Let’s face it—we lead sedentary lives. Most of us have seated jobs, and we spend an average of eight to ten hours a day behind an office desk. This takes a toll on the body, and while you’ve probably invested in a great desk chair, the real question is whether you’ve invested in a footrest yet.
Footrests are a thing of beauty! And they are also wonderfully practical too. They are so popular that there is a huge range of different footrests available on the market. Knowing which one is going to be best for you may seem like a challenge. This is where I come in as I have the low-down on the best footrests on the market and why you should choose a particular footrest over the others.
Just how do you choose a great footrest, and which are the best under desk foot rests for your particular type of office set-up? Let’s find out.
The Benefits of an Under Desk Foot Rest
The best under desk footrests are ergonomically designed. For those of you who don’t know yet, it means that these foot rests are built to support your body. Hopefully, if you work long hours in a seated position, you have already invested in an ergonomically designed desk chair to support your spine and shoulders. Chances are this chair doesn’t quite work as efficiently as it should. Why? Your feet are hanging like they’ve been set in concrete.
The benefits of a great footrest include:
Lifting the Feet Into Position
Your feet are quite heavy, and chances are unless you are built like a basketball player, you struggle to place your feet comfortably on the floor. A foot rest helps out by giving you extra height, tilt, and adjustability for the perfect foot position.
Ensure Perfect Seated Position
Once your feet are lifted, you will find that the rest of your body just sits better in your chair. There will be less pressure on your joints, your hips will suffer less cramping, and even that tell-tale clicky-clack that comes from hours of seated work will be minimized.
First-time footrest users have even reported that their necks feel less tight after a few hours working with their feet in the perfect position since their bodies are then placed correctly in their chairs.
Encourages Micro Movements
With a footrest that tilts or has massaging nodes, your feet will be encouraged to move more, and your toes will wiggle more. Micro movements are great to help prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a major cause of varicose veins. When your feet and toes move (even if it’s a slight movement), your blood enters the return loop of the venous and arterial system, improving your health. This means you will experience fewer cramps and painful leg conditions.
Reduce Risk of Blood Clots
When your feet are supported, there is less chance of the veins being closed off when your legs press into the chair. With unrestricted blood flow, you will suffer less chance of having blood clots forming. So it is not a far-fetched statement to say that a high-quality foot rest can save your life.
Improved Blood Circulation
Since the veins and arteries in your legs aren’t pinched shut by hanging legs, your blood circulation will improve. This means you will have a more efficient circulatory system. The upside of this is that oxygen will reach your brain better, waste materials will be removed from different body systems more effectively, and less cellular fluid will accumulate in your extremities.
Reduces Leg Pain, Stiffness, and Swelling
A footrest can prevent fluid build-up in your legs, ankles, and feet. This will reduce joint stiffness, help limit inflammation, and reduce leg pain.
Who knew a humble footrest can do all of this? Don’t you think it’s time to get your own? I set out to find mine, and this is my foot rest journey.
Buyer’s Guide: My Selection Criteria for the Best Under Desk Foot Rest
When choosing any addition to your home office or even your work office, you need to keep in mind that it needs to be functional, aesthetically pleasing, and suitable to your particular office setup. You may not prefer the same kind of under desk footrest as your colleagues do, so you need to look at footrests in an objective way to choose one that will work for you.
I decided to keep the following criteria in mind while I tried out different footrests for my selection:
Whichever footrest you choose, be sure it is made from high-quality materials. For starters, the footrest will be supporting quite a bit of weight, even though you aren’t supposed to stand on the footrest. If your footrest is made from memory foam, be sure it is a quality version of the foam and will bounce back into shape instead of steadily compressing in a week, only to no longer be suitable to your needs.
While a simple plastic footrest may work fine for a while, you should ensure the footrest is not simply a plastic stool and that it is scientifically researched for optimum benefit. The finish of the product will also be important as you don’t want to end up with a footrest that has sharp edges or is so slippery that your feet will slide off the panels.
My Criteria Implementation: The footrests I chose for this guide had to be made from quality materials, offer great design use of those materials, and they had to make my feet happy too.
The whole point of a footrest is to balance your body, improve your blood circulation, and help improve your seat, which is why having a height-adjustable footrest is a real asset.
Having a footrest that you can change the height on ensures a better work environment, but you need to make sure you choose a footrest where the height adjustment mechanism is strong and supportive. It offers more benefits when the footrest has more options than a simple “up” or “down” setting.
A footrest that offers you a tilt option is even better as this ensures your ankles are at optimal comfort and support levels.
My Criteria Implementation: I decided that I wanted a footrest that was height adjustable and offered some form of tilt control, whether this was a manual tilt or automatic or implied in the design. After all, if you don’t opt for this in your footrest, you may as well stack some books for your feet to rest flat on. And before you start emptying your bookshelf this would cause hip damage and leg pain in the long run.
The proof is, as they say, in the pudding, and you would have to try out a footrest for the final confirmation that a particular model is ideal for your unique height. Your height will have a significant impact on the way in which you are able to use the footrest, and more than that, the proportion of your limbs will also influence how much of your legs will stretch over the seat and at what distance you place your feet on the footrest.
