Our sortable table of every standing desk on the market gets a lot of traffic. And everyone who uses their standing desk with any regularity should have an anti-fatigue mat.
So, we thought, we should do table just like that of all the mats on the market!
But as we started compiling the list, and stockpiling a variety of mats to play with, one thing stood out: there is not much variety out there.
Sure, we’ve really disliked some mats, like the Genuine Joe Anti-Fatigue Mat. It’s cheap, but that’s the only thing I can say about it without violating my mother’s advice for social etiquette.
We’ve also really liked some (ok, well one mat, because we’re picky), the 24″ x 36″ Imprint Cumulus Pro. (The big version we like runs from $100-$150, the smaller version is cheaper but clearly made of a cheaper foam to match).
But something is wrong here. Even the best mat we found feels like it falls… flat. Not very inspiring, especially after looking through all the awesome standing desks out there.
All these mats were more or less just variations on a theme. Better or worse materials, but all look roughly the same from 10 feet away. Just an extra layer of cushion, passive and flat.
And all the stuff that humans walk, squat, and stand on in real life has much more variety. It is definitely not flat.
And then there was Topo. And we were delighted.
It just makes so much sense. Nature isn’t flat, why should the ground at your standing desk be?
We ditched chairs in the first place because they aren’t natural, but replacing them with flat (anti-fatigue or otherwise) is likely missing out on a big chunk of potential benefit.
And adding “not flat” stuff appears to make a big difference. I loved my time on a Topo prototype, as have many others. I moved so much more, exploring Topo’s “calculated terrain” with my feet (I generally work bare, as should you). Almost right away, I felt more energized, and less fatigued during longer standing sessions. I can’t wait to get my production unit in March.
That production unit will have another feature that I’m really excited about. The bottom of Topo is designed to slide easily enough that you can reposition it with just your feet when you switch between sitting and standing.
That’s a huge improvement over my current mat, which I have to reach under my desk and move by hand. I can’t tell you how many anti-fatigue mats I’ve seen pushed under desks, unused, because moving them around was too much of a pain in the butt.
The Topo Data
Nothing here is peer-reviewed, but we love us some self-science, so let’s dive in. Ergodriven instrumented the ground under both a conventional flat mat and Topo (with repurposed Wii-Fit sensors I believe, there’s some ingenuity), and just watched how the standing was different. And boy was it different.
Here’s an infographic comparing Topo to the flat mat:Small in-house study so this isn’t verified scientific fact, but very compelling nonetheless. Then they took that data and made a pretty incredible video showing how the user’s feet actually moved on the two mats (sped up for your viewing pleasure!):
The (Literal) Feels
Data aside, Topo just makes a ton of sense. And I can tell you, standing on it while working was a ton of fun. It reminded me of my first time walking around the neighborhood barefoot as an adult. It was like a whole new world (shining, shimmering, spleeeeendid!) opened up and I just wanted to play.
More movement at a standing desk is a huge win – and so is making work feel like play.
So if you’re in the market for a standing desk mat (or if your current boring flat one isn’t really cutting it), I definitely recommend Topo. It’s a whole new standing experience.