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Footrests are stable cylindrical or triangular pads that can be placed in offices under the feet to support the back from slouching and your feet from dangling if your office chair is too high. Footrests can be a money waster or a money saver, depending on your workstation setup. This articles reveals when it is recommended to purchase a footrest, and which types to opt for. But first, an understanding of the aim of a footrest should be established.

What is a Footrest Good For?

Footrests are not inherently unique tools like the chair and desk. They are merely a tool that serves a higher purpose, and this purpose is to provide a stable seating arrangement where the back and/or lower body segments don’t exert unnecessary forces to maintain a static posture.

Taking the image above as reference, the feet are recommended to be placed flat on the floor during prolonged sitting and desk work. However, this is not always possible for shorter people and/or people working on higher desks or chairs. As a matter of fact, standard computer desk heights are around 75cm, but many people who are shorter than 170cm would feel more comfortable working on desks with lower heights.

For those individuals, a footrest would elevate their feet enough to be sitting in the benchmark sitting posture, and provides support to push their back against the chair so they can be sitting upright when they choose to. It can provide some comfort and stability while sitting and allow the individual to work for longer times without their legs going numb from dangling off a high chair for several hours.

how does a footrest save money?

As explained before, footrests allow shorter individuals to accommodate for higher desks and chairs. Therefore, instead of spending on purchasing a new desk or chair for a minimum of 1000AED or 275$ (refer to our article on the most affordable ergonomic workstation), a convenient and stable footrest costs one tenth of that and provides a very similar outcome. That being said, it should be noted that a footrest does not entirely solve the problem of foot support, given the shorter range of placing your feet when using it compared to having the entire space between the desk legs when opting for a standard ergonomic workstation. But for those with limited spending capabilities, it is a fair trade between ultimate comfort and affordable solutions.

Recommended Options

When choosing a footrest, always opt for one that can support your entire foot and has different elevation options, such as the image above, to provide the optimal comfort and stability. It is always preferable to have the footrest supported against a wall to avoid slipping and instability, but if that isn’t an option, putting a small carpet or mat under it or placing a friction tape underneath it can provide stability against slipping, especially on wooden and parquet flooring.

Recommended options from Amazon:

FinAL notes

Footrests are an affordable and convenient solution for people working on relatively high desks or chairs. They can save companies a lot of money if they choose to invest in them instead of height-adjustable desks (different than sit-stand desks). However, they do create a minor inconvenience of reducing the range of foot placement when working, which can make you feel trapped when using them for a prolonged time. This inconvenience does not reduce their benefit if you do struggle from sitting on a high chair, but rather ought to be mentioned as a limitation to set expectations before purchasing one.
It should always be emphasized that no matter which ergonomic tool or equipment you purchase, nothing can substitute taking moving breaks every 1-1.5 hours of sitting. Until the moment of publishing this article, exercise and movement have been shown to be the most important interventions to reduce work-related injuries and diseases. Workstation design and ergonomic tools fall after adopting a healthy and proactive approach for work.


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