My Criteria Implementation: Being short, I wanted to have a footrest that would work for me. I know from sharing a desk with my much taller partner that he doesn’t place his gas lift chair in the same settings as mine, so why would he adjust his footrest like mine?
Your body proportions will have a huge role to play, so be mindful of this when you buy. I physically sat with my feet on several different footrests before I chose any of the options in this guide. You should do the same.
The footrest will accommodate your feet, or rather your shoes (unless you work barefoot), which means that it will require frequent cleaning. Ensure the footrest can be wiped or washed regularly. This also implies needing to purchase a footrest that has detailed care instructions that accompanies it.
Simply wiping is probably not going to work with a soft material footrest, therefore, be aware of the implications of hygiene and cleaning on your footrest design choice.
My Criteria Implementation: I am quite pedantic about cleaning, so I carefully considered how I would clean each of the footrests that I tried out. A few footrests were fairly easy to clean, while others were going to require a second set of “in-house” slippers to keep them clean. You can imagine which footrests I chose for hygiene sake.
Functionality and Stability
A footrest has a reason for being under your desk. It has a purpose, and the footrest needs to be functional to have any value in your house. To establish what the reason for your purchase of the footrest is, consider whether you are getting it as a way to improve your seat, to help with leg pain, to alleviate foot or ankle swelling, or to help you from sliding off tall chairs (which is the curse of short people—yes, I feel your pain).
My Criteria Implementation: I wanted a footrest that would help me feel not so tired after a long day of working, and if it could eliminate a little foot swelling along the way, then that was a bonus.
Since I work 12-14 hours a day, depending on deadlines, I may not get up every hour like I am supposed to, so I am concerned about my health and the possibility of blood clots. Hence, I wanted to find a footrest that would help limit blood circulation problems and improve my overall health.
The 7 Best Under-Desk Foot Rests
Most Sturdy Under Desk Foot Rest
If the softness of the ergonomic memory foam footrests isn’t your cup of tea, then perhaps trying a solid and sturdy footrest like the Humanscale FM 300 Foot Machine Footrest is worth a try.
- Visually pleasing in a black steel and wood finish
- Sturdy with the steel frame
- Enough weight not to move around at 10.63 pounds
- Non-slip surface keeps your feet (with or without shoes) where they need to be
- Three height adjustments from 3.75 to 6.75 in three-inch increments
- Tilt control
- Costly in comparison to similar footrests
- Tilt can’t be locked into place
- Pedal and base are not a single unit, which means moving the footrest can be tricky
- Side triangles limit foot space on the footrest
While this footrest is going to make you think twice about the price, it is highly recommended, and it offers a great range of tilt. The nice solid weight of the Humanscale is a real winner, and for heavier users, it may be a great choice.
Greatest Independent Feet Movement Under Desk Foot Rest
I like to move my feet separately, which is why I prefer driving stick to automatic, and I love a foot rest that offers me the same foot independence. The Balance 1 Ergonomic Office Footrest for Sitting Posture Correction Footrest with Massage Roller Under Desk Footrest for Home, Office offers exactly that.
- Great flexibility with the ability to move each foot independently and tilt each foot according to individual preference
- Works like an under-desk stepper
- Three massage rollers in the middle of the footrest offer massage features
- No installation required
- Individual panels ease ankle pressure
- Each panel has resistance control to lock tilt in place until you choose to adjust by stepping forward or backward
- Quiet operation
- Too lightweight according to some users, though this does make it portable
- There are some plastic sounds when using the tilt feature, making rhythmic use problematic in a shared office space—or apply lubricant to ease the friction sound
- No non-slip feature on paddles
I really like the functionality of this foot rest; however, it did tilt over somewhat when I began to fidget with my feet. An under desk carpet would help keep it more stable than on the tile floor. It is a great way to massage your feet, flex your ankles, and engage in micro movement that helps with blood circulation.
Best Memory Foam Under Desk Foot Rest
The Adjustable Foot Rest – Under Desk Footrest with 2 Optional Covers for Desk, Airplane, Travel, Ergonomic Foot Rest Cushion with Magic Tape and Massaging Micro Beads for Office, Home, Plane by HUANUO is a hugely popular memory foam footrest. The high quality and excellent design have earned it several rave consumer reviews.
- Two optional covers in mesh fabric to prevent overheating
- Two height adjustments thanks to the additional layer that is optional to attach for a taller footrest
- Total height with adjustment 5.9 inches
- Very sturdy construction that resists pressure to retain its shape
- Massaging microbeads can stimulate circulation in feet and prevent feet from slipping off
- Covers are machine washable, which is great for hygiene
- Lightweight and portable at 1.65 pounds
- When only using the top part, there are no floor grips, so additional grips may be needed
- Being lightweight, the foot rest may move around under your desk
- Will not retain shape when too much pressure is applied with feet
The Huanuo foot rest is a great memory foam option, but for users that are larger or have longer legs and therefore apply more pressure, this may not be the best option. However, having said that, all the reviews that mentioned flaws also mentioned that the product does work, which at least ticks the functionality box.
