HOVR Under Desk Foot Swing Review
The HOVR isn't just a footrest. The unique leg swing allows for a freer range of motion than a desk cycle or a foot rocker. Designed by a personal trainer and a physician, the device is made to promote activity even as you sit at your traditional office desk. It looks great, but does it do what it advertises?
Best suited for use with traditional and adjustable height desks and non-wheeled chairs.
$99 for Hovr with desk mount
$189 for Hovr with floor stand
$74.99 for Hovr with desk mount
$149 99 for Hovr with floor stand
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Promotes physical activity. Allows you to move while sitting at a traditional desk. Offers a freer range of motion than desk cycles and ellipticals.
High cost. Unreliable quality. Ergonomic and travel control issues. Poor adjustability.
The HOVR breaks out of its “footrest” definition by giving its users the power of swaying. It’s more of an under-desk leg swing—truly unique footrest minus the rest. As you place your feet on the two circular pads, your legs become as animated as (or perhaps even more so than) your arms. Rock, sway, or mock-walk through your sitting sessions and prevent both sitting and standing health hazards through constant motion. At least that’s how the marketing story goes. In reality, the product quality and ergonomics leave quite a few users disappointed.
As a product idea, it’s very appealing, especially to people who are bound to their sitting desks. You get to move your legs while sitting for eight hours straight and give your mind a break when you’re busy with menial tasks that don’t require high concentration. The physical product, however, is not without fault. Many buyers note similar issues that include unreliable quality, lack of adjustability, and minor installation difficulty.
HOVR Under Desk Foot Rest
The HOVR is available in two versions: desk mount and stand. Both types feature circular foot pads suspended on an adjustable strap. The desk mount is best suited for traditional desks as they feature no support crossbars that can interfere with the unit installation. The stand option is great for standing desks, or if your office does not want you to drill holes in their desks.
While the mount unit installation is pretty straightforward (albeit requiring drilling), the stand unit might be difficult to assemble because of part quality issues like misalignment or too much powder coating on screws. Other issues that interfere with the product’s performance include circular pads falling off of the unit.
Aside from quality issues, the units’ ergonomics fails to accommodate users with especially short or long limbs. The lack of adjustability makes for awkward, choppy movement. And users report on having difficulty adjusting the strap of the stand unit. There are also complaints about the pole being too short for users’ legs to hover freely above the floor. In addition, some find it too tall to use with pre-computer executive desks and short chairs. Finally, some users would like resistance adjustability to get more exercise out of the unit, though this is more of a nice-to-have than a drawback.
You may find that putting your feet onto the unit may require you to sit straight, which isn’t bad, but it may also prompt you to change your chair and monitor height. This could be problematic if you don’t have an adjustable height desk. Also if your desk is quite low and your legs are long, your knees might pay the price by bumping into hooks in the mount unit. If you go with a stand version, your feet will scrape the floor if your legs are too long and you had to extend the strap.
HOVR Stand Foot Swing
Travel control is something the HOVR creators tried to address by providing users with special mats, but users found that a wheeled desk chair renders those mats useless. It is especially problematic for users of the freestanding unit because there is little counterweight to their motion.
We used a desk mount unit as an addition to a treadmill desk. And our experience generally aligns with the message that the brand tries to convey: constant movement as a cure for sitting disease. After walking for an hour on a restrictive belt, you may feel stiffness in your hip muscles. This is where HOVR shines, providing a freer range motion with your hips moving in different directions without being locked in the same defined pattern as is the case with a treadmill.
HOVR creators promise that the product poses no mental distractions, but this was not our experience with any of the office fitness products aimed at sitting buyers that we’ve ever tested. Sitting, as a rule, is more stationary than standing, so if you aren’t a fidgety type, you’d probably find that the more mental concentration you have to extend to complete a certain task, the less movement you’ll be able to produce. Your brain may be simply too busy, processing more complex data thus riding itself of unnecessary distractions, i.e. movements.
One of the important aspects of HOVR is that it increases energy consumption by 20% over sitting, which earned it the industry coveted NEAT certification and a place in research labs of University of Illinois and Tokai University. This has been tested and proved at the Mayo Clinic, so you can be sure that HOVR delivers on the claim of helping you burn more calories—that is, as long as you’re moving.
HOVR Foot Swing in Action
If you’re looking for a desk cycle alternative that won’t just take up free space under your desk while you’re idle, a rocking footrest is your best pick. Want to move? Get rocking. Want to sit still? Rest your feet on the thing. However, HOVR might be too unreliable in quality to justify the investment. Plus it’s not adjustable enough to be ergonomically suitable as a footrest for everyone. The closest competitor that offers in-motion footrests at a similar price is Humanscale. Sure, its rocking footrests won’t allow your feet and legs as much freedom with their single plane motion, but they will serve you well for years thanks to sturdy construction. We advise buyers to wait for the next generation of in-motion footrests where adjustability and travel control are no longer problematic.
If you don't want to wait, however, check out the closely related desk cycles. And if you're looking for something active to stand on, balance boards for standing desks are perfectly suited for the task. Subscribe to our newsletter to get a rundown on the newest office fitness products.