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Standing on a hard, bare floor for several hours, whether it's because you're cooking a time-intensive meal over the stove or meal-prepping several ingredients at the counter, is not only exhausting, but it puts “constant pressure on your feet lower back, and legs,” explains Dr. Kevin Lees, D.C., manager of auditing and quality for The Joint Chiropractic.
Enter the anti-fatigue mat. This thick, multi-layered mat provides a cushion between your feet and the hard floor, absorbing shock and relieving stress on the body—and may even encourage subtle movements that promote blood circulation. People with foot problems like plantar fasciitis or other conditions that require supportive shoes may also find much-needed relief. These mats also help improve traction, reduce slipping, and protect your floors from spills.
Most anti-fatigue mats are fairly bare-bones, yet there are subtle differences between different models that can make them better suited to certain situations. Dr. Lees offers just one caution: While anti-fatigue mats are a great way to reduce soreness from standing, it can’t replace moving throughout the day. If you are standing at a workstation for hours on end, even with an anti-fatigue mat, be sure to take breaks to walk and move throughout the day.
There are a lot of options to choose from, of varying sizes, styles, and thicknesses, so we rounded up some of the best anti-fatigue mats on the market to help you pick the right one for you.
Best Overall: Sky Solutions Sky Mat, Comfort Anti Fatigue Mat
For a simple yet effective anti-fatigue mat, you should consider the Sky Mat.
The reasonably-priced Sky Mat comes in three sizes and four dark colors, letting you choose the best fit for your kitchen. The anti-fatigue mat is ¾” thick and made from the company’s patented foam, which they describe as the “perfect blend of support and softness for standing all day” and claim will reduce pressure on your feet, knees and lower back by up to 32 percent. The mat has a beveled edge to prevent tripping, as well as a non-slip bottom. Further, the Sky Mat is designed to be durable and is easy to wipe clean if you spill anything on it.
Perhaps the most compelling part of this product is the glowing reviews from verified buyers. People say the Sky Mat makes it easy and comfortable to stand for long periods of time, and they like that the mat does not wear down or curl after months of use. Overall, this top-rated anti-fatigue mat is an affordable and highly effective product for your kitchen.
Best for High Traffic Areas: GelPro NewLife Bio-Foam Comfort Mat
The GelPro NewLife Bio-Foam Comfort Mat is more expensive than many other options, but it delivers in terms of both comfort and durability. The anti-fatigue mat helps to properly suspend your body weight to prevent physical discomfort and fatigue when standing, and it has an abrasion- and puncture-resistant surface to increase longevity. The mat features beveled edges and a no-slip bottom to prevent tripping, as well as reinforced no-curl edges. As an added bonus, the GelPro mat has antimicrobial properties to keep it clean and sanitary, no matter what gets tracked across it.
Reviewers rave about this anti-fatigue mat, even writing that it “makes cooking and doing the dishes feel like taking a vacation.” Many also note that the mat doesn’t crack or wear down, even in high-traffic areas.
If your anti-fatigue mat is going to get a lot of foot traffic, you need a super durable product like the GelPro NewLife Bio-Foam Comfort Mat. This high-quality product comes in five sizes, and its polyurethane foam will always spring back, no matter how many shoes walk across it.
Easiest to Clean: AmazonBasics Premium Anti-Fatigue Standing Comfort Mat
If you’re going to use an anti-fatigue mat in your kitchen, it’s important that you can easily wipe off any spills. The AmazonBasics Premium Anti-Fatigue Standing Comfort Mat is made from a stain- and abrasion-resistant surface, ensuring that your mat will remain as good as new, despite being located in a spill-prone area.
This mat from AmazonBasics measures 36" by 20" and comes in three neutral colors. The mat’s foam layer will conform to the contours of your feet as you stand, reducing discomfort in your feet, legs and back. Further, the anti-fatigue mat’s surface is easy to clean with soap and water, allowing you to wipe up any spills that may happen in the kitchen. Plus, the product features non-curling sides and a non-slip bottom — no tripping hazard here!
Users have good things to say about the AmazonBasics Premium Anti-Fatigue Standing Comfort Mat, including that it’s durable and easy to clean. However, some note that this mat is a little stiffer than comparable products and that it’s not the best option if you’ll be standing for multiple hours.
Best Waterproof: Royal Anti-Fatigue Comfort Mat
For an anti-fatigue kitchen mat that won’t get ruined if you spill water on it, you need the Royal Anti-Fatigue Comfort Mat. It comes in a variety of sizes and colors, and it is perfect to use when prepping ingredients and cooking.
According to the manufacturer, the Royal Anti-Fatigue Comfort Mat’s ¾” pad can relieve up to 40 percent of the pressure on your feet and knees, and you can use it on any type of flooring, from marble to hardwood. The mat has a non-slip bottom to keep it in place, a waterproof finish, and beveled edges that won’t curl. You can clean it with the vacuum or wipe it down with a damp cloth if it gets dirty.
