Ergodriven Topo Mat Review
The Topo takes things to the next level with unique calculated terrain features that encourage continual movement throughout the day. However, the flat areas are too thin to provide quality all-day support, and the small dimensions and ridges leave some users feeling too constrained.
7-year warranty against manufacturing defects
26.25" x 29"
Black, Grey, Blue, Purple, and Green
2.7″ thick at highest point
Calculated terrain feature provides more natural standing surface compared to flat mats. Assortment of different standing positions activates leg and foot muscles. Allows for longer, more comfortable standing breaks. Made from 100% polyurethane for maximum durability.
Flat surfaces are too thin to offer enough comfort. Very short or tall individuals less likely to find the one-size-fits-all mat to suit them well. Slides easily on the floor, creating tripping hazard.
With the rising popularity of standing desks, more and more mat makers are seeing the need for improved anti-fatigue materials that give users proper comfort and support. However, the basic rectangular design of the standing mat has remained largely unchanged. Ergodriven, a relative newcomer to the office fitness scene, seeks to change that fundamental design with their own radically-redesigned Topo mat.
Blending the Actual Jungle with the Corporate Jungle
The Topo by Ergodriven boasts unique features that mimic slopes and inclines more commonly found in the actual jungle than the corporate one (it’s a topographical mat—get it?). Its calculated terrain design was developed with the help of biomechanical experts and delivers a more active standing experience than a typical flat-piece standing mat can give.
The philosophy behind the Topo mat is that humans are designed to stand and walk across a variety of surfaces in nature. Irregular terrain like rocks, roots, branches, and hills make up the landscape. In contrast, modern offices consist of flat floors and carpets, subjecting their employees to a host of muscle strains and ergonomic maladies. To fight this problem, the Topo mat offers a number of postures for your feet. Small ridges line the Topo mat's sides, while its back corners end in small peaks. A teardrop-shaped mound sits in the middle of the mat so you can stretch the inner arches of your feet, and a large angled shelf on the front gives you a place to exercise your calves.
Ergodriven conducted a small research project using ground sensors to track foot movements on both a flat anti-fatigue mat and on the Topo mat. Results compiled from sixteen hours of data collecting with participants performing computer programming tasks suggest an increase in foot motion when using the Topo mat. Ergodriven has released this infographic summary of the results, complete with a brief methodology summary.
The Topo mat is formulated from high-density polyurethane, which delivers a firm and buoyant surface even after hours of continued use. This sturdiness is essential for the Topo mat to maintain its terrain features. Polyurethane is resistant to compression, wear and tear, and delamination—that said, we wouldn't recommend wearing stiletto heels while using it because of its thinner, neutral terrain area. For more details about how materials and construction affect standing mat quality, take a look at The Real Differences Between the Best Anti-Fatigue Mats and the Worst.
Finding Your Calculated Terrain Legs with the Topo Mat
We tested the Ergodriven Topo mat with users of different heights and standing habits, and there is a learning curve when it comes to using it. Workers are encouraged to experiment with different postures around the varying terrain features. If you are an active standers who fidgets at your desk, you'll feel at home with the Topo mat. But, if you prefer standing still when concentrating, the need to constantly move may be a distraction. Because the Topo mat is only available in one size, those who are too short or too tall may find it difficult to stand naturally, though one solution is turning the mat around 180 degrees.
Allowing Topo's terrain to stretch the different muscles in your feet helps prevent strain and lets you stand longer. Moreover, solid polyurethane stimulates the proprioception nerves in the joints of your foot bones, thus improving your balance throughout the day. Unfortunately, the neutral portion is too thin to be comfortable for long periods of time. We would prefer the flat surface to be thicker so it would offer more reliable support.
Ergodriven recommends pushing the Topo mat away with your foot when you're ready to sit. It indeed slides easily along the carpet, but low-friction mats create a slipping hazard, and the last thing we want is a mat that poses a safety risk. Ergodriven recognizes this as well—the card that comes with the Topo mat warns that it is a trip hazard when left out and instructs users to stow it under their desk when they are done using it. We'd recommend caution, particularly if you have a more slippery workspace.
The Topo by Ergodriven is designed to actively engage your muscles and allow you to move and fidget at your desk. Shifting on your feet allows you to reduce foot, leg, and back strain, improve your balance, and experience a more natural surface than corporate carpet. The Topo mat is made of durable 100% polyurethane, but its thinnest spots may not be supportive enough for serious workplace standing. It also presents a tripping hazard, and due to its size, it might be constraining for some users. While the Topo mat has room for improvement, it is a quality option for users who want a solution to the constant flat standing surfaces found at a typical standing desk workstation.
[Editors' Note: Any time an innovative new product sees great success in the marketplace imitators are sure to follow, and the Topo Standing Mat is no exception to this rule. We've already identified several new mats in the same category of "calculated terrain standing mats" or, as also known, "non-flat standing mats" or "active standing mats," that we're getting in for lab testing. Head to our "Calculated Terrain Standing Mat Comparison Review" page for a brief overview of each of these contenders.