Best Multifunctional Under Desk Foot Rest
The Adjustable Footrest with Removable Soft Foot Rest Pad Max-Load 120Lbs with Massaging Beads for Car, Under Desk, Home, Train,4-Level Height Adjustment by Scalebeard on Amazon is unique in its multifunctionality. While not the prettiest foot rest you will ever own, it could possibly be the most comfortable and functional yet.
- Huge carry capacity at 120 pounds supported weight
- Sturdy construction from quality materials
- Foot rest is adjustable and folds too
- Massage or cushioning functionality
- Lightweight enough to be portable, while still weighing enough to support the feet
- Four tilt positions that can support the feet and legs in different ways
- The adjustment feature produces a bit of noise
- Size is smaller than most footrests
- The top attachment pad doesn’t have a quality fitment method, though you can add any soft pillow if required
The sheer functionality of this footrest may sway you to look hard at the Scalebeard foot rest. It is one of the tallest foot rests on the market, and it is multifunctional, and it can even double as a small chair when needed, which may come in more handy in a home office situation if you need extra seating.
Best Value for Money Foot Rest
Okay, so you may not have hundreds of dollars to spend on a footrest, and while you want quality, you also don’t want to pay a lot. Then the Mind Reader Rest, Ergonomic Foot, Pressure Relief for Comfort, Back, and Body, 3 Height, Black is for you.
- Low price
- Ergonomically adjustable
- Textured surface for foot massage
- No assembly required
- Lightweight and portable at 4.75 pounds (or just buy two since it’s so cheap)
- Three adjustment positions for height
- Large size foot platform to accommodate your feet with shoes on
- No non-slip feature, and when barefoot, your feet may slip from the footrest
- Tilt doesn’t lock into place, so when your feet move, the position moves too
- May run forward on tile floors but an under-desk carpet is a good solution
- Some users are concerned that the plastic material may be weak and compromise the longevity
This is a neat footrest, and it will deliver great service, despite not being made from high-end materials. The biggest selling point for this footrest is the low price, which makes the risk of it not working long-term acceptable. I’ve also found they make great gifts and at their compact size, these footrests could be easy stocking fillers.
Most Popular Pillow Type Foot Rest
The Everlasting Comfort Office Foot Rest for Under Desk – Ergonomic Memory Foam Foot Stool Pillow for Work, Gaming, Computer, Office Cubicle, and Home – Footrest Leg Cushion Accessories is an ideal footrest for most users.
- Made from quality memory foam
- Ergonomically shaped
- Molds around your feet in response to body heat
- A lifetime replacement policy ensures peace of mind
- Arched shape conforms to the natural foot arch, ensuring maximum comfort
- The tear-drop shape means the footrest can be used as a rocker too when used inverted
- The footrest has a slip-resistant cover, keeping the pad in place on any type of flooring
- The velvet cover is fully washable
- Tilt can be achieved by moving your feet up or down the shaped side of the pillow
- Fully portable and lightweight at 1.1 pounds weight
- Can be used as a support under your knees while sleeping
- Some users find the memory foam too soft
- Pillow size is somewhat small for larger feet
- The heated memory foam sinks in and the height become reduced
Best Under Desk Foot Rests FAQs
Answer: Yes, a footrest helps with your blood circulation by keeping your feet elevated to prevent the hanging of your lower extremities. A footrest helps improve your ergonomic alignment or the position of your body and spine. The use of a footrest helps alleviate pain and combat lower leg swelling. =
Answer: As the name says, a footrest is designed to help rest your feet so they don’t dangle or prop up unnaturally. Some footrests also offer massage and climate control options to keep your feet pain-free and relaxed.
Answer: Your doctor or specialist physician may advise you to keep your feet elevated to correct your back and help alleviate shoulder and neck pain. While you could stack some pillows, this would be unsafe and could trip you when you move. A scientifically designed and tested under desk footrest is the solution.
These footrests elevate your legs and offer micro-movement to help correct circulatory problems and limit the occurrence of blood clots.
Answer: Footrests are commercially available, and you can choose a material that suits your tastes and preferences. There are footrests made from memory foam, wood, plastic, metal, and a combination of materials.
When choosing a footrest according to material, be sure to consider durability, strength, and weight as a footrest that doesn’t anchor to the ground with rubber grips or an appropriate weight will move when your feet move.
The Final Step and Verdict
After trying out all seven of the footrests, I had a tough time choosing. While I loved the softness of the memory foam options, I also enjoyed the heating and cooling of the climate control footrest. My husband wanted me to get a sturdy footrest so he could also use it, and he was concerned that his feet being heavier would compress the lightweight models.
So I chose the best option: I got him the Humanscale since it was the most sturdy and could handle his large feet without any threat of breaking. And for myself, I chose the Balance 1 since it has such amazing stepping capabilities. We’re both happily using our footrests in our home office, with my husband happily stepping on his as he games away in between stock trading, and myself stepping and moving to relieve the tell-tale pressure pains of a long day of blogging. Which footrest will you choose?