In the orange corner, we have the Mighty Mat and in the yellow corner we have the Awesome Insole! Seconds out! May the best one win.

This conflict between mat and insole to provide the correct anti-fatigue solution often comes up within companies, and can be quite an expensive and time- consuming exercise to determine what is best. We all know that anti-fatigue solutions are essential for productivity and workers’ wellness. Here is the benefit of our experience and expertise that will help you.

All operators notice differences in the type of mat they stand on, whether it is too firm, too soft, too thick, too thin, or just right, etc. When it comes to insoles it becomes an even more sensitive issue, since no feet are alike combined with the huge range of footwear options available. So, either way, we are facing a challenge.

The first thing to determine before a punch is thrown is whether the operators are working in a restricted space, like standing at a machine, or they are moving around a wider area, for example walking around an assembly area.

The Insole corner says, “Well, that’s easy, just get rid of all the mats and give everyone insoles”.  Their argument is reinforced by the heavy hitters who want to eliminate mats as they are potential trip hazards.  “Just look at all those guys who are standing on several layers of mats stacked like pancakes; accidents waiting to happen”, you hear them say while they are searching for the work comp forms.

But the Mat, while a little groggy from this barrage, fights back.  “What about all those survey results?” he challenges. “We have found time and again that insoles are not effective when standing still for long periods”.  Following up this with a quick salvo of jabs, “Properly specified mats that are correct for the task should never be a trip hazard and should be no more than 1” thick with the correct bevel edges.  If mats are stacked on top of each other this is a serious failure in supervision and housekeeping.  Mats should be regularly checked to ensure they are in good shape, and replaced when they are not”.

So back comes the Insole with a punch to the solar plexus that gets the bean counters on their feet.  “Insoles only cost about $25 per person, and a mat will cost many times more!”  The Mat absorbs the blow well and counters, “Well, let’s slug it out then”.

Take a 20 person 3 shift shop for an example.  Insoles are recommended to be changed every 6 months to be effective.  Over 2 years this will be:

  • 20 persons x 3 shifts  =  60 pair insoles
  • 60 pairs x 2 per year x 2 years  =  240 insoles
  • 240 insoles @ $25 each  =  $6,000.00
  • 20 mats size 3’x5’ with two year guarantee @ $150 per mat  =  $3,000.00

“And”, says Mat, “I bet we will get a lot more than 2 years’ use from them, even more if we reduce the number of shifts.  And don’t forget that this doesn’t allow for employee turnover – once worn, insoles cannot be transferred to another person”. 

With this potential TKO, the bean counters have changed sides and are loudly cheering the Mat, with dollar signs in their eyes at the prospect of a big purse. 

But wait!  The referees declare an honorable draw.  Both of them have scored the same points overall.  In conclusion, we say both mats and insoles have their place in industry. They have different applications.

Use mats for STANDING tasks of longer duration, and insoles for walking and mobile operators.