We all know how important it is to get up and move throughout the day. Prolonged periods of sitting, like at an office job, can be problematic for our health. But being on your feet too much can cause aches and issues, too.
Many professionals — from doctors and nurses to food service and retail workers — are required to stand most of the day. This can put extra pressure on your lower body and back, making an anti-fatigue mat a smart purchase.
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An anti-fatigue mat is exactly what it sounds like, says Michael J. Barber, MD, PhD, cardiologist and medical director at Strata Integrated Wellness and Spa: specialized flooring or padding designed to mitigate and decrease the likelihood of fatigue, pain or injury in people who stand for prolonged periods of time in one place.
Dr. Barber says when used properly, anti-fatigue mats reduce the effect on joints by up to 50 percent, decreasing the overall effect on the spine. And even if you're not in a profession that requires frequent standing, anti-fatigue mats can be helpful in places in your home where you are on your feet — like cooking and cleaning in the kitchen or tinkering in the garage.
The Best Anti-Fatigue Mats
- Best Overall: ComfiLife Anti-Fatigue Floor Mat (From $45.95 Amazon)
- Best Kitchen Mat: KANGAROO 3/4" All Day Ergonomic Anti-Fatigue Cushion Mat (From $39.99, Amazon)
- Best for Standing Desks: iMovR EcoLast Premium Standing Desk Mat ($89, iMovR.com)
- Best Commercial-Grade Mat: GelPro NewLife EcoPro Commercial Grade Anti-Fatigue Mat ($95.49, OfficeDepot.com)
- Best for Easy Cleaning: Gorilla Grip Anti-Fatigue Cushioned Comfort Mat (From $36.99, Amazon)
How We Chose
We talked with Dr. Barber to better understand the benefits of an anti-fatigue mat and how to find one that serves various needs. He helped us identify the most critical qualities in anti-fatigue mats, and we based our selections on the following criteria:
- Quality material
- Ease of use and cleaning
- Purpose (work or home)
Find more information on how we choose products here.
1. Best Overall: ComfiLife Anti-Fatigue Floor Mat
Dr. Barber explains that anti-fatigue mats are made of several different components, but all of them should work by promoting subtle foot movement as the feet adapt to the cushioned surface.
"This helps the lower leg muscles contract and expand to improve circulation while offering better blood circulation in the body and reduced fatigue," he says.
This highly rated option from ComfiLife lives up to its name with a super-durable, non-slip, memory foam design. Reviewers rave about the thickness of this product — 0.75 inches — that gives even more support for your lower body and spine.
Whether you're using this at work, in the kitchen or underneath your standing desk, it provides the right level of cushioning to relieve pressure, but it's not so soft that it causes you to slump.
We also like it because it's easy to wipe clean and comes in a wide variety of colors and sizes so it can fit most spaces and aesthetics.
Buy it: Amazon; Price: From $45.95
2. Best Kitchen Mat: KANGAROO 3/4" All Day Ergonomic Anti-Fatigue Cushion Mat
Maybe you're not a doctor. And you're not on the sales floor. But you do spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Whether you're cooking dinner for your family or cleaning up from the evening's mess, you might feel like you're constantly in this high-traffic room in your house.
As time goes on, you may feel fatigued simply by setting foot in the kitchen, causing you to slump or lean over countertops. Instead of giving in to poor posture, consider this anti-fatigue mat.
A top-seller from the Kangaroo brand, this mat comes in an array of colors — from blue and red to purple and green — so you can match it to your kitchen style.
But what's probably more important is its key feature: It's waterproof! Because spills can (and do!) happen in this space, you don't want an anti-fatigue mat that will deteriorate in the face of moisture.
Made of foam and clocking in at 0.75 inches thick, it's also anti-slip, with a textured bottom and ribbed top.
Dr. Barber says this thickness and hard design is essential because an anti-fatigue mat that's too soft or thin negates the benefits.
