Better standing is just a few minutes away.
Not too long ago, we remodeled our main office area. This included the incorporation of two standing desks — one for photography and the other as a computer workstation. I’ve learned over the years that a standing desk is useless without a good cushioned mat to go along with it. I’ve used some standard memory foam mats before, but they a) don’t last very long, and b) just don’t help alleviate back and leg pain. So, I did some research and found the ErgoDriven Topo Standing Desk Mat.
DETAILS & FEATURES
The Topo Standing Desk Mat is designed to be a ‘not-flat’ anti-fatigue mat. The mat has calculated terrain built into it so that you don’t have a standard stationary standing surface. The cushioned terrain drives subconscious movement so that you don’t become stagnant and simply stand still while at your desk. It helps to promote circulation and encourages natural movement. According to the ErgoDriven website, the terrain is designed to:
“The raised front corners provide a surface to prop-up either your left or right foot, which keeps the relationship between your lower back and pelvis fluid, rather than stiff and fatigued. This movement is required to deliver blood and nutrients to the shock absorbing discs in your spine. Similarly the center tear drop allows you to alternately prop up your left and right foot, keeping your stance varied, and creating the opportunity to roll your foot and ankle, or massage your arch. The thicker side rails provide variations in ankle position and cushioning. The raised rear surface provides a deep calf stretch, and you can even raise up your heels by flexing your calves to really recharge your legs.”
Topo provides almost perfect performance for users up to 240 pounds. Users over that weight limit can still enjoy Topo, but according to the product’s specs, the performance may not meet the exact expectations of the designer. The Topo mat is made of 100% polyurethane foam. There are no PVC or plasticizers or added flame retardants included in the compound. There are two versions of the Topo mat — Original and Mini — and you have four different colors to choose from — Obsidian Black, Altostratus Grey, Denim Blue, and Mulberry Purple.
I have been fortunate enough to be able to try out both the original and mini versions of the Topo mat. The first thing I noticed was the design of the mat. They are very unique looking. The terrain is a conversation starter on its own. I took the original version to work so that I could use it at my standing desk there while leaving the mini version with Nick to use at his standing desk. Nick and I both have some muscular-skeletal issues so we were both looking to eliminate any possibility of additional sources of pain.
For me, the Topo has been a real lifesaver. Our flooring at work is a commercial carpet that is covering hard concrete. It’s terrible to walk on, let alone stand on for long periods of time. And, as much as I’m at my computer, I really do need a respite from sitting all day long. I have found myself gently moving back and forth thanks to the built-in terrain. What’s nice about it for me is that I move enough to keep my back from tightening up and it helps me get through the day.
In Nick’s case, he has feet and leg problems. He has an arthritic knee, flat feet, and an extreme case of plantar fasciitis. So, when he stands at his desk, he really has to be cautious of how he stretches and places his feet. He’s found that being able to use the terrain of the mat to stretch his feet while he works has really helped him with the pain he normally feels at the end of the day. Both of us feel the pressure it takes off of our backs and agree that moving around on the terrain of the mat is sort of like having a foot massage.
The Topo Standing Desk Mat is an investment at $99 (original) or $69 (mini), but they have already held up better against regular use than standard mats you can buy from office supply stores. I would recommend them to anyone who uses a standing desk or to anyone who simply has to stand a lot. Even though this is meant to be paired with a standing desk, I could see using it behind a cash register, too. It is important to remember that the mat is a tripping hazard because it doesn’t sit flat and it’s recommended that users push it underneath desks when it’s not in use.