According to buyers, this anti-fatigue mat is extremely comfortable to stand on, and it succeeds in reducing strain on their feet. Overall, this is an incredibly durable, waterproof mat that’s perfect for use in the kitchen.
Best Color Selection: Kangaroo Original Standing Mat
Your anti-fatigue mat doesn’t have to be boring black or brown! The Original 3/4" Kangaroo Premium Anti-Fatigue Comfort Standing Mat comes in a variety of colors, including green, blue and red, allowing you to choose a product that matches your decor perfectly and still provides the comfort you need.
This highly-rated mat is ¾” inch thick and made from high-quality foam that will reduce stress on your feet and lower body. It’s non-toxic and phthalate-free, and it features beveled edges, a non-slip bottom and a textured surface to ensure you don’t trip or slip on it. The Kangaroo mat won’t break down over time, and it can easily be vacuumed or wiped down if it gets dirty.
This anti-fatigue mat is lightweight and very comfortable to stand on. The Kangaroo mat is also easy to clean and holds up well over time, making it a worthwhile investment to protect your feet and legs.
Our top pick is the Sky Solutions Sky Mat, Comfort Anti Fatigue Mat because it hits the sweet spot between firm and soft, offering incredible support. It's thick, grippy, and comes in a range of sizes and colors. Looking for something suited to high foot traffic? Look no further than the GelPro NewLife Bio-Foam Comfort Mat. This firm, durable option is almost an inch thick, offering outstanding support even after several hours of use.
What to Look for in an Anti-Fatigue Mat
Anti-fatigue mats help reduce the impact of standing by absorbing shock and relieving stress. To do this, most are constructed with various soft materials like foam or gel, or even both. Dr. Lees recommends polyurethane, which is a foam found in many commercial mats designed to stand up to continual usage. The top surface is typically protected with some kind of cover, often waterproof vinyl or polyurethane. This also helps with cleaning up and protects the mat from spills.
Size and Thickness
Whatever material is used, Lees also recommends paying attention to the size of the mat. Most mats are designed to allow one person to stand in place fairly comfortably but not move around. If you want the ability to move back and forth at a kitchen counter, for example, without leaving the mat, consider looking for longer, runner-style mats.
“Thickness is important for body support and the length of time you are using the mat,” Lees explains. Look for mats that are at least ⅝ inches thick, with ¾ inches being better. Get too thin a mat, and you won’t get any of the pain-relief benefits. But also don’t go overboard: Mats that are too soft and squishy can have a compressing effect, “leaving you feeling as if you are back standing on the hard floor,” he says.
Many mats feature an anti-slip design on the base. Acting like a built-in rug pad, this will keep you from slipping. Lees refers to this as "travel control" and notes that anti-slip features are especially important in areas where a mat could get wet (like a kitchen) or on slick floors, like hardwood or tile.
“Mats made from cheaper materials are not always cheaper,” says Lees. Look for signs the mat will last, like using durable materials. A sealed bottom and top will also protect it from breaking down and help it stand up to everyday spills. Also consider what kind of wear and tear your mat will be subjected to: If you want a mat to stand on while folding laundry barefoot, you’ll need considerably less tough materials than someone who may need to stand in heels at work for hours without puncturing the mat.
Consider how the placement of your mat will affect its everyday usage. A mat designed for the kitchen, says Lees, are typically squishier and designed with bare feet in mind. While they feel great, they might not be ideal for standing on for more than a few hours. For standing in shoes, a firmer mat that won’t lead to sinking may be better.
While few anti-fatigue mats are winning any beauty awards, it’s possible to find more options in an array of colors and even patterns. You can match your mat to colors in your kitchen, or simply find one that closely matches the floor, helping it blend in.
Types of Anti-Fatigue Mats
Commercial mats, often made of polyurethane, typically feature protection on the top and bottom to stand up to wear and tear from shoes, office furniture, and high-traffic areas. They may not be as soft as mats designed for home use but can be the best option for standing for long shifts.
To further increase motion, some anti-fatigue mats aren’t flat to encourage more movement and stretching. A sloped area may allow you to stretch your calves as you work, for example, or grooves help your feet stay aligned. These are often intended for standing desks and work best for people in more stationary positions, not those moving around washing dishes or folding laundry.
For home use, kitchens are one of the most popular places to place anti-fatigue mats. Cooking can often require a lot of standing. Tile floors are also great for cleaning up spills and splashes but don’t do our feet any favors. Anti-fatigue mats designed for kitchens are often no-slip as well as thick and comfortable and great for bare feet and socks.
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Camryn Rabideau is a lifestyle writer specializing in all things home products. She's reviewed everything from the latest and greatest kitchen gifts to the must-have cookware essentials for your kitchen. She's also taken several interior design courses, which has given her an additional angle when it comes to products.