ErgoMates - Product Review

ErgoMates - Product Review
One of the hardest things about standing all day is the concrete floor you have to stand on. This is true whether you work in construction, in a warehouse, or at a sales counter. Many workplaces have mats places where people stand the most to help cushion the feet and provide a little relief. There are problems with these.
  • Most jobs are not totally stationary. The employee moves on and off the anti-fatigue mat and does not have protection when not on the mat.

  • Even the best designed mats pose a trip hazard everytime an employee steps on or off the mat.
  • Mats are only easily available in standard sized. For non standard work areas, it can be expensive to custom order.

  • There is disagreement in the scientific literature about how helpful anti-fatigue mattings is. Some say it doesn't help, some say it helps but only for sore backs, and some say it's great. Does it all depend on the viewpoint of the author?

Conceptually it should be easier on the body to stand or walk all day on a soft surface instead of a very hard one. In actuality, it depends. It depends on how soft the soft surface is and on the type of shoe you are wearing. Imaging standing and walking all day on your bed. That would be very stressful because the surface does not allow your foot to follow the normal gait pattern. In the same way, a mat that is too soft affects stance and gait.Picture of ergomate without shoe

The problem is that too soft is not consistent. To a large extent it depends on height and weight.

ErgoMates are made to be a portable mat, that is they are essentially a mat that you attach to your foot. It is yours. There are two weights, ErgoMate Regular and ErgoMate Lite. The report from an Ergonomist that I found on this issue indicated that the two weights were enough to address the concern in most cases.

I love the concept of the ErgoMates. It's a very simple and direct solution to a problem that's been plaguing safety personel since I don't know when. However I can see many potential problems with it. My questions about ErgoMates all have to with "have they covered all the bases?"
Graph showing improvements in standing tolerance using ErgoMates


Besides the two ErgoMate weights, Ergomates come in 5 sizes and 3 different colors. These fit women's sizes 4 through 13 and men's sizes 6 through 15. They are designed for workboots or tennis shoes., but will fit most shoes made for warehouse or construction work.

In reviewing statements from Ergonomists on ErgoWeb, most find this product very good. The lowest reported success was a hospital where 50% of the employees who used them decided they did't like them after a year. Still, a 50% acceptance rate is pretty good. Overall, most reports were positive.

Other Points

  • A warehousing operation in Reno, NV reported that the ErgoMates lost traction in ice and snow.
  • The ErgoMates extend the length of the shoe by about half an inch. This has not been reported as a problem. In fact, incidents of trips and falls were reported as decreased markedly. Going up and down stairs may be an issue, but this was not discussed.
  • The graph above was received from ErgoMates. They would naturally put their best foot forward.

I had the opportunity to try these shoe mats at a conference. They were actually easy to use and comfortable. Cost is under $55.00. They are worth a try.

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