We are constantly being asked this and it’s funny, I went to Wayfair the other day and did a search on anti-fatigue mat and there were 14,000+ results. There were some really pretty ones too, mats with inspirational messages and pictures of puppies. Wow – who wants to stand on puppies?
No but seriously, this is a really tough question. Which is why years ago we hired a kinesiologist and a couple of engineers and brought in research teams at several universities to test different compositions and support structures.
Here are some important questions to ask when evaluating an anti-fatigue mat:
Energy Return: Does it have sufficient give to return energy to the weight it is supporting? If a surface has no give at all it does not transfer energy back up to the weight and energy is lost down into the surface. If that weight is coming from a person standing, the energy loss causes immense strain on joints and muscles.
Tensile Strength: When you put weight on it, does it bottom out? When a surface has too much give it will “bottom out” when weight is applied, essentially leaving nothing between the person standing and the concrete underneath.
Durability of Wear: How does it stand up over time, will some areas wear faster than others? Not only will that cause differentials in support capacity but can actually be a hazard where employees can twist ankles or even trip.
Surface tension: Is weight spread over a large surface area, or is it concentrated lbs/in2? Weight distribution is a key factor in limiting muscle fatigue and joint strain. Make sure the mat has been structured to ensure that weight is carried throughout a large area.
Absorbency: Can it absorb moisture like water or oil? That can completely change its ability to compress and react to pressure. It is important to test the support in dry and wet conditions.
Textured compression flex technology: Does it have a textured surface that increases blood flow by causing tiny muscle contractions? OK – this last one isn’t really a fair question because Ergo Advantage is the only product that has this technology, but still it had to be said!
To read more on the research that has been done in these areas, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to supply you with studies and more information.