti-Fatigue Mat
While all standing mats were designed to absorb shock and reduce fatigue, not all were designed to keep your muscles engaged. We like this desk mat and balance board combo, which helps cut down on stiffness and pain while standing for a long time just like the other options, while helping to improve joint mobility and keeping you more alert. The board also features massage points for giving bare feet a little break during the day.
4. ComfiLife Anti-Fatigue Floor Mat
The high-density foam cushion of the ComfiLife mat is made to provide maximum support without losing height over time, even with frequent use. The manufacturer also notes the high quality of materials, while we particularly like the waterproof and stain-resistant surface that is easy to clean with a vacuum or quick wipe down.