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Cushioned Kitchen Mats: Foam & Gel Floor Comfort Mat Solutions for Sore Feet

Updated on March 8, 2011

Cushioned kitchen mats are sought by people suffering from lower back pain, sore feet, chronic foot pain (such as that caused by plantar fasciitis or diabetes), arthritis, and other chronic conditions. These ergonomic mats are made of foam or gel to provide underfoot padding designed to make standing for long periods of time easier on the feet, legs, hips, and back. You can use such anti-fatigue floor mats in the kitchen, work space, or any place where you might stand for hours on end.

What to Look for in Anti-Fatigue Mats

For most of humankind, people didn't stand on hard, even surfaces like kitchen floors for hours on end. The foot's organic, irregular shape simply doesn't bear the stress of constant weight on the same pressure points all day very well. Adding a layer of cushioning under bare feet can make a big difference to how you feel.

The mats suggested below use gel, rubber, or high quality foam to cushion feet. One consideration when choosing a comfort floor mat is safety: because anti-fatigue mats are raised significantly off the floor, they can be at trip hazard, so design is important. I've picked mats that have built in safety features to prevent tripping. Other features to look for are non-slip surfaces that work on a variety of flooring materials and good stain resistance for longevity.

In addition, some readers may also want to supplement the cushioned sink and kitchen mats below with comfort footwear, including shoes with arch support and house slippers with arch support.

Note: Please don't take this article as medical advice! No medical promises are made by any of the floor mat products promoted here. People with serious medical conditions, including diabetics, should always ask their doctor about using cushioned floor mats or any other product designed to ease pain.

GelPro Kitchen Gel Floor Mats: Best Cushioned Mat Ever?

GelPro mats were designed by an engineer named Robb McMahan who was inspired by his wife's back and leg fatigue while cooking. After his wife tried a number of foam mats and was not satisfied because they didn't last long enough or attracted mold and mildew, he decided to design a mat that would absorb the shock of standing to help prevent disabling fatigue and pain and also be durable, stain resistant, mildew-fighting and basically perfect for kitchen use. It took hundreds of prototypes before he came up with, as the GelPro company puts it, the "world's only gel-filled anti-fatigue floor mat."

The GelPro company has received a lot of press for their quality floor mats. They've been been featured on the Food Network, Fine Living, and newspapers such as the Dallas Morning News and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Gel Pro Mats May Be the Best for All-Day Standing at Home

The Gel Pro mat is a popular, aesthetically pleasing and extraordinarily well-designed cushioned anti-fatigue floor mat that comes in a variety of colors, styles and sizes.

While foam used in other padded kitchen mats eventually compresses underweight, the gel core used in the Gel Pro mats molds to the foot and pushes back, helping to increase circulation.

This can help not just professional chefs and other individuals who must stand in one place for a long time while at work, but also home cooks and anybody who spends hours puttering around the kitchen, utility room, garage, or other room with hard floors.

The number of advanced features this simple-looking mat boasts is stunning, with each detail carefully engineered.

  • Gel core offering shock absorption
  • Durable, luxurious composite fabric outer cover
  • Non-slip long-lasting bottom thanks to traction created by a treated polyester knit fabric with an anti-static ingredient
  • Anti-microbial additives in the bottom (to help prevent odors and mold after the inevitable messy kitchen spills)
  • Comes in 2 sizes: 20" x 36" and 20" x 72"
  • Comes in a variety of deep, vivid, home-decor-friendly colors
  • Easy to clean - just wipe with soap and water
  • Made in the USA

Buy or read more about the GelPro anti-fatigue mat at Amazon.com.

Notrax Anti-Fatigue Mats

Perhaps not as pretty or popular as the GelPro mats, and without all the rave reviews - as far as I can tell, that's because most people who buy Notrax matting are businesses rather than homeowners and apartment dwellers - the Notrax industrial cushioned floor mats have features just as impressive, and are somewhat cheaper.

Designed for chefs, retail clerks and other professionals who work in a shop, the big point of superiority seems the safety-conscious and accessible beveled edge and superior non-skid technology that helps prevent rolling.

There are different models available. Some features include:

  • Vinyl surface from 100% recycled PVC, textured for durability and traction
  • Beveled edge
  • Padding provided by a dense closed cell sponge core
  • True non-skid bottom surface for any type of floor surface, no matter how smooth
  • Mat is guaranteed for its lifetime not to delaminate from the bond

So which is better - Notrax or GelPro? My answer is, it depends. For commercial or industrial use, I'd go with Notrax mats. I imagine that the last thing a business needs is a lawsuit from a worker who injures himself on the job by tripping over an anti-fatigue mat that's moved around or lipped up at the edges, and some reviewers did mention a slight curling of the GelPro (not all, though).

Personally, I like to buy items intended for commercial use for my home, but I'm more of a practical "utility" type person than an aesthete when it comes to my kitchen. (Though sometimes I can have both, as with my incredibly durable but also beautiful All-Clad cookware.) As I tend to not look where I'm going, and our family is pretty utilitarian, this is the brand of mat I hope to try for myself and my handyman-carpenter husband, if/when budget permits. Then again, I have owned gel cushions for sitting before, and found them wonderful - so we may very well try the GelPro in the kitchen and the Notrax in the shop. If we do cut into our raising-a-kid budget to get cushioned floor mats, I'll post an update here.

Padded Kitchen Mats With Subtle Safety Design

These 24" by 36" cushioned kitchen mats have durable rubber "bubble" nodules that trap air to provide cushioning. But the cool thing about these mats is the bright, colorful edges. Not just cute, the color provides a visual cue that helps alert women and men to notice the mat and avoid tripping over it - an ingenious detail that can make it a great gift for a fast-moving mother or father.

Other Anti-Fatigue Floor Mats and Flooring Solutions

Cushioned kitchen mats making standing on a hard floor all day easier.  Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/caitlinator/3655198893/ under Creative Commons Attribution License
Cushioned kitchen mats making standing on a hard floor all day easier. Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/caitlinator/3655198893/ under Creative Commons Attribution License

See the author's disclosure regarding compensation for this article.

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