With every good standing desk, you need a good standing mat for your feet. Our Vari ActiveMat Groove review takes a look with a standing mat that has an interesting feature which keeps your feet comfortable and active.
NOTE: Updated 3/12/2020 to reflect the company’s name change from Varidesk to Vari and the new lower price.
The Vari Active Mat Groove has the following features and specifications:
- Supports feet, knees, hips and back
- Groove and roller ball for active standing
- Beveled, no-curl edges and durable, high-density core
- Soft, medium and firm roller balls included
- Free shipping to the lower 48 state
- 30-day, no-risk guarantee
- Dimensions: 36″ L x 24″ W x .71″ H (91.44cm L x 60.96cm W x 1.8cm H)
What’s in the box
- Vari ActiveMat Groove
- Three roller balls: soft, medium, firm
- Carrying pouch
The Vari ActiveMat Groove may look like a lot of other standing mats at a glance. It’s rectangular in shape, 36″ long x 24″ wide, has beveled edges, and is fairly thick and cushiony. The ActiveMat itself is just under ¾” thick in the middle standing area with a groove that runs down the middle of the mat. Once rolled out, it stays in place nicely and the edges don’t curl up like can be the case on other standing mats.
The aforementioned groove is where the ActiveMat Groove differs from a lot of other standing mats. The mat includes three 2 ½” diameter roller balls with various levels of stiffness. These balls rest in the groove and you can then roll them back and forth under your feet which is supposed to help stimulate circulation and relieve stress. At the same time, the movement stimulates not only your feet but also your calves, knees, hips, and even your back.
The balls come in three different shades of blue with the lightest being the softest and the darkest being the firmest. To be honest, even when squeezing the balls, I was hard pressed to notice any difference between them and they all feel pretty hard like small baseballs. When standing on them with one foot, the softest had just slightly more give than the other two and the darkest had the least amount of give. I definitely would have expected more variance in the balls with the softest being almost foam like, the middle being more of a tennis ball firmness, while the firmest as it currently is.
Depending on your setup though, you may not be able to use this mat properly. For example, my desk has a floor to top support going lengthwise across the middle of the desk instead of towards the back. As a result, the mat worked great for standing but not so great while sitting as I couldn’t move it far enough under the desk for proper use as it got in the way of the wheels on my office chair.
So, does the Vari ActiveMat Groove actually work? In short, I most certainly felt that it did. When using a regular standing mat with my sit/stand desk, I noticed myself rocking back and forth or alternating between lifting each foot from time to time. With the ActiveMat Groove, using the ball under your foot — both while wearing shoes or without — was a noticeably more enjoyable experience and I felt my feet and lower legs didn’t get tired as quickly while standing. While sitting, I also found my feet searching out the ball to play around with and I found myself likening it to a fidget spinner for your feet.
As far as relieving stress, that’s more of a subjective claim. I’d be hard pressed to admit that I was less stressed while using it as there are many factors in a work environment that vary from day to day. That being said, having something to do with your feet definitely helps to take your mind off of, or at least reduce thinking about, things that may be stressing you on a daily basis.
Anti-fatigue, or standing, mats vary in price and seem to average around $50USD for a decent sized mat of suitable thickness. The Vari ActiveMat Groove is not only thicker, but also has the beveled edges and included roller balls. With an MSRP of $95USD, the mat alone is worth it and the balls only add to making your standing desk experience that much more enjoyable.
The Vari ActiveMat Groove is an affordably priced anti-fatigue mat which also helps promote circulation for your feet, legs, and hips while using a standing desk setup.