Context: For about 6 weeks now I have been using a large amount of textbooks, shoe-boxes, and a miniature table to turn my regular home desk into a standing desk. I have found that standing barefoot or in flip flops for a long time makes my heels tender. For now I am borrowing a 1/2 inch foam yoga mat from my mom and folding it in half for extra softness, and it makes standing for extended periods of time much more convenient. However, she does need it to use it from time to time, and as such I need to buy one for myself. Purchasing another yoga mat would be satisfactory, but I'm wondering if a more inspired solution exists.

The actual question: What objects would you suggest to best eliminate heel tenderness while standing in one spot for an excess of two hours? Preferably, the object should provide as much cushioning as two 1/2 inch yoga mats stacked onto each other, and must provide at minimum 2.5 X 1.5 feet of standing space. Hopefully, I can make or buy it with a budget of 25 dollars.

Solutions I have considered:

  • Buying another regular half inch yoga mat and folding it in half.
  • Nothing else yet.
  • Not a helpful item, but a trick I learned while standing at machines and work tables. Stand on your toes ever now and again. Train your feet and leg muscles to support you in a steady manner and you will likely notice that your feet themselves improve. You can do that in shoes as well as bare feet and you will likely feel different effects.
    – Willeke
    Jan 19 '18 at 19:58
  • I meant stand on tip-toe, not standing with one foot on the toes of the other foot.
    – Willeke
    Jan 20 '18 at 20:54
  • @FabulousGlobe, why not get one of those slippers with a lot of cushion?
    – Pacerier
    Jan 12 '19 at 15:46

Try closed-cell high-density urethane. Such stuff is used as kneeling pads and knee-cushioning material for rug-installers who spend their day as rug-rats. Avoid standing in one place for long periods which can't be good for you, either. Something like a thin breathable natural fibre material (grass mats, futon, hooked wool rugs, etc.) must be even better than some kind of plastic. If you don't want to sit, consider leaning your butt on or against a stool to take the load off your tootsies for a bit.

I located these to illustrate the product. They're from the Lee Valley Tool Co.

  • Could you elaborate on what you mean when you say "thin breathable natural fiber material"? I do keep a bar stool near by for when I get tired, so there is that. I hope you don't mind if I accept your answer after I find a a place to buy high-density urethane in the amount I need (Not a 15 foot roll). May 13 '16 at 1:04
  • This is actually the first time that I've heard of this material. May 13 '16 at 1:07
  • What height of foam do you think I should get. Would a one-inch height be enough, or do I need more? May 19 '16 at 15:53
  • @FabulousGlobe - That's about the thickness of the kneeling pads gardeners use that I was referring to.
    – Stan
    May 20 '16 at 0:28

It sounds like what you want is an anti-fatigue mat, typically used by chefs or factory workers, who often have jobs that require being on your feet most (if not all) of a work shift.

You will want a mat made with gel or foam. These typically come in half-inch dimensions, though you may be able to find something thicker if you purchase via a more industrial supplier/source. marble gel floormat enter image description here shape/color varieties foam, interlocking enter image description here enter image description here

Option #1 Not sure of your location and what is accessible, but the quickest and easiest (and possibly least expensive) would be to go to your local Walmart, Sears, Lowes or Home Depot ... or other department- or home goods-type store ... and go to the section where they have the floor mats. You may see outdoor and kitchen floor mats in the same section; the kitchen type are your best bet, as these are designed for with those standing in one place for a long time (as in washing dishes) in mind. Look for the thicker variety, typically made with some kind of foam or gel material. Try them out right there in the store and pick the one that makes your feet say "ahhhh!".

Option #2 You could also try some of these suggestions, offered as examples of different types, material/construction, and pricing:

  • Better Homes and Gardens ProChef Comfort Chef Mat available at walmart.com
  • the "original gel-filled comfort mat"available at gelpro.com
  • anti-fatigue mats, runners, and other options available at globalindustrial.com and floormatcompany.com
  • rubbercal.com
  • sears.com
  • Royal Anti-Fatigue Comfort Mat available at amazon.com

Option #3 You may also want to consider foot orthotics, such as is available through places like the Good Feet Store (goodfeet.com), for proper arch support - critical for those whose daily activity require or involve being on your feet for extended periods of time.

Hope this is helpful!


I know that people often say just use something soft, but anti-fatigue mats are more than just soft surfaces. They work by encouraging small movements of your joints and muscles which aides blood flow, reduces swelling in the lower limbs and reduced pain. (Source: www.firstmats.co.uk)

Standing on a soft surface may offer some relief, but an anti-fatigue mat will probably work out as a good investment if you're on your feet a lot.


Cheapest option with all the benefits listed above would be to go on Craigslist and search under “salon equipment”! Then look for salon chair mats. They are exactly like the anti-fatigue mats used by chefs except they are larger (I.e. large enough for the entire width of the desk). The reason they’re the same is bc they were made for the same purpose of standing all day doing hair. Tip: most salon owners are willing to go down on price bc most likely the mats are coming from failed salons and there are a lot of those on Craigslist. The owners just need the space cleared. Anyways, good luck! 🍀 The one below is only $40 enter image description here


Cell Inserts as user "Stan" recommended are very good for this, but if there are few contact points you can have the gel disks people use to move heavy furniture.


The cheapest and easiest solution is to use a cushion filler, with or without a fancy cushion cover, those ones that are soft fibrous inners with a soft outer white covering which you use to put in your own cushion covers. Link below shows example


and these cheap ones flatten down real quick, which is good if you want to stand on it. They come in larger sizes... I use these in bed under my heels because they get tender in the night.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.