Buy it: Amazon; Price: From $39.99
With more remote workers and an increased awareness of the importance of ergonomics, standing desks are soaring in popularity. This is great news to combat the perils of sitting in an office chair every day, but professionals should also consider investing in an anti-fatigue mat. Your best bet for a standing desk is this option from iMovR.
Not only does it offer various sizes — including 3' x 5' and 2' x 6' — but it's also available in a range of colors, including gold, slate and steel among others. So you're sure to find an option that fits your workspace.
It's made of a durable 100-percent polyurethane unibody construction and withstands various footwear, including heels and dress shoes. It's also 0.75 inches thick, giving you the support you need during long Zoom calls.
Plus, if your employer is willing to cover the cost of an anti-fatigue mat for their employees, they'll appreciate the 10-year warranty.
Buy it: iMovR.com; Price: $89
4. Best Commercial-Grade Mat: GelPro NewLife EcoPro Commercial Grade Anti-Fatigue Mat
Whether you're in the intense setting of an operating room or the chaos of an industrial kitchen, you'll need a commercial-grade anti-fatigue mat to support your body.
Commercial-grade mats must pass specific safety standards and be able to stand up to frequent foot traffic. Some offices will also put these in areas where employees gather — think: the cafeteria — for extra support, too.
We like this ergonomic mat from GelPro that's made of a thick, 0.75-inch foam material. It has sloped edges, giving it more grip to the floor and to your feet, and the smooth top makes it easy to wipe or hose down at the end of the workday.
Buy it: OfficeDepot.com; Price: $95.49
5. Best for Easy Cleaning: Gorilla Grip Anti-Fatigue Cushioned Comfort Mat
Anti-fatigue mats are meant to support you while standing, which means they also endure dirt, grime and anything else that sticks to your feet. Bringing one into your home or workplace will give your joints a break, but it also gives you one more item to clean frequently.
If you want an anti-fatigue mat that won't build up grime, go with this option from Gorilla Grip. Like all of our other picks, it's 0.75 inches thick for all-day comfort and support, and the premium-grade foam gives the rebound you need for relief.
It also features a pebbled topside that's fast to clean and stain-resistant to spills. You can either use a damp cloth or a vacuum to clear away build-up.
Buy it: Amazon; Price: From $36.99
What to Look for in an Anti-Fatigue Mat
1. The Purpose and Goal
Dr. Barber reminds shoppers that anti-slip mats differ from anti-fatigue mats. While anti-slip mats have sticky bottoms, they usually are much thinner than an anti-fatigue mat.
Anti-slip mats are a good option to increase traction in places where water is present — like just outside your bathtub or shower, for example. But unlike anti-fatigue mats, they don't provide support when you're standing for long periods of time
Remember, softer and thicker may not always be better. Anti-fatigue mats that are too soft defeat the purpose they're trying to serve because your joints will be forced to tighten to hold your weight. This doesn't battle fatigue but creates it, Dr. Barber says.
On the other hand, mats that are too hard will be uncomfortable, and you'll be less likely to use them.
Look for a mat that's between 0.5 and 0.75 inches thick.
Will you place your anti-fatigue mat in your kitchen? Underneath your standing desk? Regardless, you need to ensure the mat will stay put so it doesn't become a tripping hazard.
Dr. Barber says anti-fatigue mats should have sloped edges and be flush to the floor. If they don't have these features, dust and dirt can gather, increasing the chance of slips and falls.
Mats should also have some weight to them, so they aren't easily moved.
4. Response to Movements
When you step on an anti-fatigue mat, it should react to your movement but then almost instantly return to normal. If that return is delayed — say, longer than a few seconds — then it's not providing the support you need, Dr. Barber says.
Most anti-fatigue mats are made of high-quality foam or memory foam, so make sure what you purchase features these materials for the best results.
5. Ease of Cleaning
Because many anti-fatigue mats are in high-traffic areas or professional settings, they'll need to be cleaned frequently. Dr. Barber says to look for a waterproof or water-resistant mat that can easily be wiped or hosed down. For this reason, you should try to avoid fabrics on top.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.